If you have children then you know how painful—for the parent and child—the teething process is. Teething is the process by which an infant’s first teeth appear, emerging through the gums and typically arriving in pairs.
To most new parents, the process seems barbaric as the new teeth appear to rip through the gums and cause everything from disrupted sleep to fevers. After the early days of teething, then you enter the stages of tooth loss and permeant tooth eruption.
If you have ever been curious about the process and whether your child’s tooth eruption falls within the “normal” timeframe for most kids, then keep reading. We will break down the rumors, myths and straight-out lies about the teething process.
Most children have 20 teeth beneath the gum line at birth that are just waiting to erupt. However, in very rare circumstances, there are children who are actually born with a full set of teeth! More commonly (at approximately 1 out of every 2,000), a baby is born with a single tooth. Called “natal teeth,” these teeth occur more commonly in children with cleft palates or lips. About 15 percent of babies born with teeth have close family members that had natal teeth when they were born, too.
For the vast majority of children, the first tooth erupts by about six months. The level of pain that a baby can handle will be different for each child. Some may appear to suffer more than others while they’re teething, which will frequently break parents’ hearts. Common symptoms include drooling or dribbling, increased chewing, mood changes, irritability or crankiness, and swollen gums. The soreness and swelling of the gums before a tooth comes through is the cause for the pain and fussiness a baby experiences during this change.
The first teeth to erupt are almost always the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors. The last set is usually the second molars that appear at approximately 2-3 years.
Losing baby teeth
Not long after a child’s fourth birthday, the jaw and facial bones begin to change to make room for the permanent teeth. Just as they were the first teeth to come in, the central incisors are usually the first teeth to fall out. Around six years old you may see your child start wiggling their teeth.
Baby teeth loosen as the roots dissolve and clear the way for permanent teeth. Most kids have their first loose tooth at age 5 or 6, but it can happen when they’re as young as 4 or as old as 8! (Children whose baby teeth erupted early usually lose them before late teethers do.)
When a baby tooth falls out, the big tooth is usually underneath the gums, waiting to erupt. Your child’s permanent teeth will have ridges on the biting edges at first (because they haven’t been worn down yet through chewing), and they’ll be slightly less white than baby teeth were. And just like all children are on different schedules for their teeth erupting, children also lose their teeth at different speeds. There is a wide range of normal, and if you are concerned you can always call us here at Dr. Marchbanks’ office.
Fun facts about teeth
The teeth are a fascinating component of the human body—and we don’t say that just because we’re dentists! Here are some fun facts:
- Teeth begin their journey even before the baby is born.
- The first tooth-like organ develops in the womb when the fetus is just six weeks old.
- After birth, every human has a unique bite impression, just like fingerprints.
- Finally, permanent teeth play a huge role in speech patterns. Permanent teeth help shape the mouth which contributes to speech. If you child has a speech impediment, it could be due to the placement of their teeth.
There are a lot of changes in your child’s mouth in their first few years, and that means it is vitally important to take care of their teeth through all of these transitions. If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Arlington, TX then give our office a call today!