We all love a picture of a giggling baby with an open mouth and no teeth to show. There may not be anything cuter. But, many parents are surprised to find out that babies are actually born with teeth. They’re just not visible until they emerge when the baby is, on average, six to 12 months old. New moms and dads have lots of questions about teeth. We compile some of them here for you.

Once the first tooth comes in, the rest quickly follow. Most kids have a full set of baby teeth by the time they are 3 years old. That’s 20 teeth, to be exact. 10 in the upper arch and 10 in the lower dental arch. These teeth include 4 incisors, 2 canines, and 4 baby molars per arch.

At around 5-7 years old, the baby — or milk teeth — begin to fall out one by one. This is natural: the permanent teeth are coming in and are pushing out the baby teeth.

Kids have their full set of permanent teeth by age 12 or 13. Third molars, or wisdom teeth, grow between the ages 17-25. Some kids don’t grow them at all.

There are 32 permanent teeth in total.

When does my child need to see the dentist?

By age 1 or the eruption of the first tooth. This allows the dentist to make sure oral health care is being done properly at home, examine your child to make sure everything is developing normally and establish a relationship with you and your child that will make their future dental experiences easier and more predictable.

When do I start brushing/cleaning the teeth?

The teeth should be cleaned either with a moist washcloth or a soft toothbrush once they are erupting into the mouth. At first, no toothpaste is applied but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry does recommend starting to introduce a fluoride releasing toothpaste as a smear on top of the bristles after the age of 1.

What do I do with a knocked out tooth? Is it gone forever?

Stay calm and take your child, as well as the tooth, to the dentist immediately. Many times if it is a baby tooth, nothing will need to be done except examine the area for signs of the trauma. For adult teeth, it’s much more critical. If possible, put the tooth back into the gums. Read our post about knocked out teeth here. You need to know how to preserve the tooth so you don’t lose your chance to restore it.

If my child splits her lip but there’s nothing wrong with her teeth, can I bring her to the dentist?

Absolutely. Dentists are trained to treat all oral injuries. When we can’t help you, we have connections to area oral surgeons that would be able to assist further. Taking your child to the ER is typically not the preferred option. Read why here.

Is thumb sucking and other oral habits bad for the mouth?

Yes, it can be very detrimental to dental and facial bone development. Stopping this habit in a timely manner will protect your child’s teeth and gums. Read about it here.

Does my child need braces before all the adult teeth are in?

We can assess it with a free orthodontic evaluation. Early detection and interceptive treatment can shorten, simplify, or even completely remove, the need for treatment later on. Read about interceptive orthodontics and how it helps children’s dental health and development.

About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options.  We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.

39400 Garfield Rd., Suite 200
Clinton Township, MI
Phone: 586-286-0700
Fax: 586-286-5932