Primary dentition

The eruption of baby’s first teeth

With a few exceptions, babies are born without visible teeth in their mouths. But that doesn’t mean that teeth are non-existent; teeth develop in the first few weeks of life, inside the mother’s womb.

The eruption of the first teeth (primary dentition) takes place over a period of more or less three years. However, newborns may have a tooth or teeth at birth, which is called a premature rash. This situation is not worrying, but vigilance is required to avoid injuries to the tongue or mouth that could be caused by the presence of teeth.

Primary dentition, similar to permanent dentition

The 20 primary teeth have a configuration similar to permanent dentition:

  • 4 central incisors (directly under the nose, at the top and bottom);
  • 4 lateral incisors (always in front of the mouth, on each side of the central incisors);
  • 4 canines (commonly called fangs);
  • 8 molars (large teeth located towards the back of the mouth that are used to chew).

Primary teeth are brighter in whiteness than permanent teeth, hence the term “milk teeth”. This is due to the thickness of the enamel and the higher amount of dentin in permanent teeth. Indeed, dentine is relatively yellowish in colour. It is therefore normal that the permanent teeth newly appearing in the mouth are not of the same colour as the milk teeth previously present.

Role of primary dentition

  • Allow chewing of food;
  • Good elocution (sounds of the spoken language);
  • Greatly influences the aesthetics of the face by having a direct impact on the development of the jaws, thus modifying the shape of the face and the smile of the child.

In addition, primary dentition has a decisive role in the future dentition since it serves as a guide by preserving and maintaining the space for the arrival of permanent dentition.

Remember that some primary teeth will be in the mouth until the age of twelve.

The breakthrough of baby’s teeth

Teeth are formed from the 6th month of the child’s life until about 3 years of age. The primary teeth will pierce the gums one after the other. The progression of the eruption of the teeth is from the centre of the mouth backwards (approaching the ears), with the exception of the canines, which will be preceded by the first molars.

Generally, the central incisors will appear first in the lower jaw alternating with those at the top, followed by the other teeth.

The eruption schedule of teeth

  • Central incisors: between the 6th and 8th month.
  • Lateral incisors: between the 7th and 9th month.
  • 1st molars: between the 12th and 16th month.
  • Canines: between the 16th and 20th month.
  • 2nd molars: between the 20th and 30th month.

This schedule is purely indicative and nothing is alarming if the eruption of the teeth is delayed a little or starts earlier than expected.

Offer regular drinks to avoid dehydration

Since saliva production is more abundant during periods of tooth eruption, avoid dehydration by offering regular drinks. Around the age of three and a half, if the primary teeth are not completely erupted, consult your dentist to avoid concerns.