Baby teeth usually become loose because the permanent teeth are pushing them up and out of the gums as they try to come in. Kids tend to lose teeth in the same order the got them. In most cases, the first teeth to get loose are the front teeth, followed by the canines and then the process continues along the row of teeth back to the molars which are usually the last of the baby teeth to come in. When it comes to tooth care for kids, understanding the process of losing baby teeth is something parents and kids alike should be prepared for.
Understanding the Importance of the Baby Teeth
Baby teeth are temporary by nature and they will begin to wiggle and get loose as the adult teeth start to grow as early as age 4 in many cases. Most often, children will start losing teeth around the age of 5-10 and this can continue until they reach the teen years with molars often being stubborn when it comes time for the adult teeth to come in fully. An interesting fact about losing teeth is that girls many times start to lose them before boys and will have their full set of adult teeth in years ahead of most boys their age.
There is a lot that goes into tooth care for kids and losing baby teeth is just part of that natural growing up process. However, it is also important to note that not every loose tooth is caused by natural processes and there may be cause for some concern. Baby teeth can also be lost due to injuries or dental issues such as gum disease or cavities. Unfortunately, many parents think that because they are not permanent that baby teeth don’t need the same care as adult teeth and it is ok if they fall out early due to cavities or something else. This is far from the truth as the baby teeth serve as placeholders to ensure as the adult teeth come in that they come in straight and in the right place. Early loss of the baby teeth can lead to crooked and misaligned teeth.
If your child hasn’t lost any teeth by age 8, or if adult teeth erupt before the baby teeth have fallen out, talk to your dentist to make sure there are no problems. You will also want to check to make sure there are no underlying issues if your child seems overly pained when their teeth get loose. Some discomfort is normal but it shouldn’t be so bad that they cannot go about their normal activities with minimal discomfort or distraction.
Should I Pull a Loose Tooth?
One question many parents ask at some point during the process of their child losing their baby teeth is should they pull the tooth? It is best to let baby teeth fall out naturally if at all possible. Pulling a tooth out too soon can cause more pain and can also lead to trauma to the gums around the tooth and cause more bleeding and more soreness for your child. Your child will likely play with the tooth, wiggling it with their tongue or fingers which is fine so long as they keep their hands clean. This natural curiosity about the process of losing their teeth is what helps the teeth fall out naturally. Make sure you talk to your child about what will happen when they lose the tooth, whether they are at home, at school, or somewhere else so they know what to do and do not become frightened when it finally does happen. Here are some main points to hit:
- Loose teeth are normal and show that they are growing up.
- The loose tooth will fall out which is good and is something to be happy about.
- Don’t worry about swallowing the tooth because they will feel it easily.
- It’s ok to talk to your teacher or go see the school nurse if it falls out at school.
- It will bleed a little and you can use a tissue to wipe it away.
- Keep your tooth in a safe place if you lose it while you are away from home.
- Read about losing teeth and what the process means for your child.
- Go over good dental care practices with them so they are familiar with them.
Encourage your child to talk about it and how they feel about their loose tooth.
The Tooth is Out, so What’s Next?
Once the baby teeth fall out the adult teeth will start to come in. You may see tiny bumps of the adult tooth just under the gumline or you may not see or feel anything at all just yet. It can take weeks to a few months in some cases for the first adult teeth to come in. The front top and bottom teeth often take some time to start to come in. Teething as a big kid isn’t usually as painful as it was for your baby. In most cases, adult teeth do not cause any pain coming in until the back molars start to come in.
When the adult teeth do come in, you’ll notice they are larger, slightly darker and more rigid than their baby teeth. This is also the time to make sure your child understands how important daily brushing, flossing and dental care is. They need to have good habits in place by the time their first teeth start to fall out because these adult teeth are the teeth that have to last them the rest of their lives! Make sure to continue to see the dentist twice a year to take care of them and follow any special care instructions your dental team gives you. It’s up to you as the parent to help your child take care of their teeth and when it comes to tooth care for kids they will rely on you for help and encouragement for years to come still.
Tooth Care for Kids, the Fun Stuff!
Many parents want to help celebrate this milestone using the tooth fairy tradition. You can have the tooth fairy leave a note of praise or encouragement along with a special treat. A long-standing part of the tooth fairy tradition is the financial reward for the child and many parents today are also using other rewards to help their child. Stickers, treats, toys, and other goodies can also be a great way to encourage your child as they grow and as they lose their baby teeth. This is a fun and exciting time for your child and is a time you both can celebrate the milestones as you continue to work on tooth care for your kids, day in and day out.
Contact Comfort Care Family Dental
To learn more about tooth care for kids and how you can help your child through the process of losing their baby teeth and getting their set of permanent teeth, contact us today. The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Comfort Care Family Dental is here to help your child keep their bright and beautiful smile for years to come! Call today to schedule your child’s appointment and if you are looking for a new dentist for your child, we welcome you to call for a consultation appointment with our team as well!
1001 E Chicago Ave #143, Naperville, IL 60540