There are many different milestones that come along with raising a child. In particular, there are dental milestones that should be celebrated when they happen. Dental health is extremely important to start off right as a child as it will contribute to your child’s dental health as an adult. While not all kids will experience these dental milestones at the exact same time and age, it is important that these dental milestones are achieved. If you are a new parent, knowing these dental milestones and the general timeline of what is coming is helpful. We will walk you through the important dental milestones for kids and what to expect:
1. Teething process
When the teething process starts, as a parent you will know right away as your child will express irritability and pain as the teeth come in. This process usually begins any time before a child is 1 year old and can happen as early as around 3 months old. This process begins with the front teeth and bottom teeth coming in first followed by the molars and canines at a later time. From start to finish, your baby should have their full set of teeth by the age of two. We always recommend that as soon as you see the first tooth beginning to come in that you schedule a check up with a pediatric dentist to monitor the process and to ensure that everything is growing in properly. Not all children will immediately be comfortable at their first dentist appointment, so if your child is experiencing dental anxiety, we recommend that you help them feel at ease and we will do our best as well.
2. Thumb sucking
The act of thumb sucking is something that most children will do at some point in time. However, this can quickly turn into a long-lasting habit if parents do not take control. It is used as a coping mechanism for many kids and can help relieve some pain experienced during the teething process. This can also carry over to be a coping mechanism any time while a child is stressed out for any reason. In some extreme cases, there can be damage to the jaw and tooth structure if this habit continues for an extended period of time for children.
3. Loss of first tooth
Once your child has fully developed all of their teeth, the loss of the first tooth will eventually have to come. This typically takes place around the age of five or six years old. This is a milestone time for your child as losing the first tooth can be very exciting! This creates space for adult teeth to begin growing in place of the lost tooth. Over the course of the next few years, more and more baby teeth will begin to fall out until there is room in the mouth for all adult teeth to move in. This can be a natural process, or it can require teeth to be physically pulled from the mouth.
The next milestone that your child will come to will be the path of whether or not they need braces. Once the entire set of adult teeth have moved in, it is time to consult with the dentist to consider braces. The full set of teeth are usually moved in by the age of 12 years old. At this time, it is very common for teeth to be misaligned due to genetic reasons, overcrowding, or a misaligned jaw. By investing in braces at a young age, this can correct any misalignments and ensure that your child’s teeth will look good for many years to come. As always, it is best to consult with a dentist to determine if braces are right for you and how they can benefit your child.
5. Wisdom teeth
One of the last dental milestones with your child will be the growth of wisdom teeth. These teeth will develop between the ages of 16 and 24 years old. These back molars are typically not needed in today’s world, but we still have them. They can often cause overcrowding in the mouth and can cause quite severe pain until they are removed. Wisdom teeth removal surgery is a very common procedure to get these molars safely removed from your mouth.
There are many different dental milestones that your child can experience however, these are the most common ones that children go through. Not all children will experience these at the exact same age, but these milestones will typically follow the same order for everyone. Instilling good dental hygiene habits as a child is crucial to their long-term health. If you have any questions about these milestones, please contact us today and we will be happy to answer any questions that you might have.