Children have 20 baby (primary) teeth – 10 on the top and 10 on the bottom. These teeth act as placeholders for the adult teeth that take their place after the baby teeth fall out. Most children begin to lose their baby teeth at about six years old, and this process continues into their early teens.
The primary teeth are usually lost in the order that they come in, so the bottom two teeth are usually first, followed by the top two. Most parents ask what should be done with a loose tooth?
At Kitsap Kid’s Dentistry, we believe it is better for a loose tooth to come out on its own, if it can. Removing a tooth early can be uncomfortable for the child and has an infection risk for the soft tissues and gums. The nerve will dissolve naturally if the tooth is loose because it is set to be replaced by an adult tooth.
If your child feels comfortable, it is OK to let your child wiggle the baby tooth until it falls out on its own. Make sure your kiddo washes their hands before touching their tooth!
In some cases a baby tooth can become loose due to decay or damage, and this can lead to poor timing and spacing of permanent teeth. This is one of the reasons that we recommend consulting with our office about any loose teeth.
Sometimes we also get questions about accidental tooth swallowing. Although not a part of the plan, a swallowed tooth is typically harmless and will naturally pass. The tooth fairy will understand if there isn’t a tooth to place under the child’s pillow.
Your children depend on you to provide the proper example, tools, and resources for their oral health. Do continue to learn as much as possible about the development of their teeth and the best ways to maintain a happy and healthy smile. Never hesitate to call our office with questions!