Babies begin growing teeth between 4 and 7 months. Typically, the two front teeth on the bottom row are the first to arrive and usually together. The root forces the new teeth up to the gums at this stage of development. This process is called teething. It is an uncomfortable time for a baby (and the parents). Following the teeth grown in this 4-7 month period, between 8 months and a year, the 4 front teeth on the upper row should come in. By age 1, a child should go to their first dentist appointment.
Following the growth of rows of front-facing teeth, typically after their first birthday, a baby’s molars will start to emerge. This can happen between 1 to 2 years of age. Everyone is different. The teething pains continue especially since molars are larger, flatter teeth sprouting through the gums.
This teeth timeline is generally true for most babies, however, in some cases, some children don’t grow any teeth by age 1. In fact, for some children, their teeth don’t grow in until months after their first birthday. Either way, their doctor should be informed during their visits and a dentist appointment should be scheduled within 6 months after the first tooth/teeth arrive.
By the age of 3, a baby should have all their baby teeth. That is 20 teeth. Though baby teeth are not permanent, they should still be cared for as such. Brushing twice a day, some parents do this for their children unless they are comfortable having their child do it themselves, and flossing is essential. Keeping these new teeth healthy will help keep their gums healthy where their permanent teeth will spout.
By age 4, their bone structure begins to develop to prepare for more and permanent teeth. The jaw grows and expands and creates space for new teeth to grow in.
Between the ages of 6 to 12 years, children will begin losing and growing in their permanent teeth. When a new tooth is growing in below the gums, it pushes upward causing the baby tooth in its place to become loose. Typically children lose teeth in the same order they came in. During these years, a child’s smile features both baby teeth and permanent teeth as one type starts to replace the other.
By age 12, a child should have a full set of 28 permanent teeth. Dental visits are always important, but once all the teeth are grown in, it’s time to analyze how they have done so and the overall oral health. This begins the teenage years of braces, if necessary, and treating cavities for permanent teeth. These are now the teeth they’ll have the rest of their lives so it’s crucial to continue dental visits every 6 months or as needed.
There is more growing a few years later in life. Between the ages of 17 to 21, wisdom teeth appear. One on each side in each row adding 4 more teeth to the 28 permanent ones. It is common for wisdom teeth to be extracted if they grow in pushing against the rest of the teeth causing pain. They are truly just extra teeth and not necessary to the mouth. However, if they don’t cause any pain, there isn’t any reason to pull them out.