The Life Cycle of Milk Teeth

Dealing with milk teeth can be a bit of an ordeal, for both the child and first time parent and while the emergence and following life cycle of milk teeth is different for everyone, these following steps are the general order to expect to help you understand what is happening in your child’s mouth.

Tooth eruption

Also known as teething, tooth eruption is the first stage of milk teeth and is the time when the baby teeth are coming through (or ‘erupting’) through the gums. This process will usually begin, at the earliest at 3 months, although the emergence of the first teeth is commonly between 4 and 7 months.

Some babies find this process painless, while others will be irritated by it for short periods. This is normal, however if your baby seems very badly irritated or in considerable discomfort, speak to your doctor or dentist.

Milk teeth loss

Again the age for losing teeth can vary from child to child. Generally girls begin losing their teeth earlier than boys and the age of 6 is the usual time to expect the first tooth loss. This loss will then continue until around the age of 12 or 13.

Many dentists will also recommend that as milk teeth are lost and adult teeth begin to erupt, this is the age at which to really reinforce oral health and independent dental care.

The order at which the teeth will fall can again vary, but generally the teeth that erupted first are also the first to fall out, meaning the bottom front teeth are commonly the first to be lost.

Adult teeth eruption

Because the age range of baby teeth lost ranges over a number of years, your child is going to spend a certain amount of time with both baby and adult teeth.

The first adult tooth to erupt first is one of the front lower teeth, although if different baby teeth fell out first these should obviously be the ones expected first. The first adult teeth should appear soon after the loss of the first baby teeth (around 6 years old) and the final teeth should come through around 13.

Because this period sees the emergence of adult teeth while milk are still present, it is not uncommon for overcrowding and the need for teeth straightening to occur at this time.