Children’s teeth begin forming a lot earlier than most people know – six months before birth. During infancy, as early as four months, the first primary teeth (baby teeth) erupt through the gums, typically the lower central incisors (front teeth), followed closely by the upper central incisors. Although all twenty primary teeth usually appear by age three, the pace and order of their eruption varies.
Did You Know?
The initial phase of permanent tooth eruption begins at around age six starting with the lower central incisors and the lower permanent first molars. This initial phase continues until almost age nine when eight incisors (four maxillary and four mandibular) have erupted. There is a pause during this middle mixed dentition phase (twelve baby teeth remaining) until age eleven. At that time it will seem like teeth are falling out every month. Children have 20 baby teeth while adults have 28 permanent teeth, not counting the third molars (or wisdom teeth).
More than 90% of children younger than age two will practice thumb-sucking in order to feel secure, happy, and at bedtime in order to provide themselves a sense of security. Since thumb sucking is somewhat reflexive, it may occur during sleep. In the early stages of your child’s life, thumb sucking is completely natural and shouldn’t cause any alarm.
Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth (age six) can alter craniofacial growth and lead to orthodontic problems. The intensity, frequency and duration, along with your child’s age, will influence the level of our concern. We generally recommend that parents ignore a thumb or pacifier habit for children younger than age three. We are a bit more concerned for those children over age four. We ask parents of these children to monitor their child with regard to the frequency, intensity and duration of the sucking habit. If all three variables are decreasing over time then intervention is not required.
Pacifiers are no substitute for thumb sucking. They can affect the teeth essentially the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs. However, use of the pacifier can be controlled and modified more easily than the thumb or finger habit. If you have concerns about thumb sucking or use of a pacifier, please talk to one of our doctors.
Meeting Your Child’s Dental Needs
At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, we will discover your child’s specific needs and help you address them in the best possible way. From finances to treatment decisions, we will work closely with you to discover the options that work best for both you and your child. Our patients are our top priority—as well as their parents! You can count on our team to provide your child with honest, reliable care that will help them maintain a healthy smile and work towards their dental goals! If you are looking for affordable pediatric dentistry in Cottonwood Heights and Holladay, UT, our team will go the extra mile to help your child receive the dental care that they deserve!