It is an exciting milestone in a child’s life when they lose that first tooth. The first tooth lost is usually the lower front tooth and is around age 6. If your child was slow to get their baby teeth, they are also usually slow to lose them as well. If they lose one on one side, then the same tooth on the other side is usually close behind.
Sometimes a baby tooth is lost early due to an accident or decay. If on the radiograph the permanent tooth is not ready to erupt a spacer needs to be placed to keep the adjacent teeth from drifting and closing the space available.
If a baby tooth comes out and the permanent tooth does not erupt within a few months, it is important to have the orthodontist take a radiograph to check on the developing permanent replacement tooth. It could be blocked out or erupting in an unusual direction. If so, it may be necessary to create some space to clear the path for it while it is trying to erupt. If you wait too long sometimes the permanent tooth can complete the development of its root, losing its eruptive force and become impacted.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their initial evaluation by an Orthodontist at age 7 to check on the developing permanent teeth and growth of the jaw. A panoramic radiograph is helpful to look at the permanent teeth. Some people are missing teeth and some people have extra teeth. In both cases, it is helpful to know as early as possible. Extra teeth may inhibit the eruption of the other permanent teeth and need to be extracted.
Baby teeth are lost usually between the ages of 6 -11. Girls tend to be early and boys later. Encourage your child to wiggle their teeth as soon as they get loose because that means the tooth underneath is trying to take its place. It is better to get it out of the way because sometimes the permanent tooth can erupt in front of or behind the retained baby tooth.
Make losing a tooth an exciting event for your child. It is part of the growing up process and the Tooth Fairy rewards them!