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Major Childhood Dental Milestones

Happy kid holding with watermelon
From the day you give birth, you look forward to — and sometimes worry about — your child's milestones. Along with when your little one will talk, walk, and start reading come plenty of other life events — such as dental development.

Understanding how your child's mouth and teeth grow can help you know what to expect and when. It can also make it easier for you to talk to your child's dentist when you have a question or a concern. What do you need to know about your child's dental development? Take a look at some of the major milestones in your child's dental life.

First Tooth

As your baby reaches the half-year mark, you may start to notice teething symptoms. These typically include excessive drooling, crying, irritability, or rejection of food. While your child's first tooth may break through when they are around 6 months old, some infants won't get their first tooth until they reach 1 year.

The first teeth that your baby is likely to get are their central incisors. These erupt anytime between 6 and 12 months. The lateral incisors and first molars will follow soon after. When you see your child's first teeth, call the dentist. The dentist may want to check your child's mouth to make sure that the teeth are coming in correctly.

Along with a checkup, the dentist can advise you on how to clean your baby's mouth and what products are the best options for your child.

Baby Teeth Falling Out

While the day when you notice your child's first tooth has broken through is exciting for you, your little one likely doesn’t care. But the loss of their first tooth is a major milestone that they may remember for a lifetime. This is the time when the Tooth Fairy first flutters in and leaves a special something under their pillow. It's also a time when your little kid may suddenly start feeling like an older child.

Again, the central incisors are typically the first teeth to meet this milestone. When your child is between the ages of 6 and 7 years old, these teeth will gradually loosen and fall out. For most children, this is generally followed by the loss of the lateral incisors and the first molars.

First Orthodontic Visit

As your child starts losing their baby teeth, their new (permanent) teeth will fill in the empty spaces. When this happens, your child may need help from a specialist to assess whether their bite is right.

What is the best age to see an orthodontist? The answer to this question varies, depending on when your child loses their primary teeth and gets their permanent ones. In general, most children should see an orthodontist at age 7, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.

This doesn't mean that your child will need braces at age 7. Instead, this visit can help guide any future orthodontic interventions. Along with visiting the orthodontist, your child's dentist can regularly check for growth and development issues that could potentially affect their bite and smile.

Last Orthodontic Visit

Your child's orthodontic treatment may continue for several years, spanning the tween and teen time periods. Even though orthodontic advances have led to the development of clear aligners that make clunky, chunky metal brackets and wires a thing of the past, the end of treatment marks a special time in your child's life.

Your child may finally feel confident in their smile — without their braces or aligners. This is a major step towards young adulthood and something that the whole family can celebrate.

Does your child need a dental checkup? Whether they're just getting their first tooth or they're in the midst of another dental milestone, a dentist can help keep your child's mouth healthy. Contact Gregg Dentistry for more information.