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Gummy Grins: Checking Baby Teeth In Order Of Appearance

Transitioning to a mouthful of pearly whites from an adorable, gummy smile takes a baby several years to accomplish. The appearance of the first tooth is a milestone, but when can you expect this to happen and all the others to follow? Here’s what you need to know about the order of your child’s teeth.

The eruption of primary teeth is part of your little one’s normal development. In fact, by the time they are three years old, they’ll have 20 teeth. As one would expect, most of their milk teeth will come out during the first couple of years of life. 

Usually, a baby is born with ridges on the gums. These are the spots in which their 20 biters will eventually erupt and grow. Of course, this process doesn’t always go as planned for some toddlers. There are cases when the teeth do not come out in the right order or experience a significant delay. If you know what to look for, you can tell when to go to your pediatrician or family dentist for an evaluation. After all, your child’s teeth are essential for his or her digestion, speech, and overall health.

Order Of Tooth Eruptions

Each of your kid’s tooth will belong to one of five categories during its development during the first three years. This is the order in which they will appear:

1. front teeth – central incisors 

2. between the canines and central incisors – lateral incisors

3. first molars

4. beside the front molars – canines

5. second molars

Infants typically get their bottom front teeth first. Sometimes teeth break out slightly out of order. Experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics note that this phenomenon is generally not a cause for concern.

Timing

Every baby experiences teething differently. Some infants might start to teethe as early as four to seven months, while others grow their first teeth closer to nine months. In some cases, this doesn’t occur until after they turn one year old. Although rarely, a baby may be born with one or more teeth. The family’s genes may contribute to this. If you or your partner got your milk teeth at a young age, chances are the same will happen to your kid.

Despite the differences in timing, there is a general timeline to keep in mind. Normally, the lower teeth in each category will be visible first before the teeth of a different set on the same gum line. The following timeline shows approximately when most toddlers get their first set of pearly whites.

Teeth Age

bottom central incisors 6-10 months

top central incisors 8-12 months

top lateral incisors 9-13 months

bottom lateral incisors 10-16 months

first molars in top of mouth 13-19 months

first molars on bottom 14-18 months

top canines 16-22 months

bottom canines 17-23 months

second molars on bottom of mouth 23-31 months

second molars on top 25-33 months

You can keep track of this timeline by checking your baby’s mouth every four months after he or she starts developing teeth. For example, if the top lateral incisors come in at 10 months, then you should expect to see the bottom lateral incisors in about four months later.

Preventing Dental Problems

Ensuring adequate spacing and preventing diseases are perhaps more important than the correct order of your baby’s teeth. Since milk teeth are smaller than adult teeth, there should be plenty of room between them to allow for space in the future. 

Kids tend to lose their first biters at around six years of age, starting with the bottom central incisors. If you notice that your child’s choppers are looking too crowded, you should discuss this with a pediatric dentist.

Tooth decay is another major issue to watch out for. Unfortunately, baby teeth are extremely susceptible to decay. This can result in several complications, such as:

  • infections 
  • early tooth loss
  • gum disease (gingivitis)
  • cavities
  • feeding difficulties
  • brown or yellow spots on teeth
  • cellulitis (an infection that develops and spreads underneath the skin)
  • poor self-esteem

Teething problems tend to happen most often in children born prematurely, as well as those who don’t have enough healthcare access. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends visiting a dentist if your kid has not developed his or her first teeth by 18 months of age. Parents are encouraged by experts to take their babies to their first dental visit soon after their first birthday.

Teething Pain

Children normally don’t experience pain when losing their primary teeth. However, if the edge of a tooth cuts into your kid’s gums, your dentists may suggest wiggling the tooth more vigorously. At the same time that your child’s primary teeth are becoming loose and falling out, his six-year molars will start to break out. The gums can look swollen, and some kids also complain about pain. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or topical analgesics usually do the job of easing the discomfort

Late Losers

Consult your dentist if your child has not lost any teeth by the time he or she turns seven. Most likely there won’t be a problem, but it pays to know if the teeth are under the gum and are just delayed in coming out. An X-ray of the mouth will show what’s underneath the gum. There could be an advantage to getting permanent teeth late. As a result of remaining in the jaw longer, the adult teeth will be harder and more resistant to cavities.

The Takeaway

All baby teeth will eventually be replaced by adult teeth. However, that doesn’t mean that parents should neglect these temporary choppers. After all, they help with feeding and speech, not to mention, leaving them to decay can be very painful for your child. Make sure your child’s teeth appear in order and develop healthfully. This will have a huge impact on his or her future oral health.

Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist if you think something doesn’t look right with your toddler’s teeth. Instill proper oral care habits at an early age so they will continue to take care of their teeth when they grow older.