Baby teeth play an important role in helping your children’s jaw develop. And they can be a great set of trial teeth for learning oral hygiene. But when it’s time for them to go, they have to get out of the way and make room for your child’s permanent teeth.
When to Expect Your Child’s Teeth to Fall out
Your teeth follow a pattern of first in, first out, so the first teeth to emerge, the central incisors, usually on the bottom, are also the first to fall out. This normally happens at the age of 6 or 7. However, it can begin much earlier for some children—as early as age 4 in some cases.
The other teeth will follow, working their way out and back from the incisors, so that by the age of 12 your child will likely have lost all their baby teeth.
Teeth Falling Out Early or Late: Should You Worry?
Most parents only check out this information if they have concerns that their child’s teeth are falling out early or late. Typically, this isn’t a major concern, but there are some things to watch for.
Teeth that fall out early may be due to a trauma your child suffered, typically as a result of a fall. The tooth may have turned discolored before it fell out. Here the concern is that there may also be damage to the permanent tooth that is developing in the jaw. There may also be effects on the spacing of permanent teeth as they emerge. In both cases, we will have to deal with those issues as the teeth emerge.
Another issue that worries parents is the appearance of shark teeth: when permanent teeth emerge behind baby teeth that haven’t fallen out yet. This isn’t normally a cause for concern. The baby teeth will still fall out and the adult teeth will move into position.
If, however, the baby teeth don’t fall out by the time the permanent tooth has fully emerged, it may need to be extracted. This will normally allow the permanent tooth to move into position.
If your child’s permanent teeth are not properly guided into position because of early or late loss of baby teeth, orthodontics may be recommended.