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Tooth Development in Children

Topic Overview

Your child's primary teeth usually begin to break through the gums (erupt) at about 6 months of age. This is called teething.

  • Teeth break through the gums in a certain order, typically from the front to the back of the mouth.
    • Lower teeth often appear 1 to 2 months before the corresponding upper teeth.
    • A change in the order in which the teeth come in may indicate a problem, such as an infection or not enough space for the tooth to grow.
  • All of a child's first 20 primary teeth should come in between the ages of 6 months and 3 years.
  • Girls' teeth come in a little earlier than do boys' teeth.

Your child's first permanent molars emerge from the gum behind the primary teeth at about age 6, at the same time he or she begins to lose front primary teeth.

  • Children lose their 20 primary teeth between the ages of 6 and 11 years.
  • Sometimes a permanent tooth will begin to come in before a child loses the primary tooth. This usually is not a problem unless the primary tooth is not loose. In that case, a dentist will need to remove the primary tooth.
  • A child's front permanent teeth may angle away from the center and look crooked. This is normal, and the teeth should straighten out naturally as the other permanent teeth come in.
  • After the permanent teeth have replaced the primary teeth, the child's last molars will come in (four second molars and four wisdom teeth). This takes place sometime during ages 12 to 21.
  • Sometimes wisdom teeth do not come in properly and need to be removed.

Normally, a person will have 32 adult teeth.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
Current as of June 7, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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