Primary Dentition

Eruption of baby’s first teeth

With few exceptions, babies are born without visible teeth in their mouths. But that doesn’t mean that teeth don’t exist; teeth develop in the first few weeks of life, inside the mother’s womb.

The eruption of the first teeth (the primary dentition) takes place over a period of more or less three years. However, sometimes newborns present one or more teeth at birth; this is called premature eruption. This is not a cause for concern, but vigilance is required to avoid injuries to the tongue or mouth that could be caused by the presence of teeth.

The primary dentition, similar to the permanent dentition

The 20 primary teeth have a configuration similar to the permanent dentition:

  • 4 central incisors (directly under the nose, above and below);
  • 4 lateral incisors (always in front of the mouth, on each side of the central incisors);
  • 4 canines (commonly called fangs);
  • 8 molars (large teeth located towards the back of the mouth which are used to chew).

Primary teeth are whiter than permanent teeth, hence the term “baby teeth”. This is due to the greater thickness of the enamel and the greater amount of dentin in these teeth.

Role of the primary dentition

  • To allow the chewing of food;
  • Good elocution (spoken language sounds);
  • Greatly influences the aesthetics of the face by having a direct impact on the development of the jaws, thus modifying the shape of the face and the child’s smile.

In addition, the primary dentition has a determining role on the future dentition since it serves as a guide in preserving and maintaining the space for the arrival of the permanent dentition.

Remember that some primary teeth will be in the mouth until the age of twelve.

The breakthrough of baby’s teeth

The breakthrough of the teeth begins from the 6th month of the child’s life until about 3 years of age. The primary teeth will erupt through the gums one after the other. The progression of the eruption of the teeth is done from the center of the mouth towards the back (approaching the ears), except for the canines which will be preceded by the first molars.

Generally, the central incisors will appear first in the lower jawalternating with the upper ones, followed by the other teeth.

The tooth eruption calendar

  • Central incisors: between the 6th and 8th month.
  • Lateral incisors: between the 7th and 9th month.
  • 1st molars: between the 12th and 16th month.
  • Canines: between the 16th and 20th month.
  • 2nd molars: between the 20th and 30th month.

This timetable is purely indicative and nothing is alarming if the eruption of the teeth is delayed a little or starts earlier than announced.

Offer regular fluids to avoid dehydration

Since saliva production is highest during periods of tooth eruption, avoid dehydration by offering regular fluids. Around the age of three and a half, if the primary dentition is not completely erupted, consult your dentist to avoid concerns.