As family dentists, we get a lot of questions about teeth, especially about primary (baby) and secondary (adult) teeth. First things first, every person is unique, and although there are many resources online that can help you predict when teeth will fall out, come-in, or be replaced, it is not uncommon for children to be outliers. We want to remind parents that if you are concerned with how or when your child is losing teeth or getting new teeth, that the best way to know if there is an issue is by seeing a dentist. Many times teeth can come in early or late and it will not be a problem at all. But if you or your child is worried about the process of losing their baby teeth and getting their adult teeth, feel free to set up an appointment with our dentists in Chicago.
The first group of teeth you probably have questions about are the primary teeth or “baby teeth”. If you have any questions about teething, we have a convenient guide for you. Generally the first tooth to show up are the bottom central incisors (or bottom front teeth). These tend to erupt when your child is 6-10 months old. They are followed by the top two front teeth which show up around 8-12 months old. Lateral incisors or the teeth that border the front teeth show up next, usually with a few months of the front teeth. Canines (or the pointed teeth between incisors and molars) appear between 16 and 22 months. The first molars usually appear around the time your child is 18 months old and the second set of molars appear around 2 years old. Your child may be ahead of or behind schedule or may have teeth come in out of order. The best thing to do is to bring your child to a dentist as soon as they begin teething. Over the first few years your dentist can track their teeth and make sure there are no issues.
Children can start losing their central incisors around 6 years old. Sometimes a tooth can be very stubborn and will get loose but will not come out for a while. As annoying as this is, you and your child should never try to force out a tooth. Here is a quick guide to coaxing a tooth out safely. Generally speaking, pulling on the tooth gently is safe, but anything more forceful than that can be significantly painful for your child and could cause damage to their mouth. If you are concerned that tooth has not come out consider setting up a quick appointment with your local dentist.
Sometimes adult teeth emerge before the baby teeth fall out leading to what is sometimes referred to as “shark teeth”. Other times a new adult tooth will emerge and push out the baby tooth and there is almost no time when the tooth is missing. But in some cases, a child may have a gap in their smile for a considerable amount of time. This is especially true if a baby tooth gets knocked out early. However, if a tooth hasn’t erupted for a while it could be because of an issue. A common problem is that a larger adult tooth cannot come in until one of the surrounding teeth also falls out. The tooth may come up partially. An impacted tooth is a tooth that is lodged in the bone and cannot move.