The eruption of primary teeth (also known as deciduous or baby teeth) follows a similar developmental timeline for most children. A full set of primary teeth begins to grow beneath the gums during the fourth month of pregnancy. For this reason, a nourishing prenatal diet is of paramount importance to the infant’s teeth, gums, and bones.
Generally, the first primary tooth breaks through the gums between the ages of six months and one year. By the age of three years old most children have a “full” set of twenty primary teeth. The Canadian Dental Association (ADA) encourages parents to make a “well-baby” appointment with a pediatric dentist approximately six months after the first tooth emerges. Pediatric dentists communicate with parents and children about prevention strategies, emphasizing the importance of a sound, “no tears” daily home care plan.
Although primary teeth are deciduous, they facilitate speech production, proper jaw development, good chewing habits - and the proper spacing and alignment of adult teeth. Caring properly for primary teeth helps defend against painful tooth decay, premature tooth loss, malnutrition, and childhood periodontal disease.
In what order do primary teeth emerge?
There are many stages of development in a child’s life and one of the most exciting for our patients and their parents is their oral development. Babies actually start developing their primary teeth while still in the womb but they do not actually start erupting through the gums until they are around six months old. After that, it is a whirlwind of teeth coming and going until they reach their late teens.
Luckily this schedule of teeth coming and going has been simplified into handy charts like this one for easy referral courtesy of Dentably.
What else is known about primary teeth?
Though each child is unique, baby girls generally have a head start on baby boys when it comes to primary tooth eruption. Lower teeth usually erupt before opposing upper teeth in both sexes.
Teeth usually erupt in pairs – meaning that there may be months with no new activity and months where two or more teeth emerge at once. Due to smaller jaw size, primary teeth are smaller than permanent teeth, and appear to have a whiter tone. Finally, an interesting mixture of primary and permanent teeth is the norm for most school-age children.
If you have questions or concerns about primary teeth, please contact your pediatric dentist.