The eruption of a child’s first primary tooth is a major event for both the child and their parents. The first tooth is significant because it signals the incoming of the rest of the baby teeth, permanent teeth, and wisdom teeth at last. While the baby teeth may start coming in early for some children--before the 6 month mark--and late for others--after 8 months or even past the first birthday--the adult teeth will take quite a lot longer to erupt.
Your child will likely have a full set of baby teeth by the age of 2. From there on, the eruption of permanent teeth will take a few more years, meaning those baby teeth will probably last your child through a majority of their single-digit years. However, some permanent teeth come in before others. Around age 6, your child should start to see their first molars appear. These molars don’t replace a primary tooth, meaning they are the first adult teeth your child will have. From there, you can expect their front teeth, known as the central incisors, to begin coming in at or around the same time.
The rest of your child’s teeth will follow suit, with some coming in sooner rather than later, but all being present by age 12 at the latest. From there, your child will also erupt their second molars around the age of 12 or 13. These molars also don’t replace existing baby teeth, so they will erupt in a new place in the mouth where there was no existing tooth to guide them. Your child should now have 28 teeth, as the wisdom teeth (or third molars) won’t erupt for another few years. This is an ideal time to think about braces, as all of the teeth have erupted and are in their permanent locations. If you’re considering braces for your child, or have questions about how this may affect your child’s dental health, your pediatric dentist will have answers!
The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are removed in many teens and young adults. These are the final teeth to come in, usually towards the end of the teen years and early to mid-twenties. By the time these molars erupt, there is typically little to no space for them left amongst the other molars and the jaw. This can cause them to become impacted, wherein they become wedged in the mouth and cause extreme discomfort. They may also move existing permanent teeth, or erupt on an angle, so most people elect to have them removed by an oral surgeon.
Tooth eruption takes quite a few years to complete, but once it’s done, your child (now young adult!) will never have to worry about getting more teeth. Though this also means they should be mindful of their permanent teeth, as they are the only set they will have for their lifetime. By starting good dental care at an early age, your child will retain those habits and keep their teeth pristine for years to come.