Whether you’re a new or repeat parent, one of the major milestones you can expect from your child’s development is the appearance of baby (or primary) teeth. While the time it takes for baby teeth to appear, also called “tooth eruption,” can vary for every child, it’s something that most parents can expect to happen within the first year of their child’s life.
Tooth eruption is a process where the baby teeth are pushed through the gumline and into (approximately) the same location in the mouth that the permanent teeth (or adult teeth) will sit. These act as the placeholders for permanent teeth, so your dentist may be able to give an idea early on about how your child’s adult teeth will sit. Primary teeth generally erupt one by one, though some children may begin sprouting multiple teeth at the same time.
Typically, a child will erupt their first tooth around 6 or 8 months old. This uncomfortable process, known as “teething,” will continue for several months following the eruption of the first baby tooth. As the teeth break through the gumline, your child will likely face discomfort. Parents sometimes find it helpful to give their child teething rings or other toys that help reduce pain in the gums, as this can help calm children and aid in tooth eruption.
Once the primary teeth have all come into place, children will retain these for several years before their permanent teeth begin to erupt. While the process of primary tooth eruption can take over a year, with most children having a full set of baby teeth by age 2, the appearance of permanent teeth can take a bit longer. First molars, which are permanent, usually erupt around age 6, meaning that your child will have to care for them properly to retain good oral health long term. This may be a time where you could ask your pediatric dentist about the importance of care for these teeth, and if there are particular flossing or brushing habits your child should start practicing now in anticipation of the rest of their adult teeth.
Most children will have a full set of permanent teeth by around age 10, excluding third molars or “wisdom teeth.” The wisdom teeth generally erupt in the late teens or early twenties, making them the “final teeth” your child will erupt in their lifetime. Wisdom teeth are very susceptible to being impacted because of their location in the mouth, meaning that they may come in on an odd angle, be stuck between the jaw and another tooth, or begin to move the other permanent teeth in the mouth. If your child has had braces, this can destroy the handiwork of your orthodontist; most people elect to have them removed for this reason or because they are impacted and causing discomfort.
Once your child has gotten their wisdom teeth, they will be finished with tooth eruption for their lifetime. Most tooth eruption takes place during childhood, making this the most essential time to practice and retain good oral hygiene; your pediatric dentist will have the answers on how you can accomplish this!