You can take your 2-year-old to the dentist within 6-12 months of their first tooth eruption. The dental appointment may include a full examination of your child’s teeth, gums, jaws, bite, and other tissues to check their growth and development. If needed, a gentle cleaning may be done.
Your child’s first dental visit is critical for establishing a foundation for their dental care and allows you to address the following:
- Assessment of first teeth
- Management of oral habits, such as finger sucking
- Connection between diet and oral health
- Development of gums and jawline
- Toddler dental health care
Taking your toddler to the dentist at a young age will also help them avoid developing a phobia of the dentist.
When does tooth development begin?
Development of primary, milk, or deciduous teeth begins in the womb. Good nutrition with adequate amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins C and D during pregnancy contribute to proper teeth development in a growing fetus.
At about week 5 of gestation, the first buds of milk teeth start to appear in the fetal jaws. At birth, your baby will have a full set of 20 primary teeth hidden under their gums.
Stages of tooth development are follows:
- Stage 1: At about week 5 of gestation, the first buds of milk teeth start to appear in the fetal jaws.
- Stage 2: At about 3-4 months of gestation, the hard tissue that surrounds the teeth is formed.
- Stage 3: At birth, your baby will have a full set of 20 primary teeth hidden under their gums. After birth, teeth begin to erupt through the gum.
- Stage 4: Finally, primary "baby" teeth begin to fall out to make way for permanent teeth.
What are different types of teeth that develop?
Types of teeth
- Incisors: Front teeth in the upper and lower jaws. Each incisor has a thin edge, and both upper and lower incisors come together like a pair of scissors to bite through food.
- Canines: Pointy teeth on both sides of the incisors in the upper and lower jaws. They are primarily used to tear food.
- Premolars: These teeth have flat surfaces that crush food.
- Molars: These are larger teeth in the back of the mouth with broad, flat surfaces that help grind food.
Parts of a tooth
- Enamel: Outer layer of the tooth
- Dentin: Inner layer under the enamel
- Pulp: Soft connective tissue inside the tooth that houses all the nerves and blood capillaries
- Root: Deepest part of the tooth that secures the tooth to the jaw
When do baby teeth come in or erupt?
In babies, tooth eruption usually begins between 6-12 months of age. Most baby teeth will come in by 33 months. Girls’ teeth tend to erupt faster than boys. General tooth eruption order is as follows:
- Central incisor on the lower jaw
- Second central incisor on the lower jaw
- Four upper incisors
- First four molars
- Remaining bottom two lateral incisors next to the central incisors
- Pointed teeth or cupids
- Four second molars
Typically, about one tooth erupts per month, and there is often space between the baby teeth that leaves room for the larger permanent teeth to come in.
When do permanent teeth come in?
Primary teeth may start to fall out to make way for adult teeth at about age 6. Central incisors are usually the first teeth to be lost, which is followed by the eruption of the first permanent molars.
The last primary tooth is usually lost around age 12, and then, the cupid or second molar is lost. Finally, there will be a total of 32 permanent or adult teeth.
How to help protect your baby’s teeth
- Clean your baby’s gums with a sterile, damp cloth.
- When your baby’s first tooth appears, begin brushing with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a very small amount of toothpaste.
- Avoid giving your child a bottle of milk, juice, or sweetened drink at bedtime or when they are put down to nap, as this can lead to cavities
- Limit sugary foods and treats, as these can contribute to tooth decay.
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Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Stanford Children's Health. Anatomy and Development of the Mouth and Teeth. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=anatomy-and-development-of-the-mouth-and-teeth-90-P01872
American Dental Association. Eruption Charts. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/e/eruption-charts
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