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The Pediatric Tooth Timeline

The Pediatric Tooth Timeline

by Jillian Cheney

6 – 12 Months: Baby’s First Teeth

Baby’s first teeth start arriving in this period! It’s an exciting time for parents, but not so much for the little one. Expect the following symptoms as your child attempts to relieve pressure on gums: biting, drooling, lack of sleep, irritability and decreased appetite. To help soothe irritated gums, use a clean finger, teething ring or clean gauze pad and rub gently against the gums.

  • A note on teething gels/tablets: The FDA recommends that parents do not give children benzocaine–a drug found in many over-the-counter teething gels if they are under 2 years old, as serious or fatal conditions can come from the drug. A pediatrician may recommend a teething gel; if so, use as directed and with supervision. The FDA also found  amounts of toxic substances in many tablets that caused serious seizures and other effects in infant users.

1 Year: Molars

For most, molars will have appeared along with the center top and bottom teeth. As with everything, the development of teeth can vary, but if a first tooth hasn’t appeared, it may be time to call your pediatrician.

2 Years: First Full Set

A full set of teeth will have come in by now. It is important at this stage to take good care of your child’s teeth by brushing and keeping them clean. Children who develop cavities in this stage are more likely to develop cavities as adults, so start good habits now.

  • A note on toothpaste: Many children will swallow toothpaste, and swallowing fluoride can be toxic in large amounts and can actually damage teeth. Use fluoride-free toothpaste or small amounts until you are certain they will spit it out.

6 – 12 Years: Baby Teeth to Adult Teeth

Baby teeth start to fall out during this time as they are replaced with adult teeth! Highlight dental hygiene during this time especially, as they should be able to brush their teeth on their own, and this is the last set of teeth they will receive. The American Dental Association doesn’t recommend pulling your child’s tooth (especially not with string and a doorknob) because it may cause pain or may not be time for the tooth to fall out. If your child is really ready to lose a tooth, wiggle it gently with a clean tissue, and it should come out if it’s ready. If it isn’t, wait a little longer.

See Also

  • On the Tooth Fairy: One of the most exciting parts about childhood and teeth development is getting a visit from the Tooth Fairy. As a parent, there are several ways to handle this and make it fun for you and your child. Glitter is always, always appropriate–whether it be “footsteps” on the windowsill or glitter-dusted money. There are also several trinkets online, such as Tooth Fairy wands or pennies that can be left near the child’s bed. Have a light sleeper? No worries. DIY or buy a Tooth Fairy trinket box or pillow the child can leave in the bedroom or somewhere else in the house.

12+ Years: Adult Teeth

As adult teeth come in, it is likely problems will become apparent, whether it be a bad bite or just a few crooked teeth. See an orthodontist as adult teeth start coming in to see any problems early and determine whether or not a child will need braces. After all adult teeth come in, your child may need to get braces, though the time is up to you and your orthodontist. Braces may stay on from a year to four or five depending on the work that’s needed, but most come off in about two. During this time, brushing your teeth is a little more difficult and very important, as food can easily get lodged in braces and cause plaque buildup and cavities. And don’t forget to wear your retainer when you’re through!

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