The Tooth Fairy and Losing a First Baby Tooth

Question of the Week

A child who has lost her first baby tooth.
A child who has lost her first baby tooth. Photo by Denise Crew/Getty Images

Question. My son is six years old and hasn't lost his first tooth yet. He is anxious for the tooth fairy to come and we are both wondering what the going rate now is for a first baby tooth. Will he lose a tooth soon?

Answer. He should.

Losing the First Baby Tooth

Children usually lose their first tooth sometime between age six and seven years old. Some kids are a little earlier and others a little later though.

One big influence seems to be the timing of when he started getting teeth and when he got his last baby tooth.

The average child gets his first baby tooth at age six months and then gets three to four new teeth every three to four months. This continues until the second molars erupt at about age two to two and a half years, at which time your child should have all twenty baby teeth.

If your child got his first tooth early or finished getting all of his baby teeth early, then he might start losing his baby teeth early too. On the other hand, if he didn't get his first tooth until age twelve or fifteen months, then he might be a little later than average in shedding or losing his first tooth.

Getting Adult Teeth

Once he does start losing his teeth, the pattern will seem like a reverse of how these baby teeth came in. He should first lose the bottom two middle teeth, which are called the mandibular central incisors.

Next, the top two middle teeth will fall out, followed by his canines, first molars, and then second molars. By age eleven to thirteen, the process should be complete and all of his baby teeth will be gone.

The secondary or permanent teeth soon begin erupting as your child loses baby teeth. This process isn't complete until your child gets his third molars or wisdom teeth at age seventeen to twenty two years of age.

The Tooth Fairy

The other big question is how much money should your child expect the tooth fairy to bring?

It varies, from a few quarters to a few dollars, although the tooth fairy often brings more for the first baby tooth that is lost.