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My Child’s Baby Teeth Aren’t Falling Out…What Should I Do?

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little girl with missing teeth

Once someone becomes a parent, the word “milestone” becomes very important. A child’s early development is typically monitored by observing when they reach certain milestones, like when they roll over on their own the first time, sit up, start talking, etc. Another big one is when their baby teeth start falling out. This can happen at different times and at different rates, but what if it seems like some of your child’s baby teeth just won’t fall out? Should you be worried? What should you do? A children’s orthodontist shares everything you need to know about this situation in today’s blog.

Why a Child’s Baby Teeth May Not Fall Out

Typically, a child starts losing their baby teeth between the ages of five and seven, and the process usually ends around 11-13. As the permanent/adult teeth develop and erupt, they are supposed to push on the roots of the baby teeth, causing them to dissolve and fall out. This process can be thrown off for a few reasons:

  • An adult tooth is pressing behind or in front of a baby tooth’s root, which doesn’t cause it to dissolve. This can lead to an adult tooth erupting in addition to a baby tooth, creating two rows of teeth, which is a condition known as “shark teeth.”
  • The baby teeth are crowded, and this is preventing the adult tooth from coming in correctly.
  • Less common is that the child has not developed a permanent tooth in a particular spot, which is known as a congenitally missing tooth.

What You Should Do

Is one of your child’s permanent teeth coming in behind a baby tooth? If so, check to see if the baby tooth is loose. If it is, have your child wiggle it gently every day, and it should eventually come out on its own. But, if it is firm, it’s best to visit an orthodontist for an X-ray so they can see what is going on.

It’s also important that your child keep up with their regular dental checkups. Their dentist should be able to spot any issues with their baby and adult teeth, and if you have questions about when they should be falling out or coming in, they should be able to answer them. They can also recommend whether or not any baby teeth should be extracted to make room for the adult teeth.

Between the ages of seven and 10, most children will not lose many teeth or have new ones come in. This is part of the reason why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic evaluation around age seven. An orthodontist may recommend early-age orthodontics in order to fix alignment issues in the baby teeth so that the adult teeth can come in and will be as straight as possible, which will prevent bigger issues down the road.

You Can Breathe Easy

While it may be nerve-racking if your child’s teeth aren’t doing what you’re expecting, as long as they are regularly seeing a dentist and visiting an orthodontist when recommended, then you can trust that their smile will stay in good shape. If you have concerns about their teeth and they don’t have a checkup around the corner, feel free to schedule a visit soon, and their dentist will be more than willing to answer your questions and let you know what to do next.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is a board-certified orthodontist in the Columbus area that offers a wide variety of braces as well as Invisalign. As a father of three young boys, he knows firsthand just how unique a child’s oral development can be compared to their peers! If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth falling out at the right time, or if you notice their adult teeth coming in behind baby teeth, he can certainly help, and you can schedule a visit by clicking here.