“All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” is a fun Christmas song that has some meaning behind it. When kids lose their baby teeth, it often can feel like forever before they get their permanent replacements. It can take as long as six months for a permanent tooth to erupt, and even longer if the baby tooth was prematurely lost.
Kids also go through a period where they seem to lose a ton of teeth at once, then not lose any for several years. The transition from primary teeth (baby teeth) to mixed dentition (baby teeth and adult teeth) can be peculiar. Here are nine facts to help you know what to expect before the tooth fairy comes to town.
- Baby teeth are formed in utero and usually appear in the mouth at around 6 months old.
- While it is rare, some babies are born with one or more teeth. These are called natal teeth.
- There are a total of 20 baby teeth that erupt. And, typically, the lower front teeth are the first to come in.
- Children start to lose their first tooth between the ages of 5 and 7.
- Permanent six-year molars erupt behind the last baby tooth, on the top and bottom, around the age of 6. Some children feel pressure, like they are teething again, and other children don’t notice it at all.
- As a permanent tooth erupts, it absorbs the root of the baby tooth, causing it to become loose and, ultimately, help push it out.
- Sometimes, a permanent tooth can come in behind a baby tooth. Should this happen, encourage the child to wiggle the baby tooth with clean hands to help it come out. In some cases, a dentist may need to help take a baby tooth out.
- Spacing between baby teeth is a good thing. A permanent tooth is bigger than a baby tooth, therefore needing more space.
- Back molars usually are the last teeth kids lose. This happens, on average, between the ages of 10 and 12.
Losing baby teeth is a natural part of growing up. Now that you know a little more about it, I hope you can enjoy and celebrate this exciting milestone. Remember to encourage good oral hygiene, and you’re sure to set up your child for a lifetime of healthy and happy smiles.
– Dr. Marable completed her pediatric residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is a board-certified pediatric dentist practicing at Woodstock Dental Town. 678-224-5722.
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