What's the deal with this wiggling tooth?

The questions that we get most often from parents of infants and young children revolve around the state of their baby teeth and their changing dentition:

  • at what age are the baby teeth supposed to come in, which ones and in what sequence?
  • this tooth has been wiggling forever and why is is not coming out?
  • this baby tooth has been gone for a long time and why hasn't the permanent one come in?

The truth is, the sequence of eruption and exfoliation of baby and adult teeth are highly variable and not every child will follow the "textbook" sequence.  For reference, here is a chart of the average ages baby teeth will come in, become loose and exfoliate and when the permanent teeth will erupt.

Your child will most likely not follow this sequence to a "T" for the same reason they will not hit their other "milestones" on schedule.  Every child is unique.

Some common concerns for a lot of parents, which often prompt them to call the office are:

  • the permanent tooth has come in behind the baby one and the baby one is not moving at all.
  • the baby tooth has exfoliated for a long time and the succeeding permanent tooth still has not come in.

Baby teeth become loose when the developing permanent tooth under it begins to erupt and resorb the root of the baby tooth.  This process does not always occur in perfect harmony and sometimes the permanent tooth may not be in the correct position to resorb the root of the permanent tooth.  In this case, the baby tooth may not loosen and the permanent tooth may erupt behind (more common) or in front of the baby tooth.  Whether or not the baby tooth needs to be extracted depends on the age of the child, the relative position of the two teeth and whether the tooth (if loose) are interfering the child from eating and brushing properly.  In most cases, once the baby tooth is extracted and the space is freed up, the misplaced permanent tooth will drift into space naturally and the situation will correct itself over time.

In the case of the permanent tooth taking a long time to erupt after a baby tooth is lost, this can result from the baby tooth being lost prematurely; the permanent tooth being congenitally missing and other reasons.  If it has been many months that the space has been present, it may be prudent to bring your child in for an examination or possibly an x-ray to see why this is happening and if intervention is needed.

Feel free to call or email us @ info@centrodentalcare.com if you have any questions or concerns.  We would love to hear from you!


What exactly is tooth decay (cavity), anyway?

Tooth decay starts when the normal bacteria in your mouth combine with food and saliva to form a sticky substance called plaque that attaches to teeth.  When you consume sugary food or drinks, the bacteria in the dental plaque mix with the sugars to make a mild acid.  This acid attacks the hard outer layer of the tooth, called the enamel.  If the dental plaque is not removed everyday by brushing and flossing, over time, the enamel gets soft and a cavity forms.

Stage 1
The dull spot on the tooth's surface may be decay. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing may prevent it from becoming a cavity.

Stage 2
The decay is now a cavity. It has gone through the tooth's hard surface layer (enamel).

Stage 3
Now that the cavity has reached the softer layer of the tooth (dentin), it will get bigger faster.

Stage 4
If the cavity is not filled, it can cause bigger problems deeper in the tooth. This is why it's important to see your dental team regularly.