WHEN DO BABY TEETH FALL OUT AND SHOULD I BE WORRIED IF THEY DON’T?

At your child's First Visit to Perfect Smiles Orthodontics, we will do a count of all your child's teeth. If they are not ready for treatment, we usually keep your child under recall and bring them back for review visits.

At each review visit, he will be asked whether any baby teeth have fallen out.

This is to make sure that the permanent teeth are coming through as planned, and we need to keep a lookout for any potential problems.

A child will begin losing their baby teeth from age 6 or 7 onwards, and this continues on until the age of 12-13, when they will get a full set of permanent teeth. A child will generally lose their lower central incisors first, as they are the first teeth that come on the scene when the child is a toddler. Between ages 7- 12, your child may have a set of mixed baby and permanent teeth, and this is called mixed dentition.

By age 12-13, your child should have a full set of permanent teeth – 32 in all, and these teeth will serve them until the rest of their life. Generally girls will attain their full set of permanent teeth earlier than boys.

What Possible Complications Are There?

It is important to monitor the eruption of the permanent teeth, as there are some possible problems that might occur.

  • 1.Retained Baby Teeth- If a baby tooth or teeth does not fall out within the predicted time, this may cause problems for the adult teeth, which still needs to come through. In most instances, we would advise the child to "wobble" the tooth continuously so that it falls off by itself. This usually does the trick, however, after a certain time, if the tooth is still retained, we may advise for the dental extraction of the tooth, to enable the adult tooth to come through.
  • 2.Impacted Adult Teeth - Some adult teeth may become impacted, either from the baby teeth being retained and not falling, or from the angle of the (adult) teeth's growth. XRays need to be taken to check if a tooth is impacted or potentially impacted. If a tooth is impacted due to retained a baby tooth, the removal of the baby tooth will usually resolve the problem over time, and the adult tooth will move into is rightful position. However, there are some adult teeth (usually upper canines) that, due to their angle of growth, have a disposition for impaction. Your orthodontist will advise you when is the best time to deal with these impacted teeth. Usually it will require orthodontics and surgical exposure to ensure that the impacted tooth is brought down to its correct position.
  • 3.Missing Adult Teeth – Some children born with missing adult teeth. So when the baby tooth falls off, there is no adult tooth to take its place. This leaves a gap where the adult tooth should be. This is the time to visit the orthodontist to discuss treatment options to close the gap.

To monitor your child's developing teeth, please visit your orthodontist at the allotted intervals. Most times a physical examination will not be enough to find out what is happening with their teeth. Even if you have finished Phase 1 treatment, you should still visit your orthodontist to monitor the development of the rest of the permanent teeth.

X-Rays will need to be taken to see if the permanent teeth are present, absent, impacted or developing normally.

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