Our little ones don’t stay little forever. In fact, they grow up much quicker than we would like. And one of the first signs that our babies are sprouting up like dandelions in spring is the eruption of their primary teeth.
Knowing when and in what order your child’s baby teeth will likely erupt and, ultimately, fall out can help you to improve their oral health and set a solid foundation for their permanent teeth. For exactly that reason, pediatric dentists have developed tooth eruption charts for parents and caregivers to follow.
When Do Baby Teeth Erupt?
The first thing that all parents should know is that their child’s baby teeth won’t erupt with the exactness of a train schedule. Every child is different and, thusly, their smile will develop differently. Delays or jumpstarts of a couple of months aren’t cause for immediate concern.
Generally speaking, however, a full set of 20 baby teeth will typically erupt between the ages of 8 months and 33 months (2 3/4 years).
As you can see from the image above, the first of your baby’s teeth to erupt will likely be their central incisors, followed closely by their lateral incisors. Canines, or cuspids, will erupt somewhere between 16 and 23 months followed by first and second molars.
During these crucial months of development, it’s important to foster good oral and dental care habits in your little one. Establish a twice-daily routine for gum cleaning to get your baby accustomed to oral care and schedule regular trips to the pediatric dentist’s office.
Taking good care of baby teeth—or deciduous teeth—is important in protecting your child’s smile for when their permanent arrive. Tooth decay on baby teeth can actually have harmful effects on the permanent teeth growing underneath. Meanwhile, healthy baby teeth help to protect your baby’s gums, aid in their speech development, reserve space for permanent teeth and, most importantly, brighten smiles.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends dental sealants for all children—even on their baby teeth—to help reduce their risk of developing cavities and tooth decay.
When Do Baby Teeth Fall Out?
Dentists refer to baby teeth as deciduous teeth because, eventually, they fall out. Much in the same way tooth eruption doesn’t follow an exact schedule, tooth shedding will vary from child to child. Generally speaking, however, tooth shedding will begin at 6 years of age with central incisors and end around 12 years of age with second molars.
From the image above, you can see that primary tooth shedding will have significant overlap with the eruption of permanent teeth. During this time, your child’s jaw and face will be growing to accommodate their larger and more numerous permanent teeth—there are 20 primary teeth and 32 permanent teeth.
As your child’s permanent teeth begin to erupt, you’ll want to ensure that they have a strong dental care routine. Brushing and flossing twice daily is the dentist-recommended strategy for warding off cavities and gum disease but, on its own, won’t be enough.
Once most of your child’s adult teeth come in—somewhere around the age of 13—you’ll want to give their smile the added protection of dental sealants.
Quick Facts About Tooth Eruption
- Generally speaking, girls mature more quickly than boys—as do their teeth. Girls will tend to experience tooth eruption and shedding earlier than boys.
- Tooth eruption tends to happen in pairs on both the upper and lower jaw. For example, central incisors on the upper jaw will tend to erupt together as will second molars.
- Teeth on the lower jaw—the mandible—will tend to erupt before teeth on the upper jaw—the maxilla.
- Primary teeth are, perhaps unsurprisingly, smaller than permanent teeth. They are also whiter than permanent teeth.
- By 3 years of age, all primary teeth should have erupted. If they have not, parents can seek the advice of a pediatric dentist.
- Children will have most of their permanent teeth by the age of 13 and will have all 32 teeth by the age of 21, though wisdom teeth may erupt late for some.
Talk to a Pediatric Dentist
Tooth eruption and shedding are both crucial stages in the development of a healthy and happy smile. Throughout the process, however, children and parents alike will experience at least some degree of growing pains—pun intended.
For that reason and many others, Treehouse Dental offers a range of pediatric dentistry services to fit any smile. Find one of our pediatric dentistry offices nearest to you and book your next appointment with us today.