Most parts of the body are formed at birth. We get one set of bones, organs, eyes and hands that all develop and age with us as we grow older. However, the same cannot be said for our teeth. Our teeth go through an interesting and dramatically different lifecycle, from the first signs of teething, to permanent teeth developing, the pain of wisdom teeth and eventually tooth decay. Here’s a brief summary of what to expect at each stage.
A tooth is born
While newborns do not have any teeth, their front teeth are already fully formed. Teeth start forming just 6 weeks after conception, when they begin to grow down into the developing jaw. These teeth start to come through when a baby reaches around 2-3 months old, and most children have a full set of 20 milk teeth by the time they are 3. As teeth develop, they take on many shades. Tooth colour has a lot to do with genetics, so don’t worry if they appear discoloured initially.
Permanent teeth develop
When kids reach around 5 or 6, their jaws are strong enough to support permanent teeth, and so baby teeth start to fall out and visits from the Tooth Fairy begin. Developing permanent teeth eventually put enough pressure on the roots of the baby teeth, which causes them to break. By the time to tooth falls out, most of the root has already been reabsorbed into the gums. Their new adult tooth could appear in as soon as a week, or as long as six months.
The pain of wisdom teeth
Though our first incisors make an appearance at around age 6, our third set of molars often don’t come in until late teens. Believed to have been necessary for our ancestors’ diet, many people today are born with a jawbone that simply doesn’t have space for another set of molars. This overcrowding can cause wisdom teeth to be impacted – or stuck – between the jawbone and the other set of molars. Some can even get stuck and get infected while erupting, meaning they need to be taken out.
The aging tooth
Like all parts of the body, as people age, our teeth age with us. Cavities in the dentin become more common, and the risk of periodontal disease also increases. While many people do eventually need to have teeth removed, if you practice proper dental care from an early age and continue to do so at every stage of your tooth’s lifecycle, your teeth may well last a lifetime!
Whistler Dental would love to give you the reliable, affordable and exceptional dental care you need to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile for life. We offer a family-friendly environment and have plenty of experience with children of all ages, so please get in contact.