When Will My Kids See Their Grown-up Smile?

Last updated on June 6th, 2018 at 11:59 am

When your child is born, he or she has two sets of teeth in the jaw bone.  These teeth started developing early on during gestation, and they continue to form until they’re ready to erupt through the gums and into the mouth.

Your infant will typically start cutting teeth around the age of 6 months to 1 year of age.  This first set of teeth is called primary teeth, baby teeth, or even milk teeth.  By the time your little one is three, he or she should have cut in the entire set, which consists of 20 teeth (ten per arch.)

However, primary teeth are temporary, and around the age of six, your child will start to lose them.

What About Adult Teeth?

As your child grows, the permanent, or adult teeth, continue to develop under the primary ones. Once they’re ready to make their debut, they will push out of the gum, forcing the baby teeth to fall out.  Sometimes a child will lose a primary tooth prematurely (due to an accident or decay), but the permanent tooth won’t come in until it’s closer to its normal eruption window. 

The Makings of an Adult Smile

Consistently over the next few years, your child will be losing baby teeth and cutting in his or her new, adult ones.  The first permanent teeth to come in are the front four teeth on the upper and lower arches.  Next come the canines (“eye teeth,”) and/or the first molars. The first molars don’t take the place of any baby teeth, as they erupt as the last tooth on each side, per arch. You may have heard these called the “six year molars,” due to them commonly erupting around the age of six.

A few years into this transition period, your child will lose his or her baby molars, and permanent premolars (bicuspids) will take their place.  Your child will also receive his or her second molars, commonly referred to as the “twelve year molars,” behind the first set.

By the time your child becomes a teenager, he or she will likely have lost all twenty baby teeth, leaving 28 permanent ones.

There is one final stage of dentition, however, not everyone will experience it. Unlike the 28 other permanent teeth which developed in utero, the third molars, or wisdom teeth, start to develop around the age of 10 years.  These teeth may begin to erupt out of the bone and gum in their late teens. A select few individuals will be lucky enough to never get their 3rd molars!

About the Author

I am a family dentist who treats children as well as adults. Making smiles people love, extreme makeovers and complex dental reconstruction is our niche including implants, TMJ, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. As a participant in the blog, I will be offering dental perspectives on pediatric safety and health care options on a regular basis. I can be reached at www.suwaneedental.com. Blessings to all! Dr Williams is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

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