Ages 9 – 12

By age 10 most children will have their permanent front teeth and will start to lose their baby canines and molars. Don’t be alarmed if your child starts to lose a lot of  teeth all at once! They will lose about 12 teeth between age 9 and 12. Not only will they grow 12 replacement teeth for those being shed, but a second set of molars also grows in further back in the mouth, behind the first permanent molars. These are known as the 12 year molars because most children will grow them by their 12th birthday.

By this age a child should have the dexterity to brush and floss on their own. It is pretty common for kids this age to brush super quickly which affects the quality of the brushing being done. It is a good idea for you to check on them from time to time and watch them brush, to make sure they are spending enough time and brushing ALL the surfaces of ALL the teeth. It is important to brush teeth for 2 minutes 2 times per day. Skipping brushing before bed can have very bad outcomes with cavities and gum disease developing quickly, especially if your child likes a sweet snack or drink later in the evening before bed.

Braces are an expensive investment and we understand that most families need to have time to be able to plan for this. Be sure to ask your pediatric dentist if your child is a candidate for braces, and when they would be ready to start the process.

Grinding of teeth is called bruxism. The good news is most children outgrow bruxism.  The grinding decreases between the ages 6-9 and children tend to stop grinding between ages 9-12 once they lose all of their baby teeth. During your child’s regular check-ups, our Dental Team carefully examine the teeth to detect signs of wear that may be caused by bruxism. In the rare circumstances that the habit persists into their teen years or if excessive wear of the teeth is present, a custom guard which is similar to a mouth guard may be recommended. 

Mouthguards are a great and relatively inexpensive tool to prevent dental injuries during sports activities. The rubbery mouthguard material protects the teeth during high impact blows to the mouth and face. Sports injuries may cause teeth to break, be displaced from their normal position, or even to be completely knocked out of the mouth. All dental injuries to the permanent adult teeth have serious life-long consequences, because unlike bones, teeth cannot heal themselves or re-grow after they have been injured. The cost of treating injured teeth over a lifetime is estimated at $10,000-20,000.

Over-the-counter mouth guards work well if you are able to mold them to fit your child’s mouth comfortably. Custom fitting mouthguards which are less bulky and fit more comfortably than the over-the-counter models can be made by your pediatric dental team. As your child’s mouth changes and they grow new teeth, you will need to update the fitting of the mouthguard to be sure that it is still effective. Never put any sweetener or citrus flavoring in your mouthguard as it can cause severe damage to your teeth, and remember to brush and clean your teeth and mouth guard after you have worn it!

Be sure to ask us about mouth guards at your next dental check up!

X-ray images are a necessary part of the health assessment of the teeth and jaws. When your child’s mouth is examined by the Dental Team, only the outer surfaces of the teeth are evaluated, and we cannot see into the jaws! Unfortunately, tooth decay, crooked teeth and pathology usually start beneath the surface of the teeth or in the jaw bone. Our Team is expertly trained in the use of digital X-ray imaging which enhances our understanding of your child’s developing mouth. This in turn helps us to guide you towards a healthy smile for your child. At Small To Tall Dentistry, we follow the X-ray guidelines set out by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. These guidelines provide maximum safety to our patients from radiation while also providing valuable information about the health of the teeth and jaws. We use modern digital X-ray equipment and scanners to maximize the quality of the images, along with protective lead aprons with thyroid collars to minimizing the exposure of your child’s growing body to radiation. With your permission, we will share your child’s  X-ray images with other dental providers in order to limit their repeated exposure to radiation.

It is a fact that the risk of undiagnosed and untreated dental problems is far greater than the risk posed by dental X-rays. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions regarding the recommendations for X-ray images in our office.

We are proud to say that our parents are the best informed parents out there!  Children often have many dental topics unique to their specific age group.  Have questions or wanted to know something more about a certain topic?  Click below to find a ton of useful dental information for your child’s age.