Losing teeth is an exciting time in any child’s life. The tooth fairy starts making appearances in your household and adult teeth start to grow in. What’s exciting for your kids might raise some fears and questions for the parents. It’s common to wonder if your child is losing teeth at the right time, or too slowly, or even too quickly. These concerns are normal, and a reason why it’s good to get your child into the orthodontist starting at age seven. Orthodontists Dr. Amir Davoody, Dr. Rana Mehr, Dr. Thomais Ioannou, and Dr. Panagiotis Kyteas at Greater Houston Orthodontics can answer all these questions and more and can start any treatment needed early enough to prevent major issues.
When Should Your Child Start to Lose Teeth?
Usually, the first teeth come loose around age six. Any time between ages five and seven is a normal and healthy time to lose the first tooth. Then, between the ages of eight and ten, there is a brief break in tooth loss. By this time, children have, on average, lost eight teeth. Typically, this is four front top teeth and four front bottom teeth.
Of course, every child is different, and these ages and average numbers may not prove exactly true in real life. Though your child may not follow this exact timing when they lose their teeth, a first visit to the orthodontist is ideal at age seven to make sure that the progression they are following is healthy and timely for their development.
As your child gets older and enters their early teen years new molars start to erupt. The process of tooth eruption, though not uniform, should progress relatively similarly for most children. Your orthodontist can make sure that there is space and a healthy mouth to accommodate your child’s growth, and make sure it is progressing correctly.
Early Treatment Orthodontics
As we’ve mentioned above, it’s best to get your child in to see the orthodontist around age seven. Early treatment in orthodontics is the best way to start a treatment. When you visit the orthodontist early, they can implement preventative treatment for future issues they see arising in your child’s mouth. Because your child should have a mixture of adult and baby teeth at this time, the orthodontist can work with the growth of the mouth to work towards occlusion or an aligned bite.
The Science of Tooth Movement
Teeth move very slowly. While this isn’t exactly what you want to hear when you’re self-conscious about your smile, slow movement is the best and healthiest way to perfect your bite. Tooth movement is a combination between bone cells called osteoclasts breaking down bone matter in the direction the tooth is set to move in and osteoblasts filling in bone matter behind the tooth as it moves. The teeth ideally should move about a millimeter a month during treatment. This seems like a small distance, but it is the best place to maintain health.
So, combining the information about the benefits of early orthodontic treatment and the anatomy and physiology of tooth movement is how your orthodontist is best able to adjust your bite. If you are missing teeth when treatment begins, or loose teeth during treatment, your orthodontist is an expert on timing the movement of your mouth to adjust for the new spaces tooth loss creates.