Many people do not realize the importance of primary teeth, which are often called baby teeth. Not only are these teeth important for eating, appearance, and speech, but primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into their correct positions. This occurs because the permanent teeth develop under the primary teeth. Your child’s first baby tooth will come in between six and twelve months of age. All 20 baby teeth will probably have grown in by the time he or she is three years old.
The baby teeth usually stay in place until they are pushed out by permanent teeth. Your child’s baby teeth may begin to loosen and fall out by about age six. A baby tooth may be lost early because of tooth decay or an accident. In the case of an early lost tooth, the surrounding teeth may drift into the vacated space. In addition, the teeth in the opposite jaw may move up or down to fill in the gap. This can cause the permanent teeth to come in crooked.
Your child may enjoy wiggling loose teeth. This is perfectly fine and encouraged. However, if a tooth is not ready to come out, do not force it. This can break the tooth root and may cause infection. Your child will likely be excited about losing teeth so that they can meet the tooth fairy. If you are lucky, they may even go to bed early for their first interaction with the tooth fairy.