It may seem like your baby’s teeth were just coming in, and now, somehow you have a child with a loose tooth. Or maybe your child came home from school talking about their friend losing a tooth and getting a visit from the tooth fairy, and they want to know when they will get a loose tooth.
Just as babies get their teeth at different ages, children lose their baby teeth at different ages as well. The baby teeth, known as primary teeth, are designed to be temporary and fall out when the permanent teeth are ready to come in. When all goes well, the permanent teeth push the baby teeth up and out.
When should you expect your child to start losing their baby teeth? Here’s an average timeline.
Average Age for the First Loose Tooth
Most children will get their first loose tooth around the age of 6. The tooth becomes loose as the permanent tooth underneath it pushes up on the root of the primary tooth and wears it away. The gum tissue eventually separates from the tooth and it falls out. Sometimes it falls out when the child is eating or brushing their teeth. Other children will try and pull out their loose tooth as soon as it starts to wiggle.
It is best to let primary teeth fall out gradually on their own and not force them out too soon. The only exception is when a primary tooth needs to be extracted for dental health purposes. If the permanent tooth comes in behind the primary tooth, it may be best to extract the baby tooth. Sometimes primary teeth are pulled for the purpose of orthodontic treatment, such as severe crowding.
Which Teeth Fall Out First?
The primary teeth tend to fall out in the same order they came in. This means that the first loose tooth is often one of the bottom front teeth (central incisors). The bottom two front teeth are usually followed by the top 2 front teeth. Then the teeth are shed gradually over time in consecutive order from the teeth next to the front (lateral incisors) to the back (molars).
The first molars may not fall out until the child is at least 9 years old, with the last molars typically shed by the age of 12 or 13.
What If My Child Hasn’t Lost Any Teeth By the Average Age?
If your child is older than 6 and still has not had any loose teeth, there’s no reason to worry. There are a few different factors that affect the rate of development, and teeth shedding is another developmental milestone that happens at different ages for children. Some factors that can delay tooth shedding past the average age include:
- Later tooth eruption. If your baby didn’t get their teeth until later, such as after a year old, it is common for the baby teeth to fall out later as well.
- Premature birth. Babies who are born early may get teeth later than average, which can also lead to later shedding of baby teeth.
- Crowding. If the teeth don’t have enough room in the mouth and are crowded, it can delay the shedding of teeth. The permanent teeth can become impacted under the gums or come in behind the baby teeth. In this case your dentist may recommend extracting some of the baby teeth and starting on interceptive orthodontics to control the crowding.
If you have any concerns about the rate of your child’s teeth shedding, consult with your dentist.
Discuss Teeth Shedding with the Experts at ABQ Pediatric Dentistry
ABQ Pediatric Dentistry specializes in children’s dental health and development, providing a comprehensive range of pediatric dental services. If you have any concerns about the rate of your child’s teeth shedding, we are ready to help. We can perform an evaluation of your child’s teeth, including X-rays to see what’s going on underneath the gums. If there’s a problem, we will recommend the best option for your child’s dental health.
Call 505-888-3520 or contact us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping with your child’s dental development.