Most parents have a basic understanding of their children’s teeth. They remember long nights when their child was a baby, trying to soothe that teething infant as their baby, or primary, teeth came in very painfully. They took careful notes in the baby book of each tooth as it came in.
But as their child gets older, they begin to wonder, when do kids start losing teeth? How will they know when it’s starting? And how can they know if it’s not happening at the right time?
Kids start losing teeth because their permanent teeth start nudging them out of place as they try to come in. There is some variation, but typically, kids begin losing teeth around the age of six and continue until around age 12. Girls often start losing teeth sooner than boys.
When Do Kids Lose Teeth?
Most kids start losing teeth around age six. However, the earlier your child got their teeth, the earlier they may start losing teeth. This could be as early as age four. If they began getting teeth later, they could start losing them around age seven or eight.
If your child loses teeth before age three or four, this may indicate a problem. If they’re eight-years-old and have no loose teeth and haven’t lost any, you should schedule a visit with their dentist. This is especially true if their adult teeth are erupting behind the baby teeth.
Do Kids Lose All Their Teeth?
Your child will lose all of the baby, or primary, teeth that they were born with. It happens over a period of several years and those baby teeth are eventually replaced with adult, or permanent, teeth. Additionally, they’ll get an extra 12 adult teeth.
Losing baby teeth is a result of the adult teeth making their move to come in. After the baby tooth falls out, there’s usually a short period of days or weeks (sometimes even a few months) where there will be a gap before the adult tooth appears.
If you see the adult tooth erupting through the gums before the baby tooth has come out, you should contact your child’s dentist for an appointment.
How Many Baby Teeth Do You Lose?
Your child was born with 20 baby teeth that probably kept you awake more than a few nights while they were teething. All 20 of these baby teeth will become loose and fall out over a period of several years.
What Teeth Do Kids Lose?
Typically, most kids lose their baby teeth in the same order that they came in. This means they’ll usually lose their bottom two front teeth (central incisors) first, followed by the two top front teeth. Then they’ll lose the lateral incisors (the tooth to each side of the central incisors) next, typically bottom then top. The canine teeth tend to follow, top then bottom. Finally, the first and then second molars will be the last teeth to be lost.
Do Kids Lose Molars?
Kids get their first and second molars last as they come in. So while they do lose their molars, they also tend to be the last teeth kids lose. This typically happens around age 12. Their permanent molars will come in about a year later, around age 13. These numbers are averages, and they can happen a little earlier (as early as 10 or 11) or a little later.
As their permanent molars come in, your child may experience some mild pain or discomfort, but this should be easily managed with an over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If not, you should consider consulting your child’s dentist.
What Should I Do If My Child Has a Loose Tooth?
If your child is at the right age to be losing their teeth, there’s not much you need to do but let nature take its course. Teeth can be loose and wiggly for months before they finally fall out. It’s tempting to the child (and sometimes the parent, particularly when it seems like that tooth is hanging on by a mere thread, to simply yank the tooth out. But this can break the root of the tooth and create infection, so try to resist this urge. Instead, encourage your child to:
- Play with the tooth
- Wiggle it with their tongue and/or (clean) fingers
- Eat foods, such as apples, that can help loosen it up more
You can also reassure your child that:
- They will know if they lose their tooth
- There may be some blood, but they can rinse their mouth and use a paper towel to stop it
- They can go to the school nurse if they lose their tooth at school
If your child is under the age of four, or their loose tooth is caused by an injury or you don’t know why it’s loose, it’s best to call their dentist immediately.
When Do Kids Stop Losing Their Teeth?
It typically takes about six years for kids to lose all their baby teeth. If they start at the average age of six, they’ll stop losing teeth at approximately age 12. If they start a little sooner or later than six, adjust accordingly.
If you have any concern that they haven’t lost all their teeth or that it’s been too long or too quick, you can always schedule an appointment with their dentist to be sure that there are no problems and everything is on track.
Schedule Routine Appointments With Your Pediatric Dentist
Losing baby teeth is a natural process that typically comes with no pain or trouble. For most kids, this is a really fun experience as they get rewarded by the Tooth Fairy for each tooth lost. Only in rare cases is there cause for concern.
One way to avoid trouble is to continue scheduling routine appointments with your pediatric dentist. By ensuring your child continues to see their dentist regularly, you ensure that any potential problems are caught early.
Category: Dental Blog