In our lifetime, we have two sets of teeth. Baby teeth (milk teeth or deciduous teeth) are the first set of teeth to appear in your child’s early life. The second set are the adult teeth (permanent teeth). There are 20 baby teeth altogether and they begin to erupt around 6-8 months and continue to progressively erupt up to 3 years of age.
Children lose their baby teeth which are replaced by adult teeth typically starting at 6 years up until 13 years of age.

Which Teeth Are Baby Teeth?
Baby teeth are the first set of teeth to erupt in the mouth and are smaller and sharper. Comparing them to the adult teeth they will appear whiter and shorter. Their enamel layer (hard outer layer) is also thinner than in adult teeth (which makes them more vulnerable to dental decay).

Why Do We Have Baby Teeth?
• They create and reserve space for adult teeth that are growing under the gums.
• They give shape and definition to the face.
• They help your child learn to speak and pronounce words correctly.
• They play a role in good nutrition because your child can chew solid food easily.
• They give adult teeth a healthy start.

Sometimes a baby tooth can be lost (removed) earlier than expected (due to decay), causing the teeth behind to drift forward into the gap. This causes space
loss and crowding of the teeth as there is no longer enough room for the adult teeth to come through. That’s why it is important to form good oral hygiene habits from a young age to protect the teeth and keep them healthy until they are ready to come out naturally.

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What is Exfoliation Of Teeth?
Exfoliation of teeth describes the natural process of the baby teeth shedding and falling out. At this point, the adult teeth are trying to erupt and push through the
gums to replace the baby teeth. Teeth typically begin to exfoliate from as early as 5 years old through to 12-13 years old where they will lose their last baby tooth.
Children will experience tooth eruption at different ages. There is no need for concern unless the teeth are not erupting in the correct sequence. If you think
there is a problem with the eruption of your child’s teeth, book in for a visit with us at Kiddies Dental Care.


PHASE 1. Baby teeth: Baby teeth and the sequence of eruption of these teeth. By the age of 3, your child likely has a full set of teeth!

Below is a guide where we focus on Phase 1: Baby teeth and the sequence of eruption of these teeth. By the age of 3, your child likely has a full set of teeth!

4 – 9 months old: The first baby teeth to erupt are the two in the front bottom known as the lower central incisors. They usually begin to break through (erupt) the gums at around 6 months old but can occur anywhere between 4 – 12 months.

9 – 12 months old: The upper central incisors soon follow them at 8 – 12 months old. The next two to erupt are the upper lateral incisors at 9 – 13 months old.

10 – 16 months old: The final incisors to erupt are usually the lower lateral incisors at 10 – 16 months old. There are eight incisors in total. These teeth have a thin cutting edge and are designed to help babies grip their first solid food and to cut food into small pieces.

13 – 19 months old: The upper first molars are often the first to erupt (one on the left and one on the right side of the mouth).

14 – 20 months old: The lower first molars follow a short while later. Molars are larger, flat teeth located at the back of the mouth. Their main function is to grind food during chewing.

16 – 22 months old: The upper canines (eye teeth) erupt next and fill the gap between the front incisors and the back molars.

17 – 23 months old: The lower canines are next. This occurs around 17 to 23 months old. The canines are the sharpest teeth in your mouth. They are used to rip and tear food apart.

24 – 33 months old: The second baby molar teeth erupt. The upper and lower second molars come in last. This usually happens when your child is around 24 to 33 months old. The second molars also help to define the shape of the face and jaw.

PHASE 2. Mixed dentition (a combination of baby and adult teeth)

PHASE 3. Adult teeth


Every child erupts teeth at their own pace, some earlier, some later. If you are concerned, make an appointment with your paediatric dentist to chat about it.

The Australian Dental Association recommends that it’s time for a dental visit when your baby’s first tooth becomes visible or they reach 12 months old – whichever comes first.

Baby teeth play a vital role in maintaining space for the permanent successor teeth (adult teeth), if baby teeth are lost early due to dental decay, this can result in the teeth drifting and closing the space needed for the adult tooth to erupt. Baby teeth also ensure that children can chew and eat well.

Book in and have a chat with your paediatric dentist to help determine if the tooth is missing or delayed.


Here is a tooth chart that gives you a bit more information about the adult and when to expect these to begin erupting.

Thanks to our wonderful Oral Health Therapist, Tu-Anh
She works at our Essendon clinic.
If you would like to talk to her or any of our amazing team, about this or any other questions you may have, please contact us on 03 9372 8960.