Changing teeth in children: everything you need to know

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The change of teeth in children is a natural process that adults must follow. What should you keep in mind? Here we detail it.

The moment of tooth change in children is a significant event for both the little one and their parents. The visit of the tooth fairy or the mouse Pérez mobilizes the whole family. Without a doubt, this childhood milestone is a demonstration of the child’s growth.

Now, being prepared and knowing what to do when the pieces of milk begin to loosen helps to accompany this important process. Therefore, below we will tell you how and when the temporary parts are replaced by the definitive ones and what precautions to consider.

The dental replacement process

It is around 6 years when the stage of tooth change in children begins, known as “dental replacement.” This process consists of the fall of the temporary pieces to be replaced by their definitive substitutes. It occurs gradually and ends with the replacement of the 20 deciduous pieces, around 12 years.

It is an event of the utmost importance in the development of the child who is growing to become an adult. This is because the pieces of milk would be too small and weak to fulfill the oral functions of a large person.

The definitive elements are those that begin tooth replacement when they are ready to erupt. They do so through specialized cells that reabsorb the roots of the temporary teeth into the bone.

As the root that held them fixed in the maxilla loses, the milk pieces begin to move. There comes a time when the bra is null and the loose tooth falls out. Once the temporary piece is lost, the permanent begins to poke into the empty space to take its place.

This situation occurs progressively, until you manage to locate yourself in the correct place. Permanent teeth are characterized by being larger than milk teeth . For this reason,  the spaces between teeth, typical of temporary teeth, gradually disappear.

In addition, during the replacement period, it is common for some final parts to come out crooked. In general, as the other elements fall out and the jaw grows, they manage to align themselves. However, it is always a good idea to have a pediatric dentist supervise the process.

It is important to ensure dental care for children during their dental parts replacement process.

At what age and in what order does tooth change occur in children?

Each child has their own rate of growth and development, and this includes the appearance and loss of teeth. Baby teeth often start to loosen and fall out around the age of 6. But as we said, there are little ones who start their replacement earlier and others much later.

The process of loose teeth that fall out and their replacement with a permanent piece will happen little by little. It is estimated that around the age of 12, the youngest will have changed his 20 baby teeth.

Likewise, at that age the first and second permanent molars will have erupted in the back of the mouth. This happens without any pieces of milk being dropped to replace.

Still, the age at which teeth are changed varies between children and is influenced by different factors . Thus, there is an estimated age at which parents can expect replacement to occur. Below, more details regarding this process.

Central incisors: the first teeth to emerge

It is quite common for the central incisors to be the first dental elements to be changed. Most people lose temporary items in the same order they came out. As the lower central incisors are usually the first teeth to erupt, around 6 months of the baby, they are also the ones that fall out before.

The final tooth will begin to emerge on the inside of the gum, behind the baby teeth that have not yet fallen out. This happens around 6 or 7 years of the child. Later, it is common for the upper central incisors to loosen and come out.

The eruption of the definitive ones happens in front of the gum, which gives rise to the large upper central incisors that will accompany the person into adulthood.

Lateral incisors: those that follow

Once the central incisors have come in, the lateral ones will be the next to be changed. In general, it is the upper ones that loosen first and then the lower ones. The change of these teeth usually happens between 7 and 8 years. With this, the eight previous elements of the mouth will have already been changed.

Temporary first molars

The first temporary molars fall out around the age of 9 and 11. Milk molars have the peculiarity of being replaced by a definitive tooth that is different from the one that comes out.

This is because the site left by the temporary teeth will be occupied by the final premolars. Thus, the first temporary molar is replaced by the first premolar.

Temporary second molars and canines: the last to fall out

The last change of teeth in children corresponds to the canines and second temporary molars. The fangs fall off between the ages of 9 and 12, and are replaced by the permanent namesakes.

Between the ages of 10 and 12, the second molars fall out and are replaced by the second premolars. In general, these are the last items to come out and the ones that complete the entire replacement process.

The definitive grinding wheels

Permanent molars appear spontaneously in the posterior portion of the mouth, without replacing any baby teeth that fall out. They occupy a free space behind the second temporary molars.

The eruption of permanent teeth occurs at 6 years for the first permanent molar, at 12 for the second and between 18 and 20 for the third. The lower ones usually appear first and then the higher ones.

As the child grows, the jaws widen to allow the definitive pieces, larger than those made of milk, to be positioned correctly. By around 13 years of age, most infants have their 28 definitive elements in their mouths.

The 32 pieces of the adult denture are completed by the eruption of the wisdom teeth, which happens around the age of 18. In any case, wisdom teeth do not come out for everyone.

Find out what happens in your mouth when wisdom teeth come out?

