Parenting

Loose teeth — too soon?

Tracy's four-year-old is already losing her baby teeth. Is something wrong?

Two of these little teeth will soon be under Avery’s pillow.

We took the girls to the dentist shortly before the holidays. Anna is an old pro at this — she gets excited to go, sits uncharacteristically still while having her cleaning, then squeals with joy at the chance to choose a toy and a new toothbrush. This was Avery’s first official visit. She had an “orientation” visit last year, which is supposed to involve a fun ride in the chair and a hygienist counting her teeth (or whatever else she can manage), but Avery was apprehensive. She insisted that I lie in the chair underneath her, which I did, and would only cooperate for a few minutes.

This visit was a family affair, with Anna, Sean and Avery having sequential appointments at eight, eight-thirty and nine in the morning. (I am not involved in the family visit; I have dentist phobia and don’t want the girls to witness the sweaty, white-knuckle affair that is my cleaning.)

I wanted to support Avery in her first official visit, but since this isn’t my thing, I kissed her goodbye, wished her luck, and drove Anna to school before heading to work. I was pleasantly surprised to get an email from Sean later that morning letting me know that Avery had done a great job and let the hygienist do a full cleaning. And she got to choose two toothbrushes. What a coup.

A couple of days later, Sean dropped this little tidbit: The hygienist had told him that Avery’s bottom two teeth were wiggly. What?

Anna also started losing her baby teeth early, but was much closer to five (Avery just turned four in September) and she lost her first tooth the month after her fifth birthday. People were so shocked by this — some kids in Anna’s first grade class are just getting their first wiggly teeth, while Anna’s lost eight (six by the time she turned six).

So I asked Avery if she had a wiggly tooth and she laughed and said, “No, I’m only four!” But when we checked it out, there it was. She hadn’t even noticed. Sean told me the dentist wasn’t concerned at all, but of course, I had to consult Dr. Google to see for myself. I vividly recall a woman in the grocery store telling me that Anna lost her teeth early because she didn’t get enough calcium. My response was that she actually lost her teeth because the other ones were right there pushing them out (and zip it, lady!). But now I was second-guessing myself.

Google brought up many, many “My four-year-old has a wiggly tooth!” concerns from other semi-hysterical moms, and enough information to reassure me that it was fine, as long as it was one of the front bottom teeth, and not a back tooth, which could signal tooth decay. I also read that it’s more common if children get their teeth early to lose them early. This would hold true for Avery, who cut her first tooth at four months, but not for Anna, who got her first at eight months.

Avery couldn’t be prouder. She tells everyone with a big, giddy grin on her face and already dreams of what the Tooth Fairy will bring. Within a couple of days of the big discovery, she told me the one beside the first wiggly tooth was wiggly too.

I have to admit, it’s making me a bit emotional. I know — a tooth! She has the cutest little chicklets in there and the sweetest smile and I don’t want her to have those big honking teeth yet. Not just yet. Adult teeth change the whole look of your child, and I’m not ready for Avery to be growing up like this, no matter how excited she is about the whole thing. She’s my baby, you know?

When did your kids lose their teeth?