Why do we have baby teeth? Believe it or not, no one really knows for sure. Certain animals, like reptiles, go through numerous cycles of losing and gaining teeth. As for mammals, scientists believe that because our upper and lower teeth are designed so well to fit together, if we continuously shed our teeth like reptiles, it might lead to a greater chance for malocclusion – a condition where teeth can become misaligned making it difficult or even impossible to properly chew food. This could also lead to a disfiguring of the jaw which could also affect our ability to communicate.
Baby teeth begin to make their appearance at about 6 months and actually follow a growth pattern that your parents experienced. In other words, your teeth usually grow in the same way they did for your parents. Just look in the mirror, see a resemblance? The various directions your teeth come in actually help to shape your jaw and face making you look like mom and/or dad.
Babies have a set of 20 individual teeth and no matter how healthy they are, they will all fall out or actually “exfoliate.” The teeth “exfoliate” because instead of falling out, part of it kind of dissolves. As the new (or succedaneous) tooth begin to emerge, it destroys the root of the baby (or deciduous) tooth. That is why when a baby tooth falls out; it looks like a little jewel or pebble of ivory. It’s rootless.
Here is a basic timeline chart of when your baby loses his/her teeth.
|Upper Teeth||Tooth Emerges||Tooth Falls Out|
|Central incisor (The two front teeth)||8 – 12 mos.||6 – 7 yrs|
|Lateral incisor (Left and right of the two front teeth)||9 – 13 mos.||7 – 8 yrs|
|Canine (cuspid) (“Dracula” teeth)||16 – 22 mos.||10 – 12 yrs|
|First molar (The first big tooth)||13 – 19 mos.||9 – 11 yrs|
|Second molar (Tooth furthest from your two fronts)||25 – 33 mos.||10 – 12 yrs|
|Central incisor||6 – 10 mos.||6 – 7 yrs|
|Lateral incisor||10 – 16 mos.||7 – 8 yrs|
|Canine (cuspid)||17 – 23 mos.||9 – 12 yrs|
|First molar||14 – 18 mos.||9 – 11 yrs|
|Second molar||23 – 31 mos.||10 – 12 yrs|
It is recommended that you take your baby to see a pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday. If you delay the proper visitation times, you increase the risk of your baby to suffer from teeth and mouth problems that your dentist would have been able to identify if you followed appropriate scheduled visits. So, make sure to brush your child’s teeth regularly and check their teeth and mouth occasionally to see if your baby’s teeth are coming when they should.