The Teething Process
Your child’s teeth started forming before birth, and normally their first tooth will erupt into the mouth between ages 6 to 12 months. Their gums can be sore, tender and sometimes irritable throughout the teething process. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits—they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.
In most children, the lower central incisors will appear first, then the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3, but the place and order varies.
Permanent teeth begin eruption around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 12. Adults have 28 permanent teeth or 32 including the wisdom teeth.
Your Baby’s New Teeth
The primary, or “baby,” teeth play a crucial role in dental development. First and foremost, they allow a child to eat and maintain good nutrition. Healthy teeth also allow for clear pronunciation and speech habits, and the self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable.
Primary teeth also guide eruption of the permanent teeth, so infants with missing primary teeth or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked.