Tooth Eruption: A Reference for Parents

Baby Teeth—The First Set

It’s no surprise to most that baby teeth, on average, begin pushing through the gums between the ages of 6 months and 12 months. What most people do not realize is that our babies come into this world with a mouthful of teeth. Hidden in the jawbone, all 20 of these almost completely formed crowns gradually erupt throughout the first 2½ years of the baby’s life.

Tooth Eruption Chart for Baby Teeth and Primary Teeth

Order of Eruption

Since every child is unique, there is no exact formula for the eruption of your baby’s teeth. However, there is a window of time when most babies (and their parents) experience teething—the process by which an infant’s first teeth emerge through their gums. Interestingly, these baby teeth usually come in pairs, starting on the bottom.

Time Frame Teeth
6-10 Months Lower Central Incisors
8-12 Months Upper Central Incisors
9-13 Months Upper Lateral Incisors
10-16 Months Lower Lateral Incisors
13-19 Months Upper First Molars
14-18 Months Lower First Molars
16-22 Months Upper Canines (Cuspids)
17-23 Months Lower Canines (Cuspids)
23-31 Months Lower Second Molars
25-33 Months Upper Second Molars

The Emergence of Baby Teeth and Adult Teeth

Despite the fact that a child’s primary teeth are only around for approximately 12 years, their importance is paramount when it comes to preparing the way for their permanent teeth. We recommend parents make every effort to care for their child’s baby teeth so as to avoid decay that can damage the adult teeth as they’re developing underneath.

Time Frame Teeth
As early as 6 months Eruption of two upper and two lower teeth
Age 3 Completed eruption of full set
Age 6 Eruption of first adult teeth
Ages 6-7 Loss of first primary teeth
Age 12 All primary teeth have shed (fallen out)

Reducing the Risk of Tooth Decay

From the moment your baby’s teeth begin to push through their gums, they are susceptible to tooth decay. Sometimes called Early Childhood Caries, Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Nursing Mouth Syndrome, tooth decay in babies and toddlers can destroy teeth. But there are clear steps parents can take to minimize the risk of their baby developing tooth decay and increase the likelihood that they’ll develop strong healthy teeth that aid in easy chewing and proper speaking.

  • Avoid exposing your child to sugary liquids, especially for a long period of time.
  • After feeding, wipe your infant’s gums with a wet cloth.
  • Never dip your baby’s pacifier in sugar or honey.
  • Only allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle if it contains water—all other liquids are harmful to the baby’s oral health.
  • Ask us about our doctor recommended pacifiers.
  • Begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they begin to appear.
  • Around age 2, supervise your child’s brushing to ensure only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is being used and no toothpaste is being swallowed.

Caring for baby teeth is foundational to strong and healthy adult teeth, and our pediatric dental team is ready to partner with parents as we foster a passion for oral health in children from the start. Set up an appointment with us today! Call us at 703-417-9722 in Alexandria or 703-665-3810 in Sterling, Virginia.