“He’s only 4 and he already lost his front tooth!” “All of the other kids have lost so many teeth but he hasn’t lost any yet, what’s going on?” “It seems like she’s leaving a trail of teeth wherever she goes, how many more does she have left to lose?” These are just some of the things a pediatric dentist will hear on a daily basis! The first thing we want to talk about when it comes to loosing baby teeth and getting permanent teeth is that “dental age” can either coincide or be different from “chronological age.” That means that although most children follow a similar pattern of tooth loss/tooth eruption it can be at different ages depending on their physical and dental maturity.
Typically the process of losing baby teeth starts around 6-7 years old and is complete around 12-13 years old. The first signs of transitioning from baby teeth to adult teeth is typically either the eruption of the “6 year molars” or the loosening of the lower two middle teeth. The 6 year molars are a little different because no teeth fall out in order for them to come in – they come in behind the last baby tooth.
The first group of adult teeth you typically see come in are the top and bottom front 4 teeth on top and on bottom. Around this time it is important not to miss your checkup with the pediatric dentist so we can check the permanent are coming in correctly and the baby teeth are falling out in a timely matter. We also may recommend a growth and development x-ray, also known as a panoramic radiograph.
The canine teeth and baby molars will then fall out between the ages of 8-9 to 12-13 years old. These teeth are very important to keep until their natural time to fall out for many reasons, including maintaining space. The idea behind maintaining space is to make sure there is enough room for adult teeth to come in. This is just one of the reasons to make sure that even though they are “just baby teeth” to see your pediatric dentist regularly so we can keep them as clean and cavity free as possible. If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth or erupting teeth don’t hesitate to make an appointment for a check!