Your baby’s teeth development normally begins while it’s still in the womb. At about five weeks gestation, the first buds of the primary teeth appear in the baby’s jaws. At birth, the baby has a full set of 20 primary teeth hidden within the gums.
Your baby’s first set of teeth to appear are known as deciduous, primary or milk teeth. Deciduous teeth appear gradually in baby’s mouth according to this approximate timeline:
- The bottom central incisors are the first pair of teeth to erupt in a baby’s mouth. They begin to break through the gums at about 6 months of age,
- Next, the four upper incisors usually come in around 9 to 13 months. You’ll see the upper teeth to the right and left of the center, giving your baby a row of four teeth across the top. The lower teeth to the right and left of the center make their appearance around 10 to 16 months,
- Your child’s first molars, the wider teeth toward the back of the mouth, erupt on the top between about 13 and 19 months,
- The molars on the bottom emerge around 14 to 18 months,
- The upper canines fill the gap between the incisors and first molars at 16 to 22 months,
- The lower canines make their appearance around 17 to 23 months,
- The rear molars usually poke through on the bottom between 23 and 31 months. Note that kids don’t usually complain of much teething pain at this stage,
- The rear molars on the top, the final teeth, show up into place at around 25 to 33 months,
- By age 3, most kids have a full set of 20 baby teeth.
This timeline is largely accurate but some variations are possible. In the diagram below, which details the different times teeth erupt, you can see slight differences from the points above, but overall the same pattern takes place:
Even though baby teeth are only present in those tiny mouths for a few years, they play a vital role in the child’s development. Most notably, they:
- Aid in the development of clear speech,
- Help to attain good nutrition at young age,
- Reserve space for their permanent counterparts,
- Provide a healthy start to the permanent teeth.
Your children start losing their primary teeth around the age of 6. The first teeth to be lost are usually the central incisors. This is followed by the eruption of the first permanent molars. They come in at the back of the mouth, behind the last baby teeth. They do not replace any primary teeth. Children lose primary teeth, the second molars, until they are about 12 years old.
Permanent teeth often look more yellow than primary teeth. As to the four wisdom teeth, they will make their appearance at around 17 to 21 years old. There will be a total of 32 permanent teeth.