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Kids Corner

When will my child get his/her teeth?

Primary Teeth

“When will my child get teeth?” This is a common question we receive at our office. Teething can be a confusing and frustrating process for little people. Some kids’ teeth press up through the gums in a mad dash over the course of a few days, other little peoples’ teeth come through over the course of months.  There is a wide range of normal as to when children get and lose teeth.  Some children may be born with teeth while others don’t get their first tooth until well past their first birthday. But as a general rule, children will get four teeth for every six months of life.

  • Girls generally get their teeth before boys do
  • Lower teeth generally erupt before the upper teeth
  • Teeth in both the upper and lower jaws usually erupt in pairs — one on the right and one on the left
  • Primary teeth are smaller in size and whiter in color than the permanent teeth that will follow
  • By the time a child is 2 to 3 years of age, all primary teeth should have erupted
  • Drooling is not necessarily associating with teething

If your child is late at getting his/her teeth, there is usually no cause for alarm. But if he/she is 15 months or older, you may want to take him/her to the dentist for x-rays to ensure the teeth are there to come in. Late teething is not a sign of any other developmental issues. Whenever your child gets teeth, be sure to take care of them as you would adult teeth.  Despite them not being around for the long haul, baby teeth still need to be cared for to prevent unnecessary pain and discomfort over many years.

Here are two handy timetables to follow as a general guideline for when you can expect your child’s teeth.

Upper Teeth When tooth emerges When tooth falls out
Central incisor 8 to 12 months 6 to 7 years
Lateral incisor 9 to 13 months 7 to 8 years
Canine (cuspid) 16 to 22 months 10 to 12 years
First molar 13 to 19 months 9 to 11 years
Second molar 25 to 33 months 10 to 12 years
Lower Teeth When tooth emerges When tooth falls out
Second molar 23 to 31 months 10 to 12 years
First molar 14 to 18 months 9 to 11 years
Canine (cuspid) 17 to 23 months 9 to 12 years
Lateral incisor 10 to 16 months 7 to 8 years
Central incisor 6 to 10 months 6 to 7 years

When should I bring my child in for their first appointment?

The American Dental Association recommends bringing babies in for a knee-to-knee exam as soon as the first tooth erupts, but no later than the first birthday.  This is especially important for first-time parents and if you have specific questions and concerns.  If we see the beginnings of cavities on the front teeth at that point it is still possible to change habits and identify problem areas before that process causes real cavities in the back teeth, ones that would need intervention (fillings). Babies should have a yearly checkup until 3. If there are no problems at  yearly checkups until three, they should then come in a every 6 months thereafter.

Children’s teeth are smaller than adult teeth, so smaller cavities can develop quickly into problems. Kids tend to ignore tooth pain until it is serious. Waiting until you hear from them is not a good idea. Also, if a child gets the idea that the dentist is a place where they come and have someone look in their mouths then they get a little toy rather than the place the come when the teeth start to hurt and they have to stay very still it can be a much more positive beginning to a great oral health and make any treatment that may be indicated in the future that much easier for your child.  The dentist’s office is also a great place to reinforce the habits you are introducing at home. Kids often feel good about brushing their teeth when their dentist or hygienist has talked to them personally.

Happy Brushing!