The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic evaluation between the age of 7 and 8. This may seem early, but it allows orthodontists to identify and address potential orthodontic issues while a child's mouth and jaw are still growing.
Children typically begin to lose their baby teeth, also known as primary teeth or deciduous teeth, around the age of 6. This process continues through their early teenage years, and by the time they reach adolescence, most children will have lost all of their baby teeth and replaced them with permanent adult teeth. However, the exact timing can vary from child to child.
The order in which children lose their baby teeth can also differ, but generally the teeth fall out in the same order that they arrived:
- Lower central incisors (bottom front teeth) are usually the first to be lost, typically around 6 to 7 years of age.
- Upper central incisors (top front teeth) are next, often lost between 7 and 8 years of age.
- Lateral incisors (the teeth adjacent to the central incisors) follow, typically around 7 to 8 years old.
- First molars (the large back teeth) are usually lost between 9 and 11 years of age.
- Canine teeth (the pointed teeth next to the lateral incisors) are lost around 9 to 12 years of age.
- Second molars (the last set of molars in the back of the mouth) are the last to go, typically between 10 and 12 years old.
It's important to note that these ages are general guidelines, and there can be considerable variation among individual children. Some children may start losing teeth earlier or later than the average, and that's perfectly normal. Typically, by age 7 many of the permanent teeth have come in, and orthodontists can evaluate the alignment of the teeth and the relationship between the upper and lower jaws. Early intervention may be recommended if significant issues are identified, or the orthodontist may recommend periodic check-ups to monitor your child's growth and development, with treatment starting at a later age when it's most effective.
Not all children will need orthodontic treatment, and the decision to pursue it should be made in consultation with an orthodontist who can assess your child's specific situation with a physical exam and a full set of x-rays.
For more information about orthodontic services, or to speak with one of our board-certified specialists contact us online or call 302-678-3000.