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Dental and Oral Health (Children)

11 1/2-year-old behind in losing baby teeth?

03/26/2009

Question:

I recently called to schedule my 11 year old son’s dental checkup and was told that since he should have lost most of his baby teeth, he may not need the pediatric dentist much longer. I was taken aback because this was the first time I ever had the thought put into my head that something might be wrong.

My son has only lost his 4 upper front teeth and 4 lower front teeth. None are loose and no adult teeth are coming in anywhere. Two years ago he had a panoramic x-ray and the adult teeth were in there and appeared to be developing normally but for some reason, they do not seem to be coming down?

I asked my son about other children in his class after talking with the dental receptionist on the phone and he said that most of the kids in his class have lost 15-18 teeth! He said he gets embarrassed when the other kids ask him how many he has lost. Is it normal to have lost so few teeth at this age and not have any teeth loose or adult teeth trying to make their appearance? Thank you for your time!

Answer:

Thank you for the question. There is a tremendous range in when children lose teeth/get teeth, etc. A child may lose a tooth, but the permanent typically won't erupt until there is enough root formation (usually about two-thirds).

As to the first statement in your question: let me assure you that your son should continue to see a dentist with training in seeing children while he is this 'mixed' or 'transitional' dentition.

Some kids do not lose their last baby tooth until well into their early teenage years. It's always difficult when children compare themselves to other children, but assure your son that his grown up teeth are there and developing.

A dentist with training in treating children in the mixed dentition can also keep track of the development of the grown up teeth to ensure they are developing normally. I hope this helps.

For more information:

Go to the Dental and Oral Health (Children) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Sarath  Thikkurissy, DDS, MS Sarath Thikkurissy, DDS, MS
Associate Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University