Whether your first child has just begun teething, your third child’s teeth are coming in slower than anticipated, the appearance of baby teeth is both an exciting and important time for you and your child. Of course, most parents want to know how to prepare for baby teeth and what is and isn’t normal during the first few years of growth. Although it’s safe to say that baby teeth erupt in just about the same order and around the same time for each child, timing is somewhat flexible. Those 20 teeth are simply waiting under your child’s gums to make their first appearance, and although these patterns and times aren’t set in stone, they are a great time guide and overview to prepare yourself for what’s to come.
At around the same time you begin introducing solid foods, you will likely notice your child’s incisor teeth making their first appearance. These little teeth make may make for an adorable smile, but they do more than simply bring your own smile to your face. These teeth are built to bite into foods, or on the rare occasion your finger or their favorite teething toys. Your child may still be using the backs of their gums to “chew” their food, but those front teeth are the earliest to spot. What’s the timeline for these pearly whites?
Around month 6 to 1 year: First, the bottom front teeth will begin to appear, followed by the upper incisors.
Around month 9 to month 16: You’ll begin to spot the lateral front incisor teeth, to be followed by the lateral teeth on the bottom of the mouth.
Of course, you might be nervous when you’re child becomes more “mouthy” as those incisors begin to make their way into the world, but it’s completely normal for your child to test out their new teeth. Just be certain that what goes into their mouth, even solid foods, are on the softer side.
Larger Teeth / First Molars
Here comes another bout of teething pain. The first molars are the highly important teeth that allow your child to properly grind up and chew their foods, but they don’t come without their discomfort. However, as the first set of upper and lower molars come in, you can begin introducing a wider variety of solid foods into their diet.
Around 13 to 18 months: The upper molars begin to appear, followed later by the lower molars. Use this time to give your child healthy solid food snacks to help them develop good chewing habits.
Canines / Cuspids
After a year of age, the teeth between the incisors and first molars will begin to find their space. These strong and pointed teeth will help your child while breaking and ripping apart foods.
Around 16 to 23 months: You’ll begin to spot the top canines as they make their descent first. Several months later, the lower pair will follow suit.
It’s not until toddlerhood that your child’s second molars will begin to appear. In most cases, it’s by the age of 3 that a full set of teeth can be seen, completing a beautiful smile!
Around 23 to 33 months: The second pair of molars begin erupting through the gums. This begins with the bottom pair and ends with the upper molars.
The Important Role of Baby Teeth
Your child’s baby teeth may only be temporary, but they’re still quite important. It’s with these teeth that they’ll have their first experiences properly chewing and eating solid foods. Throughout their first 3 years, proper speech formations will develop along with their growing jaw muscles, and baby teeth will create the right amount of space when permanent teeth begin to push through. Within these first few years, develop a healthy and simple mouth care routine to keep those baby teeth happy, healthy, and clean.
Of course, every child is different, and although the above timeline is an accurate depiction of when your child’s teeth should be emerging, it may differ from this schedule. The most important thing to remember is that once teeth begin to show or your child has turned 1, it’s time to schedule their first dental appointment.