Happy girl showing her stages of tooth eruption

How do children’s teeth develop over the years?

If you have a child, you may be curious about the process of how your little one’s teeth develop, which stages your child’s smile goes through, and how teeth break through the gums. We’re here to give you some insight! 

At Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we love educating parents and helping young children achieve and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. Let’s dive into the unique stages of tooth eruption:

Stages of tooth eruption

Understanding the different stages of tooth eruption can help you and your child develop positive oral hygiene habits that support a lifetime of beautiful smiles!

Stage 1: Baby teeth emerge

During the first stage of smile development, baby teeth erupt through the gums! This process can be uncomfortable for your little one, and he or she will likely feel some pain or tenderness in the gums. We call this ‘teething’ as their mouth is making space for new teeth. 

These tiny teeth usually come in pairs, with the two bottom front teeth appearing first, followed by the two top front teeth, and then the molars at the back of the mouth. 

Girls’ teeth tend to emerge before boys’ teeth! By the time your little one is 3 years old, he or she should have a full set of baby teeth, including 20 teeth in total.

Stage 2: Permanent teeth emerge

As children grow, their baby teeth start to fall out to make way for your permanent teeth. 

How do teeth grow through gums? Permanent teeth form underneath baby teeth, and as the roots of the baby teeth dissolve, the adult teeth push their way up and through the gums.

When do permanent teeth form? This process usually starts when they’re about 6 years old, and it can continue until they’re about 12 years old. 

First, the molars will come in at the back of the mouth, followed by the front teeth. Your teen will have a total of 32 adult teeth when the permanent teeth are done emerging!

Stage 3: Final growth and formation

Your child’s permanent teeth will continue to grow and develop until he or she is about 17-21 years old. Third molars (wisdom teeth) generally come in between the ages of 17 and 21. After the wisdom teeth emerge, your child will have their full set of adult teeth!

Are babies born with all teeth in their skull?

No, babies are not born with all of their teeth in their skull. They’re only born with a full set of baby teeth in the gums. The permanent teeth start to develop in the jaws at birth and continue to develop after your child is born.

How to protect teeth through the years

From your child’s first tooth erupting, to their last tooth developing, it’s important that they develop strong dental hygiene habits and commit to protecting their teeth in the long run!

Cavities (tooth decay), gum disease, and tooth loss due to decay or damage are all preventable. Work with your child to come up with a fun and effective dental hygiene routine that keeps their teeth clean, day and night.

If your child plays sports, please make sure to get them a mouthguard! Mouthguards are essential for protecting their smile from impact. Studies by the American Dental Association show that sports players who don’t use mouthguards have more than twice the increased risk of injury to the face and jaw bones! 

At your next visit, please let us know if your child is in need of a mouthguard and we’ll help you choose the right one.

Still have questions about general growth and development?

If you have any questions about children’s dental growth and development, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Browse our website for answers to your FAQs, and learn about what you can expect on your first visit.

We’re proud to be a trusted children’s dentist near you in North Tampa, South Tampa, Bradenton and Town ‘n’ Country! Request an appointment with Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry today.