At birth the crowns of all 20 of the newborn’s “baby” or primary teeth are almost completely formed. They erupt through the gums during the first 2 ½ years of life until the full set is complete by around 3 years of age. Although the front teeth can begin the eruption process as early as 6 months of age, the timing is subject to variation.
Even though the baby teeth are “temporary,” they are deserving of optimum care since they are needed for chewing, speaking and appearance. Additionally, they hold the space in the jaw for permanent teeth which move into place as the primary teeth are shed. Parents may not be aware that primary teeth can develop cavities, infection, and pain in the same way as permanent teeth can.
Infection from decayed primary teeth can damage the permanent teeth underneath them. There are twenty primary teeth, some of which may stay in the mouth until your child is approximately 13 years old.
The adult teeth will begin to erupt around age 6 with the primary teeth starting to shed at about the same time. There is a period between ages 8 and 10 where there are no teeth lost and no new teeth that come in. This is called the “mixed dentition” phase. Following this stage, the remaining baby teeth are shed and permanent teeth continue to erupt until around the age of 13. The Wisdom (Third Molars) Teeth are the last teeth to emerge at around the age of 18, completing the full set of 32 permanent teeth.