This Is How Teeth Develop From Infancy To Adulthood
6 min read
Whether your little one’s first tooth has just burst through their gum, they’re well into the teething phase, or the tooth fairy is just about due a visit, your child’s pearly whites are the centre of so many exciting milestones in their development.
In fact, did you know that your little one’s teeth begin to develop while they’re still in the womb? In fact, while your little one is roughly the size of a poppyseed, their soon-to-be pearly whites are already preparing for their first eruption into the gums.
Your first interaction with your little one’s chompers is the notorious teething phase. Although your bub is born with a full set of 20 primary teeth (also affectionately referred to as ‘baby’ or ‘milk’ teeth), these don’t usually start to cut through the gums and reveal themselves until your child is between four and six months old.
However, although this is the first time you’ve seen their teeth, the first stage of tooth development actually occurs at around the sixth week of pregnancy, when the basic substance of the tooth forms.
Following this, the hard tissue that surrounds your little one’s teeth is formed at around the third or fourth month mark.
Once your baby is born, their teeth will usually begin to cut through the gums when they are about six months old, with a full set of teeth usually in place by their second or third birthday.
The teeth in the centre of the bottom jaw usually come through first, sometimes between four and 10 months. However, every child is unique and so too is their experience with their teeth developing.
Generally, babies’ teeth come in from front-to-back. Click here to discover the usual order of tooth eruption, from central incisors through to upper and lower molars.
Eventually, your little one’s full set of pearly whites include:
If you have any concerns about your child’s early tooth development, talk to your health professional.
From roughly the age of six, you may start to notice your child’s teeth become wobbly and begin to show signs that they’re just about ready to fall out. This is to make room for the adult teeth that will start to come in.
For many children, the tooth fairy may make their first visit a year earlier or later than your child’s sixth birthday, as this is a rough indicator rather than a fixed timeframe.
Fun fact: girls generally lose their teeth earlier than boys.
Much like the first tooth to erupt, usually a tooth from the front of the lower jaw will be the first to fall out.
Of course, if you have concerns about your little one’s primary teeth loss or the adult teeth that replace them, make an appointment with your dentist.
Also known as ‘adult’ or ‘secondary’ teeth, your little one’s permanent teeth will eventually establish their lifelong toothy grin.
But, this isn’t just a matter of replacing the baby teeth with their adult counterparts. During early childhood and adolescence, additional molar teeth will come in as your little one’s mouth grows large enough to accommodate them.
Although it might seem like lightyears away from now, by the time your child’s 21st birthday rolls around, they will likely have a full set of 32 adult teeth.
Wisdom teeth (large third molars) make up four of these 32 but they don’t always erupt. You may have previously heard of wisdom teeth erupting at a later stage in life. These are third molars which may or may not erupt as every person’s set of permanent teeth is unique to them. This means that a set of 28 permanent teeth, instead of 32, is generally not considered alarming.
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