When Do Kids Get Their Permanent Teeth?
A major milestone in the life of any child (and their parents) is the moment they began to change their baby teeth. Apart from helping children to eat and speak, the primary teeth play a major role as ‘space holders’ in the jaw for permanent teeth. Children are supposed to have 20 primary teeth, 10 in the upper jaw and 10 in the lower jaw, which are eventually replaced by 32 permanent teeth, 16 in each jaw. These baby teeth exfoliate (fall out) at different times during childhood and by age 12, all permanent teeth (excluding 3rd molars/wisdom) are usually present.
Permanent tooth eruption sequence
Permanent tooth eruption can begin as early as the age of 4 or as late as the age of 8, and it can be influenced by genetics and several other factors. Children who lose their baby teeth early will likely get their permanent teeth early as well. Likewise, delayed eruption of baby teeth means that permanent tooth eruption is usually also delayed. Permanent teeth usually erupt in pairs in a predictable sequence, typically as follows:
- The first permanent teeth to erupt are the “first molars”. These teeth do not replace any baby teeth but instead, they erupt in the space in the back of the gums between the ages of 5 and 7. You will get 4 of these teeth-2 in the upper jaw and 2 in the lower jaw.
- The 4 central incisors (top 2 front teeth and top 2 bottom teeth) are usually the first set of baby teeth your child will lose that will be replaced by permanent teeth. This usually happens around age 6-7.
- The permanent lateral incisors (the 4 teeth on either side of the top and bottom front teeth) are next to erupt, replacing the baby teeth. This typically occurs between the ages of 7-9.
- The 2 canine teeth (the pointy teeth beside the lateral incisors) in the bottom jaw usually follow next, followed by the 4 premolars. In most cases, these all emerge between the ages of 9 and 12.
- The top canine teeth and premolars usually follow between ages 10 and 12.
- The second molars on the top then the bottom usually erupt next. These erupt behind the first molars between ages 11 to 13 and do not replace any baby teeth.
- The last of the permanent teeth to appear are the third molars, or “wisdom teeth.” They usually begin to erupt between ages 17 and 21 years, however in cases where they are impacted, they may not erupt at all.
The entire permanent tooth eruption process takes about 7 years, during most of which your child will have a mix of both primary and permanent teeth (mixed dentition). It is important to keep in mind that there is no definitive age for permanent tooth eruption and deviations from this sequence do not necessarily indicate a problem. However, if your child loses a tooth and there is no permanent replacement within 3-6 months, you can contact a pediatric dentist near me for an evaluation.