Losing the first baby tooth is a milestone moment in any child’s life. They may have been eagerly awaiting the tooth fairy’s appearance for years, or they may not have been expecting their tooth to fall out at all. The 20 baby teeth are much smaller in size in both the teeth and roots so they can make way for much larger, stronger adult teeth that should last the rest of your life. Luckily, the tooth fairy’s expense is spread out over several years.
When Do Baby Teeth Fall Out?
Most children will lose their first tooth around the age of six or seven. Some kids are younger and some older. Baby teeth generally fall out in roughly the same order that they arrived.
The bottom front two teeth (central incisor) are usually the first to arrive between the age of 6-10 months. Unless there is an injury, most children will lose their bottom central incisors first at ages 6-7. The top two baby teeth (also central incisor) erupt between the ages of 8-12 months and also start to fall out around ages 6-7.
The top two teeth surrounding the front teeth are known as the lateral incisors. They erupt at 9-13 months and fall out when you’re 7-8 years old. The same teeth on the bottom erupt at 10-16 months and fall out around the same time between ages 7-8 years.
Around a baby's first birthday, they are beginning to eat harder foods and need bigger teeth for chewing. The upper first molars usually appear when they’re around 13-19 months and fall out around ages 9-11, giving children their first look at a bigger tooth with cusps. The bottom first molars will arrive and fall out at roughly the same time.
Baby Canine Teeth
The upper canine (cuspid) teeth are next to fall out. They start to arrive around the ages of 16-22 months and are ready to fall out by ages 10-12. The bottom canines will then come up at 17-23 months and start to fall out between the ages of 9-12.
The second molars usually arrive around the time of a toddler’s second birthday. They can expect to lose their second molars between the ages of 10-12.
By the age of 12, most children would have lost their baby teeth and most of their adult teeth should have erupted (except wisdom teeth).
Should I be worried if my child’s baby teeth aren’t falling out?
While there are average ages for baby teeth to fall out and adult teeth to come through, some people fall outside the average range. If your baby was late getting their first tooth, chances are they will be late to lose them too. Other children will lose their baby teeth and have their adult teeth come in early. Everyone is different and there is usually nothing to worry about. But if you have any concerns, see your dentist.
Very late loss of baby teeth or differences in loss of left-sided and similar right-sided teeth by greater than 6 months may be a sign of things going wrong. Many of these issues are related to family genetics so please do not ignore a family history of teeth growing in the wrong place, late loss of teeth or missing permanent teeth.
The dentist will be able to check if any teeth are loose and an x-ray can tell if there are adult teeth in the gums and whether they are in a relatively normal place.
What pain relief is best for my child when they lose their baby teeth or have adult teeth coming through?
The good news is most children don’t need pain relief when their baby teeth fall out. Occasionally, a sharp edge of the tooth may rub or cut the gum so over-the-counter children’s Panadol may be needed. Luckily, adult teeth coming is usually much easier for school-aged children compared to babies cutting their first teeth. Often children and their parents don’t realise they have new teeth until they visit the dentist.
When should I take my child to see an orthodontist?
Parents often assume that they need to wait until their child has all their adult teeth before seeing an orthodontist. However, this can be a little late as they may have missed the opportunity of first-stage treatment. These treatment options are particularly beneficial when adult teeth are coming in and the mouth is crowded.
The best time to see an orthodontist is between the ages of 8-10, so if your child is between these ages, speak to your dentist about a referral for an orthodontist.
Also, finding out early if your child needs orthodontic treatment in future can help parents plan. You may decide you’d like to claim treatment on your health coverage but need to increase your policy level and serve a 12-month waiting period. Plenty of parents prefer to not worry about claiming a health cover rebate and instead budget for the future expense. Either way, you don’t need to pay the full amount up-front, as we have payment plans to smooth the cost of treatment.
If you'd like to discuss your child’s teeth to find out how likely it is that they will need orthodontic treatment, don't hesitate to speak with one of our specialists by calling your nearest clinic or contacting us online.