What to Expect When a Child Loses Baby Teeth

Proud young boy with newly lost teeth.
Your child losing baby teeth can be a useful opportunity to stress dental hygiene. (Image: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)

Whether or not you teach your child to believe in the tooth fairy, losing his baby teeth can be an exciting time and a significant sign that he is growing up. While kids generally lose their baby teeth with a minimum of fuss, there are some useful pieces of information that can help you reduce health risks, recognize problems and let you know what to expect.

Baby Teeth

Children usually begin to lose their baby teeth when they are around 6 or 7 years of age, and will continue to lose all of their baby teeth to make room for adult teeth until they are around 12 or 13. Girls frequently begin losing teeth earlier than boys. However, it is not unusual for children to lose teeth by the age of 4 or after the age of 8, notes Parents.com.

Loose Teeth

Loose teeth should generally be allowed to fall out on their own and should never be forced. Attempting to pull out loose teeth can cause gum injury and increases the risk of infection, especially if the root is still partially attached to the tooth. If your child’s tooth needs to be pulled because it is hanging on a small piece of gum tissue, you can grip it with a clean piece of gauze and pull gently to remove it.

Complications

Some children are nervous about losing their baby teeth. Reassuring them that this is an exciting part of becoming a big kid will help ease anxiety. In addition, the sharp edge of the loose tooth can cut the gums and cause infection. Minor infections can be treated with topical antiseptic gels.

Pain Management

Loose teeth and the empty sockets left after your child’s tooth falls out can cause painfully sore gums. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve discomfort. Parents.com suggests cooking soft foods if your child’s gums are too sore for chewing.

When to See a Dentist

Although it is not uncommon for adult teeth to come in before the baby teeth have fallen out, it could be a problem if the baby teeth don’t fall out after a couple of months, says Parents.com. A dentist may need to remove the baby teeth in this situation. In addition, severe swelling, pain or signs of serious infection are not normal, and require professional supervision from a dentist.

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