October 25, 2018
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Why Aren’t My Child’s Baby Teeth Falling Out ?
- Baby teeth are important, and serve several purposes besides chewing. They guide the permanent teeth, and preserve the space for the permanent teeth until they are developed enough to come in to replace the baby teeth.
- Parent’s often worry when a child’s baby teeth do not fall as expected. This is often a result of a misconception about the normal sequence and timing of baby teeth loss.
- The normal sequence and timing of baby teeth loss in a developing child is as follows :
- The first baby teeth are usually lost at age 6. The age can range from as early as the age of 5, to as late as the age of 7;
- On average, by the age of 8 a child will have lost eight baby teeth: four upper and four lower front teeth;
- From the ages of 8 to 10, there is not much change, except the appearance of the first permanent molar (i.e. the six-year molar). This two year period is the best time for orthodontic treatment to start, if it is needed.
- Around the ages of 10 to 11 years, the remaining baby teeth will start to become loose and fall out. On average, a child will lose the last of their baby teeth before the age of 13.
- Although some developmental problems can cause a delayed loss of baby teeth, individual variability is expected and typically everything is fine.
- When baby teeth are lost prematurely (e.g. from cavities or crowding), space for the underlying permanent teeth is lost. If baby teeth are lost too early, a space maintainer may be needed until the permanent teeth are developed enough to come in. An orthodontist should be consulted in this case.
- On the other hand baby teeth that are not lost on time (e.g. from the absence of permanent teeth or the presence of extra teeth) can result in the permanent teeth coming in crooked, out of place or not at all. A visit to the orthodontist will help determine whether there is a problem, or it if is just the result of slow development.
- Seeing an orthodontist at age 7 is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists. An orthodontist can monitor your child’s dental development, and advise you as necessary. It is an important complimentary service provided by your orthodontist.