Your child’s oral development is marked by numerous milestones. Surprisingly, they continue well into their high school and college years! While the earlier stages may be easier to spot (and pop up with a lot more frequency) each phase of development is essential to a healthy smile.
Here are some of the most significant milestones you can plan to observe:
Their First Primary (Baby) Tooth Erupting
Somewhere between 6-12 months of age, your baby will get their first tooth. As teeth erupt, you’ll see advancements in their dietary habits and speech development. Plan to take them to see a dentist by their first birthday for screenings related to tongue thrusting, tooth development, and overall oral anatomy.
Their First Permanent (Adult) Tooth Erupting
The first set of adult teeth to erupt are usually their six-year molars, or what we call their “first” molars. As you might guess, six-year molars typically erupt around the age of six. But don’t be alarmed if they come in as late as age seven. Every child is different (which tends to be a recurring theme in oral development.) It’s more of an order than a concrete timeframe.
The first molars are the four larger teeth that are meant for grinding and chewing, so there’s a larger surface area on the chewing surfaces. They erupt immediately behind your child’s “two-year” molars, making them the furthest back teeth in their bite until their 12-year molars erupt.
Loss of Their First Baby Tooth
Somewhere around age 6 or 7, your child will lose one of their front baby teeth. It’s common for this milestone to occur when they’re attending school for the first time. Many of their peers may lose teeth during kindergarten, while others aren’t lucky enough to join the club until first grade. The “central” incisors, which are the very two middle teeth on both top and bottom, will be the first to fall out, followed by the “lateral” incisors immediately next to them.
A Mixed Dentition
The time between your child’s first permanent tooth erupting and the loss of their last baby tooth is what we call a “mixed dentition.” Dentition is the term we use to describe their set of teeth. When it’s mixed, it means there are both primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth present.
During your child’s mixed dentition phase, it’s essential to have their bite evaluated for orthodontic needs. Usually the best time is around age 7. At this point in your child’s development, it’s possible for us to pick up any concerns that might lead to major complications later on. Early intervention will help to reduce severe orthodontic needs in their teen years.
Loss of Their Last Baby Tooth
Some of the last baby teeth that your child will lose are their primary molars. On average, this exfoliation process will happen sometime between the ages of 10 and 12. Their baby molars are the eight teeth that will be replaced by premolars (or “bicuspids”), immediately behind their canines and in front of their adult molars. Once all of those permanent teeth are in place, your child will be responsible for keeping all of their teeth healthy for the rest of their life. Great oral hygiene habits are essential!
Wisdom Tooth Eruption
The third molars are the final set of teeth to erupt in your child’s adult dentition. Since they make an arrival so late in life, they’re often referred to as “wisdom teeth.” Surprisingly, wisdom teeth have a wide window of time to make an appearance. They’re typically visible on X-rays during the pre-pubescent years or early adolescence. Everyone is different.
Wisdom teeth typically erupt sometime during the mid-high school years to well after college. Generally speaking, third molars will usually be completely developed by the time someone is 30 years old. That being said, it’s more common to have them removed during high school or college, due to the problematic side effects they tend to cause.
Pediatric Dentistry in Mesa
One of the great things about being a family dental practice is that we’re able to provide comprehensive care for all ages. Your entire family can access quality dental care under one roof. Instead of driving to a separate pediatric dentist, why not choose a family provider to see everyone in one location? As your child’s smile grows with us, we’ll work to develop lasting relationships that reduce dental phobia and aid in a healthy smile for years to come!
Call Eastport Dental today to request your child’s first dental checkup with us!