146 – How Many Baby Teeth Will Fall Out

How Many Baby Teeth Will Fall Out?

With a new baby, there are so many questions, and particularly for first-time parents. With all the multiple developmental milestones and differing timelines, it is difficult to wrap your mind around all the ways in which your baby will be growing and changing during the initial months and years of their lives. While this article cannot answer all of your questions about your child’s development, it will tell you what to expect around the development and eventual shedding of your child’s baby teeth.

Development of Baby Teeth

In contrast to the 32 permanent teeth that are usually developed by the age of 12 or 13, there are a total of 20 temporary baby teeth that begin to erupt around 6 months of age, with the full set being present in the mouth by the age of three. These develop from the front center parts of the mouth and then begin to fill in from the front to the back. While they are referred to as baby or milk teeth, they are present in the mouth for some time; the first tooth isn’t lost until the age of six or seven.

Shedding of Baby Teeth

The process of shedding baby teeth takes place in roughly the same pattern in which they came in, beginning with the front middle teeth (called the upper and lower central incisors) and moving on down the line towards the back of the mouth. The front middle teeth are usually shed between the ages of 6 and 9, and the very back teeth – the first and second molars – between the ages of 12 and 13. The cuspids or canines, which are located between the incisors and the molars, usually being to take their exit around 10 or 12 years of age.

Between the ages of 6 and 13, all 20 baby teeth are eventually shed to make way for the eruption of one’s permanent teeth. In some cases, some teeth may remain in the mouth beyond what is expected; when this happens, one’s dentist may recommend removal. It could be that an impacted permanent tooth is not coming up and pushing the baby tooth out of place, which could require some intervention.

Managing the Shedding of Baby Teeth

For most children, the shedding of baby teeth is not a terribly traumatic or painful experience. These teeth begin to become loose and can often be wiggled around with one’s tooth or finger; this can be a funny experience for a child, especially if a positive attitude is encouraged.

Take care to explain to your child that while these teeth will fall out, they will get new ones that will be with them forever. Generating some excitement around this milestone as part of becoming “a big kid” can instill in them a sense of pride and even pleasure. By taking part in the customary ritual of the Tooth Fairy, you can also create some magic around this important developmental milestone. However you choose to handle it, just remember: your child will interpret and reflect the energy that you create around the loss of a tooth, so be sure to keep it positive and fun!