Baby teeth first begin to grow (beneath the gums) during the second trimester of pregnancy (around 16-20 weeks). During this time, it is especially important for expectant mothers to eat a healthy, nutritious diet, since a variety of nutrients are needed for healthy bone and soft tissue development.
Although every child is different, baby teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums when the infant is between six and eight months old. Usually, by age three, a child will have a full set of twenty baby teeth.
Which teeth will I see first?
In general, teeth emerge in pairs, starting at the front of the mouth. Between the ages of six and 10 months, the two lower front teeth emerge.
Next (and sometimes at the same time as the lower teeth), the two upper front teeth emerge – usually between the ages of eight and 12 months.
Between the ages of nine and 16 months, the upper lateral incisors emerge – the teeth on either side of the upper front teeth. Around the same time, the lower lateral incisors emerge - the teeth on either side of the lower front teeth. This means that the child will have four adjacent teeth on the upper and lower jaw.
Eight more teeth may emerge between the ages of 13 and 23 months. On the upper and lower jaw, a cuspid (canine tooth) will appear on each side of the four front teeth. Immediately behind (looking towards the back of the child’s mouth), first molars will emerge on either side of the canine teeth on both jaws.
Finally, a second set of molars will emerge on the upper and lower jaw – usually beginning on the lower jaw. Most children will have a complete set of twenty primary teeth before the age of three years old.
How can I reduce teething discomfort?
Teething can be quite uncomfortable, and some babies may have sore or tender gums. Gently rubbing your child's gums with a clean finger or a small, cool spoon can be soothing. With adult supervision, you can also give the baby a clean, wet, cold/frozen wash rag or teething ring to chew on. If your child is still cranky and in pain, consult your physician.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s baby teeth, please contact our office at 517-393-8500.
Day Family Dental
Dr. Nathan Day, DMD • Dentist • Lansing, MI