What To Expect Of Baby Teeth

Looking after your oral health is a lifelong commitment. While it may be a lot of work to care for the teeth of fussy infants and squirmy toddlers, your children will reap the rewards of your effort in a healthy mouth, gums and teeth. SmartSmile offers a range of programs from baby oral health, children’s dental care to dental care for the whole family. Here’s where it begins.

Young child smiling

Understanding Primary Dentition

This is the first stage of tooth development in children. The term refers to the arrival of 20 deciduous teeth that erupt during the infant years, including four incisor teeth, two canines and four molars in each jaw. During pregnancy, the fetus’ jawline develops along with enlargements that later become teeth. These begin erupting through gum tissue around 6 months after birth, with one or two teeth appearing every month.

Eruption Schedule

The first teeth to erupt are bottom central incisors followed by the top four front teeth, according to the American Dental Association. The rest arrive in pairs, one on each side, until the child has 10 upper and 10 lower teeth. This commonly occurs between 2 and 3 years, and the teeth last until 6 or 7 years when they start to shed. By 13 years, a child’s primary teeth are mostly replaced by permanent teeth.

According to Canadian Dental Association, do not do the following as teeth are erupting:

  • Do not use the kind of painkiller that can be rubbed on your child’s gums. Your child may swallow it.
  • Do not give your child teething biscuits. They may have sugar added or contain hidden sugars.
  • Do not ignore a fever. Getting new teeth does not make babies sick or give them a fever. If your child has a fever, check with your doctor.

Baby teeth - help mouths grow up right with baby smiling

Factors That May Influence Eruption

Teething results in sleepless nights that can be exhausting for parents. Hopefully your child develops his or her teeth without incident. For parents eagerly anticipating baby teeth, these factors, listed by the Cleveland Clinic, may help you estimate the emergence of primary dentition:

  • Girls get their teeth earlier than boys, on average. The exception is the first upper molar, which may arrive earlier in boys.
  • The teeth in the lower jaw (mandible) erupt before those in the upper jaw (maxilla).
  • Children who are shorter than average may experience a slight delay in the eruption of primary teeth.
  • Patients living in warmer regions have earlier eruption of teeth than in colder regions.
  • People living in urban areas appear to get teeth faster than those in rural areas.
  • Children from disadvantaged social backgrounds may have delayed eruption of teeth.

 Primary Dentition Disorders

Patients of any age can experience dental disorders, and the problems commonly associated with primary teeth are eruption-related disorders. These include abnormal eruption patterns, early or late eruption, or premature eruption.

Early eruption commonly applies to individual teeth. However, if many teeth erupt early, it could indicate hyperthyroidism. Premature eruption is when immature teeth erupt still in their bud form. This can be a result of infection or trauma to the mouth.

The cause of early, late or premature large-scale eruption may be genetic or it could be a sign of the following:

  • Vitamin A or D deficiency, or other systemic disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Malformations
  • Infections or traumas

Occasionally, a primary tooth may be impacted, which could cause an infection.

Another primary dentition disorder is an eruption cyst, which is a sac containing fluid that forms on top of an erupting tooth. This is usually a raised, oval mound with a bluish colour, and it’s possible to compress it gently. Cysts typically resolve themselves after the tooth erupts, and no treatment is usually required. If a cyst remains after the tooth comes through, take the child to a paediatric dentist for an oral evaluation.

Diagram of baby teeth

Care and Management

It’s never too early to begin teaching your child good oral hygiene habits based on daily and brushing routine with kid/child-friendly products.

Taking care of your child’s teeth from day one is vital to ensure optimal dental health for decades. But don’t forget to enjoy those special moments when your baby cuts those very first teeth!

To find our more Contact Smile Dental Centre, and ask about our SmartStart program.

The Smile Dental Centre offers a full range of dental services backed by outstanding patient care for children and adults. The Smile Dental Centre won the Consumer Choice Award five years in a row (2013 – 2017) for general and cosmetic dentistry in the London, ON region. Now that’s something to smile about!