Losing the baby teeth is a natural part of childhood, as you must shed the baby teeth to make way for permanent, adult teeth. However, you never want the baby teeth to fall out too early, nor do you want your permanent teeth to become loose or wiggly. Here are a few tips to know when wiggly teeth are normal, how to help them come out and what to do if your adult/teen teeth are loose!
Wiggly Teeth: Good or Bad?
You get two sets of teeth during your lifetime: the baby teeth and your permanent teeth. Infants are not initially born with teeth in the mouth. However, the baby teeth common start to come in between 4 months and a year. Some children won’t get their baby teeth until age 3, although this is rare. Because of the size of an infant’s mouth, they will only have 20 total teeth compared to an adult’s 32 teeth. To get to the 32 adult teeth, the baby teeth must start to fall out. This commonly starts to happen between ages 5 and 8 depending on a child’s development. It can take all the way up to age 12 or 13 for all the baby teeth to fall out.
These are ages you want to look for if you are trying to decide if your child’s wiggly teeth is something normal or not. An infant should never have loose teeth, nor should a young toddler. If your child is already starting to get loose teeth and it’s too soon, make sure you take them to a dentist that works in pediatric dentistry or family dentistry. Losing the baby teeth too early can shift where the permanent teeth come into the mouth or they can come in too soon before there is room.
If you’re brushing your infant and toddler’s teeth every single day, it’s a great time to examine their teeth for wiggly teeth, cavities or anything abnormal. As soon as the first infant tooth comes into the mouth, proper oral hygiene practices should start to prevent tooth decay that can lead to wiggly teeth too early. If you’re child reaches that 5-8 year-old range and start to get wiggly teeth, it’s something to be excited about, as they are getting ready for their permanent set of teeth.
Do You Pull Your Child’s Wiggly Teeth?
Generally, the teeth fall out in the order that they came in. This will be the front teeth first heading towards the back of the mouth. If a molar or tooth that isn’t a front tooth starts to get loose or wiggly first, check with your dentist to see if the tooth is actually ready to come out. Here are a few things to know about your child’s wiggly teeth and if you should pull the tooth or wait:
- If a tooth suddenly becomes loose, make sure it wasn’t from a fall or getting hit. Wiggly teeth not ready to fall out yet can potentially cause infection. Schedule a dental appointment.
- When a tooth is barely loose, leave it be. If it’s a permanent tooth coming into the mouth, it will slowly push the baby tooth to become looser.
- When wiggly teeth are moving a ton and getting ready to fall out, a child can gently start to wiggle the tooth on their own. That wiggling may go on for days or weeks, but is the best way to help wiggly teeth fall out. Pulling them out forcefully or too soon can cause lots of bleeding or can pull some of the gum tissue with the tooth.
- Don’t pull a tooth out yet when half or more is still attached at the gums.
- If you help pull your child’s wiggly teeth, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly to avoid transferring bacteria to the mouth to prevent infection.
- Once a tooth does come out, make sure your child swishes warm salt water to help heal the area. This will also help all tooth fragments to come out.
Loose Adult Teeth: What to Do
The American College of Prosthodontists reports that more than 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth. More than 36 million are missing all of their teeth. That’s just in the United States! Loose teeth is common in the adult years after age 65 or if you consistently have oral health issues like gum disease or tooth decay. However, did you know that getting older doesn’t mean you actually have to lose your teeth?
Proper oral hygiene can help you have your teeth for a lifetime instead of needing dentures. Many people don’t realize this and think it’s simply a part of life. Loose teeth or teeth that are falling out—especially in early adulthood—is something you should definitely be concerned about. The adult teeth should never be loose, nor should they fall out. These are signs of dental injuries or oral health diseases that are not getting enough oral care.
If you have wiggly teeth as an adult, or you have a tooth or two that seems a bit more loose than it used to be, schedule your dental exam right away. You never want to lose a tooth when it’s not necessary. If the issue is gum disease, you want to get it under control, as this condition leads to rapid tooth loss all over. If you’ve sustained a dental injury or hit a tooth that now seems loose, make sure to schedule an appointment as well. Quick intervention can save a tooth, while waiting too long may mean tooth loss. If you have questions about wiggly teeth in your child or your own wiggly teeth, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies office today at (970) 223-6101!
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