If you have children above the age of seven, you’ve probably been there: after weeks of wiggling and jiggling, your child finally loses his first baby tooth! Thus begins the long journey for your child where he will eventually lose all 20 of his baby teeth. Besides fulfilling your Tooth Fairy obligations, here are some ways you can promote good dental health in your child as he goes through the steps of losing his baby teeth and growing his permanent ones.
Step One: Losing Loose Teeth
The constant wiggling and tonguing of a loose tooth is to be expected and totally fine for your child to do, although make sure your child waits until the loose tooth is ready to come out before he tries pulling it. Not only could this hurt your child (and when the tooth is ready to come out your child shouldn’t experience any pain), pulling a tooth before it’s ready to come out could make the broken root more susceptible to infection. When your child’s tooth does come out, have him swish with warm water until the bleeding stops. Be sure to stay calm and celebrate with your child so that he also remains calm. Remember, he has over a dozen teeth to lose, so making this a pleasant event will make everyone happier in the long run!
Step Two: Hole-y Mouth
It can take several weeks for permanent teeth to replace lost baby teeth, and sometimes kids lose multiple teeth at one time, leaving a mouth full of gaps and spaces. Depending on how many missing teeth your child has, you may have to serve more mashed potatoes and soup and less steak and corn-on-the-cob at dinnertime for a little while. Encourage your child to continue brushing and flossing his remaining teeth, and consider letting your child rinse with a kid-friendly mouthwash once a day to thoroughly clean out his mouth since brushing around the missing teeth may prove to be difficult for him. If months go by and your child’s permanent teeth aren’t growing in, be sure to make an appointment with us. There are several reasons this could happen, including a tooth growing in the wrong way or the tooth not having enough space to grow in. We at Cornerstone Family Dentistry will be able to figure out the problem and encourage those permanent teeth to come in.
Step Three: Brand New Smile
You may notice that your child’s permanent teeth look different than his baby teeth. This is totally normal! Permanent teeth are often larger than baby teeth, and sometimes they aren’t as white. In addition, some permanent teeth have bumpy ridges on the ends called mamelons that will eventually wear off. You may also begin to notice that your child’s permanent teeth are growing in crooked. This is because your child’s mouth just got a lot more crowded. Not only are your child’s permanent teeth larger than his baby teeth, but while your child had 20 primary teeth, he will have a total of 32 permanent teeth, including four wisdom teeth. We at Cornerstone Family Dentistry will be happy to walk you through this process as your child grows his permanent teeth and talk through your options on whether or not your child may need braces.
As your child’s permanent teeth begin growing in, the most important thing you can do is to remind him to brush twice a day and floss regularly. Remind your child that these are the teeth that will be around forever and help him get into the habit of taking good care of his teeth now while he is still young.