Dentistry for Kids: Dental Development & Growth

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Your child’s teeth and jaw development are crucial parts of their growth. Jaw development undergoes constant visible change until young adulthood, and even then, bone is dynamic and constantly remodelling: new bone is always created and old bone is resorbed. During jaw development, there will be certain periods where significant growth will occur, and this becomes important during orthodontic treatment in cases where the size of one or both jaws is deficient. The orthodontist may want to start certain parts of treatment to guide this bone growth during those critical growth spurts. It is possible to have some children between the ages of 7 and 9 undergoing some type of orthodontic treatment prior to treatment to straighten teeth.

There are guidelines as to when to expect certain milestones, such as your child’s first baby tooth, or their first adult molar, but it is important to remember that these ages are guidelines and many kids may develop prior or after and that is just fine. What is more important is that the pattern of tooth growth be there as expected (eg. baby lower incisors comes in before the baby molars). Read below for more information on when to expect the eruption and exfoliation of baby teeth, and the eruption of adult teeth. Feel free to bring up any questions you may have with your dentist.

When new teeth arrive

Baby Teeth

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Adult Teeth

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Your child’s first primary, or “baby” teeth will begin to erupt between the ages of six to 12 months, and will continue to erupt until about age three. The presence of symptoms with teething vary, and some children may not experience much discomfort at all while for some the experience of teething can be painful. Your child’s gums may feel tender and sore, they may not want to eat because their gums hurt, and even have a fever and be a bit moody! To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring. When your child has finished teething, you can expect a total of 20 primary teeth!

Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood, and their permanent teeth begin erupting at around age six, and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth; 32 teeth including wisdom teeth.

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