Baby teeth, or primary teeth, are the first set of teeth to erupt and lose before the adult teeth come in. The first baby tooth will erupt around 6-10 months, and a full set of baby teeth should be in around 25-33 months. The first baby tooth to be lost will be the lower front teeth around 5-6 years old and the last baby teeth to be lost will be in the back, around 10-12 years old. This eruption pattern and timing is a guideline, and it doesn’t mean there is something wrong if there’ s a slight deviation from it. Most times there is nothing to worry about with a loose baby tooth, it will naturally exfoliate from stimuli such as eating and tooth brushing. Below is a list of situations where a wiggly tooth might be of concern:
If a fall or a hit to the face or jaw has caused a tooth to be lost or become loose, it’s a cause for concern and a good reason for a trip to the dentist. Baby teeth have much shorter roots than adult teeth so a small injury can result in mobility of a tooth. It is quite common for a traumatic injury to cause a “bruise” in a front baby tooth that results in the tooth turning grey or yellow. Often that will be associated with mobility, but over time the movement will reduce, and the tooth will stabilize. In some cases, if the tooth with hit too hard it will have to be removed. It is crucial to visit the dentist in cases of tooth trauma, however mild.
Sometimes, an adult tooth will erupt while the baby tooth is still in place. Baby teeth exfoliate due to the eruption of the adult tooth underneath, resorbing the root as it erupts. If the adult tooth is erupting in a slightly different angle or location, it won’t be able, and sometimes it will be left in position. There is no concern if the baby tooth has mobility, but if the baby tooth is solid in its place, this might mean the baby tooth will need to be extracted. If you notice a double row of teeth, see your dentist to assess next steps.
If there is a cavity or infection in a baby tooth, it will likely cause pain and sometimes mobility of the tooth. An infection can be seen as a small pimple on the gums above the tooth. A cavity on a baby tooth can be restored with a filling or a crown, but if it is too large and has an infection, the baby tooth may need to be removed. When a baby tooth is removed premature, a space maintainer is placed in the area to hold the space for the adult tooth to erupt when ready.
If you are worried about your child’s loose tooth or have any questions about loose teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.