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Tooth Eruption: What is Normal?

Besides the questions about pacifiers and thumb sucking habits (see my previous blog) that I get from parents, the other BIG question I get almost weekly is about tooth eruption.  “Is my child or teenager normal?” So today I am going to help answer some of those questions about tooth eruption.


Can my baby be born with teeth?


Yes! While this is very unlikely, it is possible for an infant to have a “natal tooth” or a tooth at birth.  Sometimes this is a supernumerary (extra) tooth but other times it is one of the primary teeth.  You should talk to your pediatrician and your dentist about this as there can be risks associated with these teeth.


When should I first take my child to the dentist?


The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that you take your child to their first dental visit within 6 months of the eruption of the 1st tooth, but not later than their first birthday.  Read more from the ADA here.


When should I expect to see the first baby teeth in my child?

On average, the first teeth to erupt are the mandibular incisors (lower front teeth).  These erupt when the child is about 8 months old.  However, this is only an AVERAGE.  If your child gets their first tooth between 2 months and 14 months, this is still within the normal time range.  See the chart below from the ADA.  Remember that these are averages.

ADAPrimaryToothDev_Engbaby teeth development timetable

Are spaces normal in primary teeth (baby teeth)?


Yes! The permanent teeth that replace the baby teeth are much larger than the baby teeth.  These spaces are helpful in maintaining space for the permanent teeth to prevent future crowding.


When will my child have all their baby teeth?


The primary dentition (baby teeth) should all be erupted by 24-30 months.  Just remember, this is an average and that many children are both older and younger than these averages.


When will my child start losing their baby teeth?

Just like the eruption of baby teeth, the eruption of permanent teeth can vary widely as well.  Most commonly, the mandibular incisors are the first baby teeth to be lost (first in, first out!).  The permanent incisors tend to erupt around the same time as the permanent first molars.   This is around age 6-7 years of age.  Many parents don’t even notice the molars erupting because they erupt BEHIND the baby teeth.   However, it is important to make the sure that these newly erupted molars are brushed well.


When should I take my child to an orthodontist?


The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist by the age of 7.   While most children will not be ready for orthodontic treatment at this age, it is important to detect certain orthodontic problems that require early treatment.  Additionally, your dentist will follow your child’s dental development and refer when needed.


When do most children/ teens get braces?


Just like tooth development, there is a wide variation of if and when children or teens will need orthodontic treatment.  Not all kids or teens will need braces, but on average this is around age 12-14 years old.  However, it is never too late for adults to benefit from treatment as well!



More questions? Contact us! 


American Dental Association 
American Association of Orthodontists 
Proffit W, Fields H, Sarver D. Contemporary orthodontics. 5th ed. Canada: Elsevier; 2013.


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