Childhood is littered with milestones; the first time they crawl, the first time they speak, the first time they pull themselves up. While some of these moments might be bigger than others, the nature of early childhood development is that our kids are always learning, always growing, and finding new ways to interact with our world.
There is one milestone, however, that your kids will experience without any effort on their part, though that makes it no less important or exciting: getting teeth. Like seeing their natural eye color come to the fore, your child’s first teeth add so much character to their little face that just seeing them jabber is a thrill.
Their First Teeth
Once that first tooth makes its appearance, there’s a tip that every parent should consider in order to promote the best dental care for their children: set up an appointment at Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry as soon as possible.
The fact of the matter is that tooth decay is the number one disease affecting children today and it is communicable by adults and other kids. The bacteria that will give that little tooth its first cavity is passed on through the air, from one mouth to another. The best tooth care for your kids is found in early trips to the dentist.
That being said, what can a parent expect when it comes to the rest of their child’s teeth? You may be happy to learn that we can not only predict how soon your child will typically start getting teeth but we can also say which ones will come first.
Early Eruption Guide
On average, a pediatric dentist will register the first tooth’s appearance somewhere within the first 4-6 months of the child’s life. From there, there are 19 more teeth to go. These teeth will not only be important for the baby as the kid learns to chew and eat solid foods but they will also guide the general shape and structure of their face and mouth.
Eruption charts can be found in every pediatric dentistry clinic, detailing how and when the teeth form in the gums.
- First to appear are the baby’s central incisors, lower then upper.
- Then the lateral incisors next to those, usually upper then lower.
- Often, here the first molars appear in the back of the mouth.
- Then the canines erupt through, at 16-23 months.
- Finally, the last molars will appear.
It’s exciting to see all the little teeth begin breaking through the gums. Naturally, this will cause some discomfort in the child’s mouth, which will lead them to teethe.
The Why of Teething
Teething has multiple functions and is, therefore, a part of the child’s life after just a few months of birth. Firstly, teething prepares the gums for the eruption of a tooth. You may see your baby start to put everything they can get their hands on into their mouths even before they have teeth — this is all part of that crucial preparation period.
Secondly, teething is about lessening pain for new teeth. The sensations both from the gums and the newly arrived teeth are acute and there’s a soothing effect as the baby starts to gnaw on a bumpy toy or a bit of hard plastic.
Thirdly, as babies teethe they get used to using their tongues both as a tool to taste things as well as an aid in pushing food towards the teeth for chewing. This lets them examine the space within their mouths which will later help them when they’re learning to speak.
The Teething Timeline
Since babies will begin to teethe before their teeth have fully developed, teething can last anywhere from three months to three years. This is generally accompanied by certain symptoms that are totally natural:
- Fluctuations in appetite
- Rubbing their gums with toys
At this monumental stage, your baby will unwittingly have the same goals that you do — get the best care possible for their teeth. Remember that the best dental care for children is to bring them to their pediatric dentist, like Timpanogos Pediatric, early and often.