We have two sets of teeth. Initially, we have 20 baby teeth. Baby teeth are also known as primary teeth. These baby teeth will exfoliate and be replaced by 32 permanent teeth. There is no replacement if we lost our permanent teeth. Some people may have more or less teeth compared to the norm. This occurrence is usually genetically inherited.
Tooth eruption refers to emergence of tooth from its developmental position in the jaw to its functional position in the oral cavity. A tooth erupts when its root starts to grow. As its root becomes longer, the force pushes the tooth out of the gums.
2 to 6 year olds would only have baby teeth. The first permanent molar usually erupts at 6 years of age and this initiates the mixed dentition stage (having baby teeth and permanent teeth together). When children become teenagers (12 years and above), they would have shed all their baby teeth and having only permanent teeth. Wisdom tooth is the last permanent tooth to erupt.
First baby tooth would erupt. Usually, it would be the lower central incisors followed by upper central incisors, upper lateral incisors and lower lateral incisors. These incisors’ eruptions continue up to 16 months of age.
- Painful while breast feeding as infant bites on mum’s nipple
- Plaque starts to accumulate around baby teeth if not cleaned properly
- Gums are itchy or swollen when teeth start growing
- Some infants have fever, diarrhea or emotionally stressed when teeth start to grow
- Use a breast pump or correctly positioned the baby so that baby sucks nicely. You can apply your own breast milk on sore nipple to help ease pain and heal it.
- Wipe the teeth all round with clean gauze and cloth. Wipe the tongue as well gently. This has to start when the tooth first erupted and continue until the child could brush his or her own teeth.
- Give a cold teether for the kid to bite.
- See a dentist if the kid is feverish. Spend more time with your child to make them feel more comfortable thus less stressful.
2 ½ – 3 years old
All baby teeth should have erupted.
Posterior teeth tend to get decayed easily because food tends to stuck onto the pits of the teeth. Sometimes children also tend to miss the posterior teeth while brushing.
Baby bottle tooth decay is a common problem. It would cause decay over upper front teeth (canine to incisors) as milk traps in between upper lips and upper front teeth if you feed your child to sleep.
Well aligned baby teeth without spacing will probably reflect crooked permanent teeth later. If the baby teeth are spaced out, there would be ample space for permanent teeth to erupt nicely as they are larger.
- Dental check up at 3 – 6 months interval
- Good oral hygiene regime
- Dentist would recommend orthodontic treatment (braces) when necessary
6-8 years old
- The first permanent tooth to erupt is the first permanent molar. It usually expresses as a bulging of gum at the back of the last baby molar. It would erupt at 6 years of age.
- Sometimes it would cause gum pain and fever when it’s erupting.
- Upper and lower baby central incisors would be loose as permanent incisors are erupting at the age of 7.
- The first permanent molar gets decayed easily as it’s usually being left out of care due to its most posterior position.
- Upper ones are even more difficult to manage as parents would not notice them until they have decayed and cause pain.
- If you see lower permanent incisors erupting inner to baby lower incisors (double teeth) do not extract the baby lower incisors hastily. You should wait for the baby lower incisors to loosen and exfoliate by themselves. Early extraction would cause further crooked teeth.
9-11 years old
- You will notice there’s spacing between your kid’s upper front teeth.
- Upper front teeth may be jetting out as well.
- Do not worry as this is just a temporary occurrence. The erupting canine is pushing the roots of your upper front teeth making them tilting away from center line.
- When your kid’s canine erupts, the space would be closed.
- If upper canine is not erupted till 11 years of age, you should bring your child to the dentist to make out whether the canine is missing or abnormally positioned.
- Severely crooked teeth would squeeze out the canine giving your child a vampire smile. Do not be too alarmed as this would be sorted out through braces later.
- Do not purposely extract the squeezed out canine as it is the anchor to your child’s jaw. It is important to realign the canine later with braces to give a more esthetic smile.
The wisdom teeth are going to erupt. If they are poorly positioned or impacted, they need to be extracted to prevent decay of the second permanent molar or gum diseases.
Sometimes they are also extracted because they are hard to reach and susceptible to decay.
Removing a wisdom tooth may require minor oral surgery due to its impaction.
Tooth eruption may vary between individual. If your child’s eruption is late or early by 6 months compared to the norm is acceptable. It is important to know when your children’s teeth are erupting and exfoliating as if you catch a minor problem early it would save you a lot of spending on dental problems later on when your children grow up.