What an exciting time when a child’s first set of teeth start getting all wiggly and get replaced with a brand new set! We’ve been through quite a few loose teeth around my house and recently we came across one that mocked me to no end. It got loose and then tightened up. It got loose again and turned grey and then on to a weird shade of pink and purple. That’s when I said, “Hey kid, it’s time for tooth to go!”
The Importance of Set #1
Deciduous teeth, also known as primary, milk teeth, or baby teeth are super important for all of us! They aid in digestion, muscle and speech development, and really do a job of finishing off a nice smile. But the most important job for that first set of teeth is to hold spaces for our permanent teeth. Unfortunately I hear too often from parents that they don’t spend much time brushing their child’s teeth or worry about cavities in a baby tooth because, “It’s not going to be there forever”! I cannot stress how critical it is to treat those baby teeth like gold because without them, our adult teeth are bound to have problems.
You can expect most children to start shedding those baby teeth around age 6.
Here’s a handy eruption schedule for you to see the average time frames for all of these tooth fairy trips to take place:
Keep in mind this is just a general reference as all children develop differently and girls typically seem start this process ahead of boys the same age. It’s common for parents to have concerns about how long they should tolerate their child rocking that disgusting tooth back and forth at the dinner table. Most of the time, we dental professional tend to tell parents that baby teeth will just come out in good time … and to be as patient as possible. Sometimes those stubborn teeth come out a full two years behind schedule and for some kids, that’ s just fine. As a general rule, all baby teeth should be gone when the 12 year molars are completely visible and the tissue makes a nice seal around the neck of those back chompers.
When Does it NEED to come out?
There are times when you should get your child to the dentist to evaluate if a baby tooth:
1. When it’s painful.
2. When the gums get infected or the tooth starts turning colors.
3. When another tooth is coming in behind or to the side of the baby tooth.
4. When nothing is happening well beyond the normal shedding schedule
In most of these cases, they will take a visual peek and an X-ray to determine if something needs to be done right away or if you can just let nature take it’s course. Teeth that are retained for too long can case crowding, infections, cavities and other situations that are not ideal.
Back to our pink tooth:
Although our recent encounter with a loose baby tooth resulted in a few interesting colors, something had to be done! Essentially, the roots of the primary tooth had dissolved to almost nothing allowing the tissue to grow into the shell that wasn’t loosening up fast enough. We’ve been talking about this weird tooth for about a month now. She wanted it gone because people kept commenting on her ugly tooth but was too nervous to take it out on her own. Honestly I got tired of talking about it but assured her I wouldn’t make her take it out until she was ready. Finally, she asked me to get the job done since I’m a “dental person”. I applied a little topical anesthetic and wedged my fingernail underneath the edge of the baby tooth. After a slightly disturbing crunchy noise, the little corn nugget sized piece popped out. As you can see in the photo, the gums had grown right up into the void and were trying to push the tooth out resulting in a perfectly tooth shaped ball of tissue. You can also see the new tooth peeking through. Everyone was relieved to get that tooth out of there and make room for the new one!
Isn’t it bitter sweet to see those little teeth move out to make room for the adult teeth? I mean, let’s face it… kids grow up and sometimes we aren’t quite ready for that to happen.
Tooth Eruptions Schedule : http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/e/eruption-charts