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Baby teeth maintain the spacing for permanent teeth, increasing the likelihood that permanent teeth will come in straight. According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, most kids start losing, or shedding, their teeth around the age of 6. Wiggly teeth can appear at an even earlier age, especially if your child cut her teeth early. Children generally lose their baby teeth between the ages of 6 and 12 years old.

If your child loses a tooth prematuraly they should be reviewed by a family dentist immediately. The tooth should be placed in a moist solution like milk while en route to the dentist.

If your child is active and suffers a traumatic blow that causes a tooth to come loose follow these steps:

  • Remain calm and assess the injury
  • Control the bleeding
  • Determine if the injury needs more urgent medical attention than just a tooth loss
  • Call your family dentist office as soon as possible and ask to advise you on getting the patient and the tooth to them. They may recommend storing the tooth in water, milk or the child’s saliva.

Accidents do happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. The same advice holds true for adults. One way to reduce the chances of damage to your teeth, lips, cheek and tongue is to wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities that may pose a risk. Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth. Cut tape using scissors rather than your teeth.

Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients. Call your dentist and provide as much detail as possible about your condition. Remember, pain is a signal that something is wrong—a problem that will not disappear even if the pain subsides.