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Do teeth naturally wiggle?

Having wiggly teeth is a natural part of growing up for most children. As adult teeth develop underneath baby teeth, the roots of the baby teeth start to dissolve, causing them to become loose. This is a normal process that allows the baby teeth to eventually fall out and make room for the permanent teeth.

When do teeth start to wiggle naturally?

Teeth typically start to loosen and wiggle between ages 6 and 12. The first teeth to become loose are usually the lower center incisors (the two bottom front teeth). After that, the upper incisors and other bottom teeth will start to loosen. The last baby teeth to fall out are typically the molars in the back of the mouth.

Here is a general timeline for when teeth may start to wiggle:

Age Loose Teeth
6-7 years Lower central incisors
7-8 years Upper central incisors
8-9 years Lateral incisors
9-10 years First molars
10-12 years Second molars

However, there is variability in when teeth loosen and fall out. Some children may start losing teeth a little earlier or later than this timeline.

What causes teeth to wiggle as they fall out?

Baby teeth become loose and wiggly due to the normal development of permanent teeth underneath them. Here is how the process works:

  • The permanent teeth begin to develop under the gums while the baby teeth are still in place.
  • As the permanent teeth get larger, they put pressure on the roots of the baby teeth.
  • This pressure causes the roots of the baby teeth to slowly dissolve and get absorbed back into the body.
  • As the roots dissolve, the baby teeth lose their firm attachment to the jawbone and become loose and wiggly.
  • Eventually, with enough wiggling and pressure from the permanent tooth, the baby tooth will fall out completely.

This cycle allows the permanent teeth to take the place of the baby teeth in an orderly way. So those wiggly teeth are a sign that your child’s permanent teeth are developing properly!

Is it normal for some teeth to not wiggle much before falling out?

In most cases, yes. While wiggling and loosening of the teeth is normal as they get ready to fall out, some teeth may seem to come out more suddenly with little wiggling beforehand. This can happen for a few reasons:

  • The incoming permanent tooth may be positioned in a way that puts direct vertical pressure on the baby tooth, causing it to loosen and come out quickly.
  • For some teeth, less natural root resorption occurs so the baby tooth stays firmly in place longer before becoming loose.
  • Trauma to the baby tooth, such as a hit or fall, may abruptly loosen it.

So if a tooth seems to come out suddenly without much wiggling first, there is likely a reason for it. As long as the permanent tooth then moves into position properly, the lack of wiggling is not usually a concern.

When should I be concerned about loose teeth?

While wiggly teeth are normal, there are a few circumstances when you may want to get a dentist’s opinion:

  • Very early loosening: If teeth become very loose before age 5, it could signal a dental issue.
  • Only one loose tooth: If just one tooth is loose significantly before others, it may need to be watched closely.
  • Looseness along with swelling/pain: Significant pain or swelling around a loose tooth is not normal and may indicate an infection.
  • No permanent tooth underneath: If a baby tooth is loose for a prolonged time but no permanent tooth is erupting, there could be a missing or impacted tooth.
  • Loose permanent tooth: A wiggly permanent tooth (not a baby tooth) is always abnormal and requires dental evaluation.

In any of these situations, it’s a good idea to get a dentist’s assessment just to ensure everything looks normal. Early intervention can prevent complications.

Can teeth be wiggled or pulled out too early?

It is best not to intentionally pull out baby teeth too early. Here are some potential issues with removing baby teeth prematurely:

  • It can damage developing permanent teeth that may not be ready to erupt.
  • It can cause misalignment of other teeth that drift into the empty space.
  • Important dental development related to the baby tooth may not be complete.
  • It can negatively impact chewing, speech development, and jaw alignment.

So while those wiggly teeth may be annoying, try to avoid pulling or wiggling them yourself. Let the natural growth process play out, and save your wiggling for loose teeth that are ready to come out on their own.

When should lost baby teeth be replaced?

When a baby tooth falls out or is pulled because it is loose, there are a few options for replacement:

  • Let the permanent tooth erupt on its own: If the permanent tooth is already positioned to come in, you can simply leave the space and allow the permanent tooth to erupt on its own timeline.
  • Dental spacer: A spacer device can be placed to hold the empty space for the permanent tooth and prevent other teeth from shifting position.
  • Partial denture: A removable partial denture can fill the gap left by the missing tooth.
  • Dental implant: For missing primary molars, a pediatric dental implant may be an option to replace the tooth.

Your dentist will advise you on the best option depending on your child’s mouth and dental development. Leaving the space open is often adequate to allow the permanent tooth to erupt.

How can I help loose teeth fall out more easily?

Here are some tips to help loose teeth come out more easily when ready:

  • Wiggle the tooth gently yourself each day.
  • Encourage your child to use their tongue to gently loosen the tooth.
  • Serve soft foods that put less pressure on the loose tooth.
  • Avoid sticky, hard foods that could pull out the tooth prematurely.
  • Rinse the area with warm salt water to reduce bacteria and inflammation.
  • Use a damp washcloth to soak and massage the gums around the loose tooth.

Ultimately, avoid forcibly pulling the tooth yourself and let it come out when the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. But these steps can help the process along safely.


Wiggling, loose teeth are a rite of passage for kids and a sign that the permanent teeth are developing properly. While the sensation can be annoying, try to let the natural eruption process take place on its own timeline. Intervene too early or forcefully, and you risk damaging the emerging permanent teeth. With the right patience and care, those wigglers will give way to beautiful full grown teeth!