dentist examining young, smiling girl

When Does a Child Lose Baby Teeth?

Primary teeth, more commonly referred to as baby teeth, are temporary teeth that a child has in their early years. These teeth eventually fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth. The baby teeth start coming in anywhere between 6 months and a year, sometimes a little earlier or later for some babies. By the time they are 2-3 years old, they will typically have 20 teeth; 10 on the bottom and 10 on the top. 

When does a child lose their baby teeth? This and other teeth shedding questions answered by dental professionals

When will my child lose their first tooth?

The average age for the loss of the first tooth is 6 years old. Some children may lose one earlier than age 6, but it is more common for it to be later than earlier. For most children that means they may lose their first tooth in kindergarten or first grade. 

Which tooth will fall out first?

It is typically one of the bottom front teeth that comes out first, since the bottom front teeth are the first to come in for babies. Most children will lose the two bottom front teeth first, then the two top front teeth. Then the teeth on either side of the front teeth are shed in order going toward the back of the mouth. 

Is the timing for tooth loss related to tooth eruption? 

In many cases the timing is related. The earlier a baby gets their first tooth, the earlier their first baby tooth will likely be shed. This is not definite for all babies and children, but it seems to be a common trend. 

What causes baby teeth to fall out?

Baby teeth start to get loose when the permanent teeth behind them start pushing against the roots. The roots of the baby teeth will eventually wear away, which causes the tooth to loosen and eventually fall out. The permanent tooth then comes in behind it. You can sometimes see the tip of the permanent tooth as soon as the baby tooth comes out. 

What if my child loses a baby tooth by accident? 

This is a common question that arises. If a tooth gets knocked out by accident before it is ready, it needs to be addressed by a dentist. A baby tooth cannot usually be put back into place. However, if it is left out before the permanent tooth is ready to come in, the other teeth on either side may shift into the gap and cause orthodontic issues. Dentists usually recommend a space maintainer to keep the spot open until the permanent tooth is ready to come in. 

Should baby teeth be extracted? 

There are a few different reasons that a dentist may recommend that a baby tooth be extracted before it is naturally ready to come out. If a tooth is severely decayed to the point where a filling, root canal, or crown cannot save it, it may need to be pulled. In this case, a space maintainer would be used to hold the place for the permanent tooth to come in. Sometimes baby teeth are extracted for orthodontic reasons as well, such as extreme crowding. 

Can gum disease cause loss of baby teeth?

Yes, gum disease can cause baby teeth to fall out prematurely. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums that is caused by lack of dental hygiene habits like brushing and flossing. It leads to severe gum irritation that can cause the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth. The teeth can become loose and even fall out if gum disease is not treated. Regular visits to the dentist can prevent gum disease with early detection and treatment. 

Arrowhead Dental Associates Provides Pediatric Services

From the time a baby’s first tooth comes in and twice a year from then on, they should see the dentist for regular cleanings and exams. This prevents premature loss of baby teeth and sets the tone for a lifetime of dental health. Arrowhead Dental Associates provides pediatric dental services for children of all ages. Because we are a family dental practice, dental care can continue into adulthood and throughout the patient’s life. 

Call 401-364-6300 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to helping your child get a positive start in dental care.