Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry

From Baby Smiles to Gaps and Grins: Understanding Children's Tooth Development

From Baby Smiles to Gaps and Grins: Understanding Children’s Tooth Development

Reviewed by Dr. Henry Martinez, DMD

Every child goes through a special journey – the arrival of their first tooth, the anticipation of losing a baby tooth, and the thrill of seeing their first permanent tooth. As a parent, you’ve witnessed it all, from visits by the tooth fairy to gleeful grins that accompany wiggly teeth.

In this blog, we will talk about the timeline of teeth eruption from baby to teen. We will also discuss tips and techniques to help your child through this process.

Tooth Development Stages

There are four stages to your child’s dental journey: baby (primary) teeth, losing baby teeth, adult (permanent) teeth, and wisdom teeth. Let’s break them down:

Primary Teeth Eruption Sequence

Baby teeth, also known as deciduous or primary teeth, are the first set of teeth that appear between 6–24 months of age. When your baby arrives, their twenty primary teeth are already present in the jaw. Their eruption begins with the central incisors, lateral incisors, canine teeth, first primary molars, and second primary molars.

For more information, read the blog The Importance of Baby Teeth: Exploring the Benefits of Maintaining Healthy Baby Teeth.

Losing Baby Teeth

Primary teeth begin to wiggle around 6–7 years of age. As adult teeth form beneath the gum line, tooth buds absorb the baby teeth’s roots, causing them to loosen and fall out and create space for the adult teeth to erupt.

Adult Teeth

Permanent teeth take center stage around 6–12 years of age. Their tooth eruption occurs similarly to baby teeth, but permanent molars and wisdom teeth join the party. By early adulthood, most individuals have 32 adult teeth.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth make their entrance between 17–25 years of age, although not everyone has these. Sometimes, they cause crowding or alignment issues, so their removal may be necessary.

Why Do Children Lose Baby Teeth?

Losing baby teeth occurs when a permanent tooth erupts and pushes through the gums. This puts pressure on the baby tooth’s root, causing it to dissolve gradually and eventually leading the tooth to become loose and fall out. This process indicates that your child is developing correctly and transitioning naturally from baby to adult teeth to accommodate their growing jaw and mouth.

Tips and Techniques To Guide Your Child Through Teeth Eruption and Loss

It doesn’t have to be a rocky road through this exciting stage of dental development! Here are some tips to support your child:

  1. Oral hygiene: Start by gently brushing your baby’s gums using a soft, damp cloth when they are still toothless. As those baby teeth erupt, upgrade to a soft-bristled toothbrush and increase the frequency of cleaning. Encourage a twice-daily tooth brushing routine with fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Balanced diet: A healthy diet is vital for your child’s overall and dental health. Encourage a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting sugary and sticky snacks to help prevent tooth decay and gum issues.
  3. Regular dental visits: Early prevention is key to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums! Schedule your child’s first dental visit by their first birthday or when their first tooth erupts, and maintain regular check-ups afterward.
  4. Embrace the Tooth Fairy: Consider using the Tooth Fairy as a fun and magical way to encourage your child to care for their teeth and embrace the transition from baby teeth to permanent teeth. Consider a small reward when they lose a tooth, like a token or a note from the Tooth Fairy praising their commitment to dental care.

Phoenix Kids Dentist

Losing baby teeth and witnessing the arrival of adult teeth are exciting milestones in your child’s life. Understanding the process and implementing dental care routines will ensure healthy smiles for years.

At Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry, we are here to walk through every stage of your child’s oral health journey with you. We provide expert, compassionate dental care to ensure your child’s smile is healthy and strong.

If you’re searching for a pediatric dentist in Phoenix, AZ, or tooth extraction in Phoenix, call (602) 935-7427 or complete the online booking form. We look forward to meeting your family and helping your child achieve a brighter, healthier smile! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Expect When My Child Loses Their First Tooth?

When your child loses their first tooth, it is a momentous occasion! You can expect a proud smile and lots of excitement. Expect some tenderness and discomfort as the permanent tooth grows beneath the baby tooth. This is natural and will subside after a few days.

How Much Does the Tooth Fairy Pay?

The Tooth Fairy pays in whatever currency she likes! Some families prefer to give a token reward and a personal note, while others opt for cash. Every family is different, so choose an amount that works best for you.

Do Children’s Teeth Hurt When They Fall Out?

No, the tooth will generally loosen and fall out without pain. However, your child may feel some tenderness when their adult tooth pushes through the gums as it erupts. This is normal and should subside in a few days.