Parent’s Guide: Losing Baby Teeth

Dec 11, 2018

Is your child about to lose their first baby tooth? This is any child’s first dental milestone and hopefully they’re getting excited about their first visit from the tooth fairy. But if you’re freaking out about what to do, don’t worry: here are all the things you need to know about your child losing their baby teeth.

When Do Baby Teeth Fall Out?

Children typically lose their baby teeth in the same order that they first appear: lower central teeth first. They lose their first baby tooth between four and seven years old (more commonly around the age of six as they start school).

If your child naturally loses their first tooth before four or after seven, you may need to take them to a pediatric dentist to check if there aren’t any underlying issues.

If your child loses their baby teeth through unnatural means (e.g. trauma or tooth decay), that would present more of an issue and you should definitely take your child to see the dentist. Further measures may need to be taken, such as a change in diet or brushing teeth more thoroughly if your child’s teeth are falling out due to dental caries.

Why Do Baby Teeth Fall Out?

A permanent tooth usually forms and grows underneath the baby tooth. When this process starts happening, the baby tooth’s roots gets dissolved/resorbed, making the baby tooth loose. 

Sometimes, however, a permanent tooth may instead grow behind the baby tooth, and when this happens, the root doesn’t get resorbed and the tooth doesn’t become loose. If this happens, your child will need to see the dentist so they can properly extract the baby tooth to make room for the permanent tooth.

It is advisable that when baby teeth start wiggling, you should encourage your child to keep wiggling their teeth by pushing with their tongue. This helps loosen the tooth and speeds up the process to allow the permanent tooth to take its place. 

Permanent teeth take months to grow in. If it takes more than six months, however, seek your dentist’s advice. The exception is if the baby teeth fell out due to unnatural circumstances (e.g. trauma or tooth decay). In these situations, permanent teeth may take a lot longer to grow into the space.

After the Tooth Falls Out?

It may be a bit scary for your child when their first tooth falls out. Reassure your child that it’s ok, this is a normal part of growing up. If they are experiencing pain or discomfort, it should settle down soon afterwards.

If there is any bleeding, get your child to swish a bit of warm water in their mouths. If the bleeding persists, ask them to bite down on a small wad of gauze or clean towel. After 20 minutes, check if the bleeding has stopped. Bleeding should cease after an hour at most. If not, call your local dentist for further instruction.

In the first few days after the baby tooth has fallen out, your child should brush their teeth. They just need to be a lot gentler around the area where their tooth fell out so as to not irritate the gums.

The permanent tooth will look more yellow and have more noticeable ridges compared to the remaining baby teeth. This is all very normal. The permanent tooth will also be bigger and this may cause issues with teeth crowding.

If your child’s mouth is not big enough to accommodate the bigger permanent teeth, speak to your local dentist to find out if any treatment is necessary. Generally, kids grow into their teeth so this may only be a temporary issue.

Most importantly, encourage your child to maintain a thorough dental hygiene routine: brushing teeth twice each day and flossing at the end of the day. Also eating healthily and visiting the dentist every six months is very important as well. Remember: these are now their permanent teeth and they want to keep them forever!