Pediatric Dental Milestones

Brunette mom sits on the floor of a family room flooded with natural light, embraced by her young son and daughter

At Sunshine Pediatric Dentistry, we care for the smiles of children of all ages. We love seeing our young patients grow through the many stages of early life. Many important milestones occur during this time, from your child’s first word to their first step to their first day of school. There are also regular dental-related milestones your child should experience throughout their childhood. To help you prepare for these transition periods, we’ve put together this brief guide with tips on how to handle them.

Teething

You should notice signs of teething between three and six months of age; your baby may start drooling more, have trouble sleeping, and chew a lot on objects or their fingers. This means that their baby teeth are coming! All babies are different and some may experience teething sooner or later than others, with varying degrees of pain. Provide cold washcloths, teething toys, and gentle gum massages to soothe their discomfort. Additionally, wipe your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth after feedings to keep their mouth clean and healthy. By age one, your child should have at least one tooth. At this point, we recommend visiting our friendly team for a checkup.

Eruption of 20 Baby Teeth

Your baby’s front teeth will most likely come in first, followed by their first molars. Molars are bigger, so this stage of teething may be more painful for your child. Be sure to give a lot of cuddles. It will get better soon! By age three, your toddler should have a full set of 20 primary teeth. Check out this tooth eruption chart by the American Dental Association to learn specific age ranges you can expect to see each tooth.

Shedding of Baby Teeth

Typically, kids will lose their baby teeth between the ages of six and 12, though the exact timeline will vary for each child. When a tooth becomes loose, refrain from pulling it. Instead, encourage your child to gently wiggle it with a clean finger or tissue. It will come out when it’s ready! Yanking out loose teeth before they’re ready to come out can damage your child’s gums, cause unnecessary trauma and bleeding, and potentially harm the underlying permanent tooth.

Eruption of 28 Adult Teeth

As the baby teeth fall out, permanent adult teeth will begin to emerge. This isn’t as painful as the initial teething stage because the baby teeth have acted as placeholders for the underlying adult teeth. By age 13, your child should have a full set of 28 permanent teeth (minus wisdom teeth).

Possible Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends an orthodontic consultation by the time your child is seven years old. At this stage of oral development, some kids may benefit from early-intervention braces, though many kids won’t need braces until pre-adolescence or their teenage years. Braces can make a world of difference in confidence and preventing future dental problems! A straight smile is easier to keep clean and healthy, and will help your child be proud to show their grin.

Wisdom Teeth Assessment

The last set of adult teeth to emerge are the wisdom teeth. They come in during late adolescence or early adulthood (ages 17-25). Your child could have anywhere from zero to four of these late-blooming molars. Depending on the angle and positioning of your child’s wisdom teeth, we may recommend removal of these third molars to prevent future dental problems, such as pain, misalignment, overcrowding, jaw dysfunction, infection, and increased risk of decay and gum disease.

If you have questions about any of these dental milestones, contact us today.

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