Most children have a full set of 20 milk or baby teeth by the time they’re 3 years old. When they reach 5 or 6, these teeth will start to fall out, making way for adult teeth. The process can be confusing and scary for kids, especially when their newly wiggly tooth falls out before they’re ready
According to the American Dental Association, most children have a full set of 20 milk or baby teeth by the time they’re 3 years old. When they reach 5 or 6, these teeth will start to fall out, making way for adult teeth.
By the time your child reaches 5 or 6 years old, they’ll have a full set of 20 milk or baby teeth. This means it’s time for these teeth to start falling out to make room for the adult teeth.
All children have baby teeth—also called primary teeth, milk teeth or deciduous teeth. These teeth begin forming before birth. They usually start to appear in the mouth when the child is between 6 and 12 months old, with the two bottom middle teeth (the lower central incisors) usually coming first.
How many teeth do you lose? Most children have 20 baby teeth. Then their baby teeth fall out and they grow a whole new set of adult teeth.
Milk teeth only last for a few years. They need to be strong enough to last until permanent ones come through but not so strong that they never fall out! The first milk teeth to appear are usually the two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors), followed by the top front four teeth (upper central and lateral incisors).
Babies’ teeth begin to develop before they are born, but in most cases don’t come through until they’re between 6 and 12 months old.
Most children have a full set of 20 milk or baby teeth by the time they’re 3 years old. When they reach 5 or 6, these teeth will start to fall out, making way for adult teeth.
Each child will sprout and lose teeth on their own timeline. When new teeth appear, the official term is eruption. While most people think of them as baby teeth (also known as milk teeth or primary teeth), their formal name is deciduous teeth. In total, your child will have 20 baby teeth to chow down their snacks.
Your baby will begin to gain teeth around 6 months of age, and this will continue until around the age of 3. From the age of 6, your child will eventually lose all of their baby teeth by the time they’re 12 years old. By the time your child reaches their teenage years, they’ll have 32 permanent adult teeth.
|Tooth name and position||Eruption timeline||Loss timeline|
|Lower central incisors||6 to 10 months old||6 to 7 years old|
|Upper central incisors||8 to 12 months old||6 to 7 years old|
|Upper lateral incisors||9 to 13 months old||7 to 8 years old|
|Lower lateral incisors||10 to 16 months old||7 to 8 years old|
|Upper first molars||13 to 19 months old||9 to 11 years old|
|Lower first molars||14 to 18 months old||9 to 11 years old|
|Upper canines||16 to 22 months old||10 to 12 years old|
|Lower canines||17 to 23 months old||9 to 12 years old|
|Lower second molars||23 to 31 months old||10 to 12 years old|
|Upper second molars||25 to 33 months old||10 to 12 years old|
So why do baby teeth fall out, anyway? It turns out that those baby teeth act as placeholders, creating space in the jaw for future, permanent teeth.
For most children, their baby teeth begin to fall out around the age of 6. Of course, all of the teeth don’t fall out at one time!
When a permanent tooth is ready to erupt, the root of a baby tooth begins to dissolve until it’s completely gone. At that point, the tooth is “loose” and only held in place by the surrounding gum tissue.
You might be surprised to find that most people lose their baby teeth in the order that they erupted.
As such, since the lower central incisors are the first teeth to appear around 6 months of age, they’re also the first to come loose and make room for your child’s permanent teeth when they’re around 6 or 7 years old.
After the lower central incisors, the upper central incisors come out, making way for the bigger upper central incisors we all expect to see on adults.
For some children, losing teeth can be an exciting time, especially if you introduce fun concepts like the tooth fairy. For others, it can be a little upsetting, as something that they thought was permanent (their tooth) just came out of their mouth!
Likewise, it’s not uncommon for children to experience a little pain or discomfort when they lose a tooth. After the tooth is removed:
- Have your child rinse their mouth with a simple saltwater solution to help clean their gums.
- Use a bit of gauze to help cover the area, which is known as a socket, and encourage them not to spit, as this can cause bleeding.
- Apply a cold, wet cloth after any bleeding has stopped if there’s pain or discomfort.
After the central incisors have been shed, the next baby teeth to go will be your child’s lateral incisors. Generally, the upper lateral incisors loosen first. This will usually happen between the ages of 7 and 8.
At this point, your child should be more familiar with the experience of losing a tooth. Ideally, it should no longer be a scary experience, as they’ll have already lost four teeth prior to the lateral incisors.
