Understanding Baby Teeth

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How Many Baby Teeth? The average adult certainly does not remember losing 20 baby teeth. That’s kind of crazy seeing how much importance kids (and some teachers) put on losing a baby tooth. It is a very tangible sign to a child and everyone one she knows that we are growing up. Here are a few tips parents may tuck away when that first, third, or twelfth tooth comes out.

Adult teeth don’t push out baby teeth. These are two separate processes that sometimes happen in sequence and sometimes not. My favorite example is “shark teeth.” This is where the lower central permanent incisors erupt or come in behind the not so loose baby incisors. This is a common condition that does usually not require any treatment and will self-resolve. Just check for gills and fins.

Baby teeth fall out in waves with long intervals in between. Most kids will start losing baby teeth at age six, and they will lose eight teeth in the next two years, almost like clockwork. Then, you have a big hiatus until 10 or 11 years when the next teeth become loose. Many parents think the kid is done after age 8 – you and the tooth fairy are in for a surprise! For most boys and some girls, the last tooth will be lost about age 13.

Everybody is different and everybody waits their turn. I tell this to a lot of seven-year-olds because tooth loss follows a natural bell curve. While the average first tooth loss is age six, some kids will lose the first tooth at age 5 and some at age 7. That is all normal, but if you haven’t had your “tangible sign of growing up” yet, you may be worried. I have lots of kids that still have baby teeth at age 14. So, if the tooth is loose and not hurting is almost surely a baby tooth no matter the age!

Crowding doesn’t hurt. A lot about teething is uncomfortable, wiggly teeth when you bite, inflamed gums from lack of brushing, enamel shells that have broken. But teeth erupt into the mouth so slowly that one tooth pushing on another is not usually a source of pain, no matter how expensive it looks!

Here is a chart below to keep track of your kid’s teeth. Remember 6 months on either side of these time estimates are still within the range of normal. But, if in doubt you can always give me a ring! I love what I do, and I love helping you raise healthy happy children!

Dr. Greg
970 481 6728