As a parent, you might be wondering when the Tooth Fairy will pay her first visit to your child. You may also be wondering how to handle the pain and the bleeding that can accompany the loss of teeth.
The First Adult Teeth
Before actually losing any teeth, your child will gain two. You may have heard of the six-year molars. These are the first adult (permanent) teeth that your child will have. They grow in behind the baby teeth at the back of the mouth, when the child is between six and seven years old.
Most children can also expect to lose their first tooth around the age of six. If your child got her baby teeth early, she will likely get her adult teeth a little early, but not generally before the age of six. If your child’s baby teeth were a little late in coming, his adult teeth will likely be a little late too..
Baby teeth fall out in roughly the same order that they came in. The two front teeth (central incisors) at the bottom fall out, followed by the central incisors at the top. From there, they fall out in order from front to back, starting on the bottom and then the top. So, the teeth next to the central incisors (the lateral incisors) will fall out on the bottom first, and then on the top. Canines on the bottom are next, followed by canines on the top and so on.
The final baby tooth has usually fallen out by the age of 12. But that is not the end of your child’s new teeth. The third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, arrive between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one. They are supposed to erupt like all other teeth but, as many adults know, these teeth can remain impacted and may eventually need extracting.
What to Do When Teeth Are Loose
Some children may be bothered by the idea of losing teeth, by the pain or by the sight of any blood that may come along with loose teeth. As a parent you can reassure your child that this is a normal process. If your child experiences any pain, consult your doctor or dentist about how to handle it. A cold compress may be all that is necessary. The idea of the Tooth Fairy can also comfort children. (It is up to you to decide whether to use this little fairy tale and how much it will ultimately cost.)
You might have been told otherwise when you were young, but it is okay for your child to wiggle a loose tooth. Neither you nor your child should try to pull a tooth that is not ready to be removed. When a tooth is left to fall out on its own, there is very little bleeding. Be aware that the adult teeth that grow in are often more yellow than the baby teeth they are replacing. This is normal, but if you are concerned, you can talk to a dental professional about it.
Once your child is between six and eight years old and has permanent molars, you may want to discuss dental sealants with your dentist. A sealant is a thin layer of plastic that is “painted” on the chewing surface of the molars. The sealant prevents food from getting caught in the molar’s pits, which are more susceptible to decay than other surfaces. If the sealant remains intact, cavities will not develop on the surfaces of the molars and premolars (the teeth before the molars).