Baby Tooth Arrival: What’s Normal & What’s Not

When your baby’s first teeth come in, the first thing you probably do is reach for the baby book. After all, this is a momentous occasion! Baby teeth are so cute — so tiny and white. But not every baby develops temporary teeth in the best way. Not only that, but diet can adversely affect baby teeth just as it affects permanent teeth. So with baby tooth arrival, what’s normal and what’s not?

How the Teeth Come In

  1. Between the ages of 5 months and 12 months, your child might have about four baby teeth that come in. The two front teeth on the top, and the two front bottom teeth is a common arrangement.
  2. Between the ages of 8 months and 13 months, your baby might have a total of six temporary teeth, with four at the middle top and two at the bottom.
  3. At 13 to 19 months of age, it’s typical for a baby to have a whopping 12 baby teeth. Commonly, these will include the front four on the bottom with two molars, one on each side. The pattern often repeats at the top.
  4. By the time your baby is between 16 months and 23 months, it’s normal for there to be about 16 temporary teeth. Note that at this time, solid foods are being eaten regularly, and no permanent teeth have yet arrived in the mouth.
  5. Between two years old and three and a half years old, your youngster could have a whopping 20 temporary teeth.
  6. Now, between six and seven years old is when the permanent teeth start to arrive. They’ll appear at the back of the mouth as molars. After this point, baby teeth are replaced by permanent teeth one at a time.

All these stages are what’s considered normal by the American Dental Association. Your child’s tooth development may differ slightly.

What Could be Cause for Alarm

Now, there are several things that can go wrong during any of these stages. Here are some things that are not considered normal and need to be seen by a pediatric dentist.

  • A baby tooth falls out prematurely — before it’s time for a new one to grow in. See the dentist for troubleshooting.
  • The baby teeth start growing dark or turning black. This is a sign of tooth decay.
  • The baby teeth do not appear on schedule. Visit the dentist to address concerns.
  • The baby teeth come in crooked. Consult with your pediatric dentist for monitoring the progression.
  • The baby teeth fall out but no permanent teeth make an appearance. This calls for a visit to the dentist to see if there are underlying causes.
  • The baby teeth fail to make an appearance by age one. Again, the pediatric dentist needs to be seen to diagnose the problem.

This should give you a good idea of what is to be expected with your baby’s tooth development, and what the problem signs to look for. Remember, it’s important to bring your baby in for a dental checkup even before baby teeth make an appearance. Just as with adults, gum health plays an important role in overall dental health.

Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry specializes in children’s dentistry. Whether your child simply needs a regular cleaning, or if you’re concerned about possible dental problems down the road, we’re here to help. We invite you to schedule an initial consultation with our dental team today!


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