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How to Use a Tooth Eruption Chart to Track Your Child's Emerging Teeth

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

As a parent, seeing your child's first baby tooth erupt can be such a joy, but waiting for your child's teeth to emerge can feel much less pleasant. What's happening in their mouth can seem like a mystery. When can you expect your child's teeth to emerge? When should you be worried and seek an appointment with a pediatric dentist? Read on to get the answer to all those questions and learn how to track your child's emerging teeth with a tooth eruption chart.

What's a Tooth Eruption Chart?

Have you wondered when your child's primary teeth will come in or fall out? Or when you can expect to see permanent teeth erupt? Teeth have different shapes and sizes, and so the timeline in which they will erupt can differ. That's where a tooth eruption chart can help. This chart from the American Dental Association can tell you when to expect primary and permanent teeth to emerge. But don't forget, while this chart can guide you, eruption timelines vary from child to child.

How do you use the chart? Once you see your child's first tooth sprout, you can use it as a marker. The timelines stated on the chart can help you predict when the next ones will emerge.

Some other things to keep in mind as you start tracking tooth eruption include:

  • Usually, four teeth will erupt every six months of life.
  • Teeth erupt in pairs in both jaws – one on the right, one on the left.
  • Lower teeth erupt before upper teeth in most cases.
  • Primary teeth are whiter in color and smaller in size than permanent teeth.

What Can an Eruption Chart Tell Me?

In terms of your child's primary teeth, you can expect that your little one will sprout 20 teeth in total. Did you know that they are already present within your child's jaw at birth? The American Dental Association confirms that this is the case. According to the tooth eruption chart, the first teeth (usually the two bottom central incisors) break through the gums between six to ten months. Next, the top four teeth emerge. Then the other teeth start emerging in pairs. The chart notes that all teeth would have typically emerged by 33 months.

The primary teeth started falling out or shedding by age six. This process takes many years and typically begins with the top and bottom incisors.

In terms of permanent teeth, they start erupting once the baby teeth begin to loosen and fall out. In some kids, the first molars are the first permanent teeth to emerge, while in other kids, the incisors are the first ones to erupt. You can expect 28 permanent teeth to be in place by age 13. As for third molar eruption, the chart notes that one to four third molars (commonly known as wisdom teeth) will emerge between ages 17-21, leaving your child with 32 teeth.

When to Call Your Pediatric Dentist

When your child's first baby teeth emerge, don't be alarmed if your child has sore or tender gums. Rubbing a clean finger or a small, cool spoon against the gums can be smoothing. If your child continues to be cranky, consult your pediatric dentist or physician.

If your child's teeth don't come in as per the expected time noted in your tooth eruption chart, it's natural to feel anxious. Don't forget that every child is unique and that their teeth will develop differently. That said, don't hesitate to make an appointment with your pediatric dentist. Rest assured that they will be able to guide you.

As a parent, your child's oral health is very important to you! The combined help of a teeth eruption chart and your pediatric dentist's assistance can ensure that your child's mouth stays healthy and their smile bright for many years to come.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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