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Tips On Tooth Development In Children For Parents

Babies are born without teeth and will start to get their first baby (primary) teeth at about six months of age. Usually, the remaining primary teeth will have appeared by the age of three. Whenever ages are mentioned in this article, remember that these are guidelines only and if your child's teeth are not following this schedule that does not neces- sarily indicate a problem with their development. If you have any specific questions about their development always ask your dentist.

That said, your baby's teeth start forming in the six-week old fetus. Hard substance in the region where the teeth will appear starts forming at around three to four months of gestation. Among the primary teeth, the first to appear are the central incisors. These are the front middle teeth.

The lateral incisors appear next on either side of these central incisors. Thereafter, the second molars appear. Normally, four primary teeth appear every six months. Those in the lower jaw appear ahead of those in the upper jaw.

Primary teeth appear in pairs, one on the left side and the other on the right side. Girl babies generally get their primary teeth ahead of baby boys. Primary teeth are bright white in color and much smaller than the permanent teeth that appear later. As opposed to the thirty-two permanent teeth, there are actually only twenty primary teeth in all. Primary teeth form the foundation for the permanent teeth that appear in their place after they fall out.

Your child starts the growth and development of the facial and jawbones from the age of four. This could create some spaces in between primary teeth. Spaces help to accommodate the larger permanent teeth, as they appear later.

Although all primary teeth will eventually fall out paving way for permanent teeth, you still want to make sure that you care for these teeth. Healthy teeth are part of your child's overall physical health. Facial appearance is guided by the jaw bones and muscles, which are in turn guided by the presence of healthy properly positioned teeth.

These muscles are essential in efficient mastication (chewing). Missing or irregular teeth can disrupt normal chewing of food and lead to food settling between teeth. This could cause tooth decay and gum problems.

Healthy primary teeth make way for healthy permanent teeth. Tooth infections and decay in primary teeth, although not directly related to problems in the underlying permanent teeth, is a sign of hygiene habits that need to be changed before the arrival of the permanent teeth. There are 32 permanent teeth in all. These consist of six max- illary and six mandibular molars, four maxillary and four mandibular premolars, two maxillary and two mandibular canines, and four maxillary and four mandibular incisors. Permanent teeth come in place of primary teeth except the permanent molars, which come in behind the primary molars. Normally, primary teeth start falling out from the age of six and continue until the age of twelve.

Permanent teeth push the primary teeth from underneath. However, in between the ages of six and twelve your child will have both primary and perm- anent teeth. In most cases, all permanent teeth appear by the eighteenth year. In some cases, they may appear until the age of twenty-one.

The first primary teeth that start falling are the central incisors. The first molar could appear by the sixth year. Lateral incisors appear by the eighth year, premolars and second molars appear by the ninth and tenth years, while canines appear by the eleventh or twelfth year. The second molar appears by the twelfth or thirteenth year while the third molar appears in between seventeenth and twenty-fifth years. As the permanent teeth displace the primary teeth in the jaws, the mouth experiences certain changes.

These change the shape of your child's face into that of a growing adult. Permanent teeth grow to a certain size and thereafter, the root closes, and teeth stop growing.

Dr. Brazis practices cosmetic and family dentistry. He has been practicing for 35 years and is now located in Sacramento, CA. Get more information at: or email:

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