Compared with when your child’s teeth first erupted, losing them can be a significantly easier process for parents. While teething may be uncomfortable in general, incoming molars might be especially painful for babies and toddlers.
In contrast, the primary molars (also known as first molars) usually aren’t painful when they fall out or are replaced by permanent molars. These primary first molars are usually shed between the ages of 9 and 11 years old.https://b2a1e115adcea55af2982fb7ac36effb.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
The last sets of baby teeth to go are the canines and primary second molars. The canines are usually lost between the ages of 9 and 12 years old, while the primary second molars are the last baby teeth that your child will lose. These final sets of teeth are usually shed between the ages of 10 and 12.
As your child grows, their jaws also grow to accommodate the larger permanent teeth. Once your child reaches the age of 13, they should have a full set of permanent teeth.
Once your child reaches their late teen years, their wisdom teeth (third molars) may come in. You might be surprised to learn that not everyone gets their wisdom teeth. Some only get a few instead of the full four wisdom teeth, and not everyone needs them removed.
These final sets of molars are called wisdom teeth because of the folklore belief that you only get these teeth once you’re more mature and have gained some knowledge due to having more life experiences.
The timeline shared here is just a general guideline. If your child’s teeth were slow to erupt, you should expect that losing their baby teeth might take a little longer, too.
However, if your child has missed their dental milestones by a year (whether eruption or shedding), speak with your child’s dentist.
Scheduling dental visits
Regardless of what is (or isn’t) happening in your child’s mouth, by their first birthday, you should schedule an appointment. After the first visit, your child should visit the dentist every 6 months.
The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if you don’t already have a pediatric dentist.
Not everyone introduces the tooth fairy to their child, but it is a way to make a major milestone fun. You may wonder how much the tooth fairy should leave. The answer is… it varies. Some parents prefer to keep expectations simple with a few quarters, while others give a few dollars.
In general, the tooth fairy tends to be most generous for the first tooth!
Children will lose their teeth and develop that jack-o’-lantern smile on their own timeline. The most important thing is that you teach your child how to maintain proper dental hygiene so that long after their baby teeth are gone and forgotten, their permanent teeth are in healthy shape.
How Many Baby Teeth Fall Out Chart
Teeth vary in size, shape and their location in the jaws. These differences enable teeth to work together to help you chew, speak and smile. They also help give your face its shape and form. At birth people usually have 20 baby (primary) teeth, which start to come in (erupt) at about 6 months of age. They fall out (shed) at various times throughout childhood. By age 21, all 32 of the permanent teeth have usually erupted.
Download the following eruption charts:
Baby Teeth Eruption Chart
Permanent Teeth Eruption Chart
By the age of 12 to 14, most children have lost all their baby teeth and have their adult teeth.
There are 32 adult teeth in total – 12 more than in the baby set. The last 4 of these, called wisdom teeth, usually emerge later than the others, generally between the ages of 17 and 21.
Wisdom teeth removal
Wisdom teeth that don’t come through properly, or at all, can be painful and may need to be removed.
Read more about wisdom tooth removal.
What are teeth made of?
The part of the tooth that you can see above the gum is called the crown. This is covered in hard, shiny enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body and protects the more sensitive inner parts of the tooth.
Underneath this is the dentine – a sensitive substance that makes up most of the tooth. Dentine is a hard substance, though not quite as hard as enamel.
Dentine protects the inner part of the tooth, called the pulp. The pulp is where each tooth’s blood supply and nerve endings are found. The blood supply is what keeps the teeth alive and healthy. The nerve endings send messages to the brain, such as whether you’re eating something hot or cold, or if you have a decayed or damaged tooth.
The pulp goes all the way into the root of the tooth, which is hidden under your gum. Cementum covers the root of the tooth, and periodontal fibres connect the tooth to the jawbone.
Types of teeth
There are 4 different types of teeth:
- Incisors – these are your 4 front teeth on the top and bottom jaw. They’re used for cutting and chopping food.
- Canine teeth – these are sharp, pointy teeth. You have 1 on each side of your incisors on your top and bottom jaw, making a total of 4. They help to tear food.
- Premolars – next to your canine teeth are your premolars (also called bicuspid teeth). You have 8 premolars in total: 4 on your top jaw and 4 on the bottom. They are bigger and wider than your incisors and canine teeth, and are used for crushing and grinding food.
- Molars – you have 12 molars: 6 on top and 6 on the bottom, which includes 4 wisdom teeth. These are your strongest teeth and work with your tongue to help you swallow food, mashing it up until it’s ready to be swallowed safely.