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My tooth is loose!

Those words represent a big smile milestone in your child's life. Baby teeth need to fall out to make way for permanent teeth to grow- a process that lasts six or more years from start to finish.

Most children are thrilled to feel a tooth wiggle (and perhaps get a visit from the tooth fairy), while some fear about whether it will hurt when it falls out. If your child is a worrier, you can assure him that he probably won't feel anything.

First in, first out

A child's twenty baby teeth, which typically come in by age three, generally fall out in the order in which they came in. That means the lower centre teeth (lower centre incisors) are usually the first to go, around age 5 or 6. The top centre pair are next. A baby tooth typically doesn't loosen until the permenent tooth below pushes it up to take it's place.

Some children lose their first tooth as early as four or as late as seven. Usually, the younger the child was when the teeth came in, the earlier they fall out.

It's possible for kids to lose a baby tooth too early, before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, because of an accident or dental disease. If your child begins to lose teeth before four years of age, you should consult a dentist to make sure there's no underlying disease.

It's also possible for a child to reach seven or eight without losing any baby teeth. In sush cases, there's probably nothing wrong, but it's a good idea to consult a dentist for x-rays to assess the situation.

Out with the old

Encourage your child to gently wiggle a wobbler. Some loose teeth can actually be rotated because the root underneath has almost completely disintegrated.

Remind your child not to yank a tooth before it's ready to fall out on it's own because it makes the broken root more vulnerable to infection. A loose tooth that refuses to come out may need to be pulled by a dentist, though this is hardly ever necessary.

Losing baby teeth is rarely as painful as teething. If your five or six year old complains of pain in thte back of the mouth, it's probably the six year molars coming through. A topical painkiller can ease the ache, though it's unlikely to last long.

In with the new

The new teeth may look larger, especially those first few and that's because they are. Adult teeth also tend to be less white than baby teeth and have prominent ridges because they haven't been used yet biting and chewing.

Sometimes, a couple of new teeth can come in before the old ones are gone, creating two rows of pearly whites. This a temporary stage.

Source: babycenter.com