Losing your baby teeth is a hallmark of growing up, and growing into your adult teeth is an exciting time for children. While most people know to expect it, do you know how you lose baby teeth?
How Baby Teeth Fall out
When Do Babies Get Teeth?
When us humans are first born, we don’t have any visible teeth. Then from roughly 6-24 months, 20 small teeth “erupt” through our gums. These primary or “baby” teeth play an important role in helping young children to chew their own food and learn to speak. However, they also hold a place in our jaws for our adult teeth to grow into. This makes sure our jaws and facial muscles form in a way that will work once our grown-up teeth are in place.
Losing Baby Teeth
Once the time is right (around 6 years old), the process begins. Similar to the process used to move your teeth with braces, the emerging adult teeth will begin to push on the roots of the baby teeth above them. As the roots are absorbed and become shorter as a result, the tooth becomes loose and begins to wiggle.
This is why orthodontists recommend bringing in children for an initial check up around age 7. Being able to see how their teeth are being lost or coming in can be a tremendous help to orthodontists determining what, if any, orthodontic treatment will be needed.
When Do You Stop Losing Baby Teeth?
The last of our baby teeth tend to come loose at about 12 years old. At this point, our bodies and jaws have grown. This allows for the final bit of space needed for all of our adult teeth to come in. It often goes unnoticed, but while baby teeth are being replaced, new teeth are also growing at the back of the mouth, to complete our set of 32 adult teeth. Although, our wisdom teeth at the far back of the mouth often don’t erupt until early adulthood, around age 17-21
Losing your baby teeth is a natural process that often does not need interference from us. As fun as those door-slamming, loose tooth pull videos may seem, it isn’t necessary. In fact, pulling a loose tooth out before it’s ready to come out itself can cause problems with the incoming adult tooth and its place in the mouth. If you’re encountering a particularly stubborn tooth, we recommend seeing your oral specialist to make sure there aren’t underlying issues.
I feel very fortunate to have found a profession as rewarding as the field of Orthodontics! For over 20 years, I have enjoyed creating custom, beautiful smiles for our family of patients all over the Northern Virginia area. You can even find some of our loyal patients across the country and abroad!