Middle school kids compare developmental milestones, and kids who are slower to develop wonder when it will be their turn. These types of comparisons happen with young kids, too. Losing teeth is a developmental milestone. If your child is slow to lose teeth, it can be embarrassing. Growing children don’t want to have baby teeth forever.
The primary teeth, also called baby teeth, start falling out when children are 6 or 7 years old. The baby teeth fall out to make room for the permanent teeth. Some kids can start losing baby teeth as early as 4 years, while others may not lose their first tooth until age 8. Most kids lose all their baby teeth by the time they are 12 or 13. Some kids are nervous about losing their baby teeth, and others are excited, especially the ones who believe in the tooth fairy.
The order in which kids lose their teeth correlates for the most part to the order in which they came in. The bottom two came in first and are usually the first to go. The two upper teeth come next, followed by the incisors, first molars, canines and second molars.
Before the teeth come out, they are usually loose for a while. Your child might complain about the feeling and ask you to pull it out. Don’t get any ideas you may have picked up from an old movie where the mom ties the loose tooth to a string with the other end attached to a doorknob. Pediatric dentist Paul Casamassimo told the BabyCenter that you should not pull out your child’s loose tooth; you should instead encourage your child to pull it out himself. You could hurt your child by pulling too hard on a tooth that isn’t ready. Tell your child not to yank hard on the tooth. The tooth should come out easily. If he yanks it out too soon, the area becomes vulnerable to infection.
Tell your child to wiggle the tooth with her tongue or with her finger. When the tooth is ready, it should come out easily with little bleeding. If there is bleeding, you can put wet gauze on the gum and hold it there for a few minutes. If the tooth doesn’t come out, there is a chance that your child could swallow the tooth. If so, that’s OK. Casamassimo says that a child won’t choke on a tooth and that a swallowed tooth won’t cause any harm.
If your child hits a tooth that is not ready to come out and loosens it, put wet gauze on the area to stop the bleeding and maybe offer a frozen juice pop to limit the swelling. If anything looks unusual, such as the tooth being out of place, the tooth being chipped, or a fever developing within the next few days, go to the doctor or dentist.