The fascinating timeline of teeth


Taking around 20 years to fully emerge and fill their various positions, teeth play a critical role in the formation of our face and the way we eat, speak and chew.

Baby teeth start developing long before we are born, with the first teeth erupting from about six months. Over childhood and into the teens, these primary teeth shed and are replaced by mature teeth with the last of our teeth, the wisdom teeth, usually in place by about the age of 21.

Here’s an insight into the fascinating timeline of teeth.

Baby teeth

At birth, people usually have 20 baby teeth, or primary teeth, that erupt progressively from about six months of age until a child is two or three.

Known as teething, the pattern of eruption usually sees the emergence of:

  • The central incisors (front teeth) between six and 10 months
  • The lateral incisors from about 10 to 16 months
  • The canines between 17 and 23 months
  • The first baby molars between 14 and 18 months
  • The second baby molars between 23 and 31 months

These tiny teeth play an important role in digestion and act as placeholders for the adult teeth that will later emerge, and maintaining their welfare is just as important as looking after mature teeth.

Baby teeth care

Children should be introduced to oral care as early as possible, and this dental routine can start even before the first teeth emerge. Parents can use a damp cloth to gently wipe the gums, and then progress to a soft toothbrush to clean the new baby teeth.

By 18 months, a small amount of fluoride toothpaste can also be introduced.

Meanwhile, children should first visit the dentist at about the age of 10 months or when their first tooth erupts.

Adult teeth

The average adult has 32 teeth, including the four wisdom teeth, and it takes approximately a decade for all to come into position.

Permanent teeth begin erupting at about the age of seven, following roughly the same sequence of emergence as the primary teeth.

  • The central incisors erupt between the ages of seven and eight
  • The lateral incisors erupt between the ages of eight and nine
  • Canine teeth emerge between 11 and 12 years of age
  • The first premolars (bicuspid) emerge between 10 and 11 years
  • The second premolars (bicuspid) come in between 10 and 12 years
  • The first molar erupts between six and seven years
  • The second molar emerges between 12 and 13 years
  • Wisdom teeth arrive between 17 and 21 years

As these emerging adult teeth will serve your child throughout the rest of their lives, it’s imperative they are carefully looked after.

Adult teeth care

A daily dental hygiene routine should include brushing with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes at least twice daily, and flossing at least once a day.

Dental checkups should be conducted annually unless a more regular schedule is advised by your dentist.

Meanwhile, the position of these emerging adult teeth will also need to be monitored. Orthodontics Australia recommends children first see an orthodontist at between the ages of eight and 10.

About Brite Dental

Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.

Offering a full range of dental services ranging, from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.

You can learn more about our dental services, or contact us to book your next appointment.