Because children's first teeth are only ever meant to be temporary, it's inevitable that they'll go through the process of losing them eventually. The normal loosening and loss of infant teeth normally starts around the age of six, but it sometimes varies by a little bit. Once the baby teeth are gone, adult teeth grow through pretty quickly, leaving the mouth in a good state and putting the child on track to grow up with great dental health.
Sometimes, however, an accident or some other occurrence may mean that infant teeth are lost before they're ready. When the adult teeth haven't started growing through, this can cause problems and so should not be ignored. Here's what you should know if your child loses a tooth prematurely.
The age of normal tooth loss can vary
It can seem like cause for concern when a child loses a tooth earlier than you expect, but it might be normal. In some cases, children's adult teeth start to grow through when they're as young as four – and, in fact, as old as 8. If there hasn't been any sort of accident that may have caused a tooth to be knocked out, there's a good chance it isn't an emergency. That said, you should still take your child to a dentist when they start losing baby teeth, especially if it seems early.
Treat it like a lost adult tooth
The tooth may be able to be replaced if you treat it carefully in the event it's knocked out. It's important to stop it from drying out, as this will make it much more difficult to put back, so keep it moist in some milk. Avoid touching the root part of the tooth, and if there's any dirt on it, rinse it off using milk.
You may be able to put it back and hold it in place yourself until you can get to the dentist, but keep the child calm as well.
Get to a dentist as soon as possible
If a tooth is knocked out, there could be further injury to the mouth, or part of the tooth may remain. There's also the chance to put the tooth back if it's not been too long and the tooth has been handled correctly.
In the event the tooth is lost permanently, you shouldn't assume it doesn't matter just because an adult tooth will eventually grow through. If a gap is left, it can cause problems with spacing, so a dentist might choose to fit an artificial spacer in the child's mouth to make sure new teeth can emerge successfully.