How to avoid inconveniences during the change of teeth in children?

The best strategy to avoid inconveniences during tooth changes in children is to allow the process to develop naturally. This means not forcing or pulling teeth.

Sometimes it can take a long time from the moment the tooth begins to move until it comes out. It is necessary to be patient and not try to accelerate the process by exerting force or pressure.

Sudden movements or homemade methods to try to remove the milk pieces are not a good idea, as they  can damage the oral tissues, scare the child and damage the final piece.

The piece is very loose and ready to come off when the little one does not feel any pain when moving it and it bothers him to speak and eat. At that time, you have to motivate the child to remove it himself or help him remove it. Ideally, do the following:

  • Grab the loose tooth with a clean gauze or paper napkin and make a quick motion.
  • It should always be verified that the process does not cause pain in the little one; If so, it is because it is not yet time.
  • Once the tooth comes out, ask the children to rinse their mouths with water to clean the gums. They can also chew on a piece of gauze.
  • In order to prevent further bleeding, minors should be prevented from re-rinsing and spitting.
  • For a few minutes it is advised that the child remain calm, without running, and not eat or drink anything. Most of the time, the bleeding is temporary and stops after a while.
  • To care for the final piece that is going to erupt, the child should be warned not to touch the empty site. It is also important that you do not put objects in your mouth.

The child’s feelings

For some children, the loss of a tooth is cause for excitement and joy, especially if they have the idea that the tooth fairy or the mouse Perez is going to visit.

However, others may experience heartbreak from losing that part of their body. If so, you must accompany him with respect, affection and explaining the situation. 

There are those who also experience pain or discomfort the moment their tooth comes out. In these cases, the ideal is to sit or lay them down to calm down, as it is usually something temporary.

When is it necessary to see a professional?

In general, the dental replacement process should be followed and supervised by a pediatric dentist. The professional can analyze the growth of the jaws and detect any problems early.

Of course, this does not mean that you have to take your child to the dentist every time a tooth becomes loose. Carrying out check-ups every six months from the baby’s first year of life is the most advisable thing to do.

With these six-monthly visits, the dentist will be able to observe and analyze the development of the structures of the mouth. In turn, you will be able to detect any abnormalities to treat them in a timely manner. Among other things, it will guide parents in caring for their little one’s mouth.

If there is any doubt or problem between scheduled visits, it is always a good idea to seek professional help. These are some of the reasons to consult a pediatric dentist:

  • Delay in dental replacement:although each child follows their own pace of dental replacement, the lack of loose teeth may generate doubts that should be clarified with a professional.
  • The permanent teeth came out crooked:the final teeth erupt where they can and, as the child grows, they tend to settle in. Despite this, an evaluation by the dentist is recommended.
  • There is a double row of teeth:permanent teeth sometimes fail to reabsorb the roots of the temporary ones and erupt without them coming out. This results in a double row of teeth that the dentist must evaluate. If necessary, he will have to express the piece of milk.
  • Teeth come out early:a blow or very advanced cavities can cause premature loss of milk pieces. In these cases, the dentist must intervene to save space for the permanent teeth and prevent malocclusions.

For prevention, it is important to request periodic visits with the pediatric dentist. Thus, it is possible to intervene if there is any dental alteration.

Caring for your new teeth

It is important to take advantage of the stage of tooth change in children to teach them about the care necessary to keep these elements healthy throughout life. Habits that are incorporated during childhood can make the difference between having a healthy adult mouth or full of fillings.

Although children no longer need as much help to brush their teeth, it is good that adults continue to supervise the moment of dental hygiene. Make sure of the following:

  • That they use an adequate amount of toothpaste.
  • That the technique is correct.
  • Adequate cleaning of all tooth surfaces.
  • Don’t skip any brushing.

Another aspect to consider is teaching and assisting in flossing . The permanent pieces are usually closer to each other, so cleaning the tooth and tooth environment is essential to maintain health.

Other important recommendations

  • Use fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouthwashes to prevent oral diseases.
  • Make semiannual visits to the dentist, especially at the time of dental replacement. The professional can evaluate the growth of the jaws and the eruption of the teethto detect any problems early.
  • If any pathology appears, timely treatment will avoid any complications. The dentist may suggest fluoridecleanings, sealants, or topications that help keep permanent teeth healthy and decay-free.
  • Eating a varied, balanced and nutritious diet also affects the state of the mouth. Ultra-processed foods rich in sugar should be avoided. 

Discover What are dental sealants and what are they for?

Teeth for life

The change of teeth in children begins around the age of 6. From that age the teeth begin to appear that will accompany him for the rest of his life. For this reason, accompanying the replacement process and contributing to oral care is an adult responsibility. Now you know how to do it.

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