Baby Teeth vs Adult Teeth

What Are Teeth Made Of?

Let’s quickly debunk a common myth— no, teeth are not bones. The two, however, are similar in some ways. 99 percent of the calcium in our bodies is found in the bones and teeth making them the hardest substances within us. But although both are rigid structures and share a similar color, there are many differences. 

The primary difference between teeth and bones is that bones are living tissue while teeth are not. Bones likewise contain collagen and calcium phosphate, making for a more flexible structure. Teeth are composed of the following materials:

  • Dentin is a substance found under tooth enamel and is also very hard. It serves as support for the tooth.
  • Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and is on the outside of the tooth. According to the Mohs hardness scale, tooth enamel is as hard, or harder, than steel.
  • Cementum covers the roots of the teeth under the gumline and helps hold the tooth in place.
  • Pulp is the fleshy inside of the tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue.

Baby Teeth Basics

Baby teeth begin to emerge during a child’s first year and are usually gone by the age of 12. Baby teeth act as place holders, preserving space until adult teeth are ready to come in. There are a total of 20 baby teeth: 

  • Four lateral incisors
  • Four central incisors
  • Four second molars
  • Four first molars
  • Four cuspids (canine teeth)

Even though these teeth are not going to stick around, it is still very important they are well-maintained. Improper baby tooth care can lead to gum issues and infections that affect overall health. As your Utah pediatric dentistry specialists, we greatly encourage parents to help their children adopt good oral hygiene habits. 

Adult Teeth Basics

Of course, adult teeth are permanent and we only have one pair. Aside from some rare exceptions, adults will have a total of 32 teeth:

  • Four third molars (wisdom teeth)
  • Four second molars (12-year molars)
  • Four first molars (six-year molars)
  • Four central incisors
  • Four lateral incisors
  • Four cuspids
  • Four first bicuspids
  • Four second bicuspids

The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the last to emerge and usually grow in between the ages of 17 and 25. Because of insufficient space in the mouth and along the jaw, most people have their four wisdom teeth removed bringing their adult tooth total to 28.

All Teeth Need Proper Care

Regardless of age, the teeth in your mouth or your child’s mouth need consistent attention. It is important to follow a consistent tooth care routine and help your child learn the same. If you have any additional questions, your friendly Utah pediatric dentist at Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry is here to help. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today.

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American Fork, UT 84003

(801) 207-9080

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