It’s important to remember that all babies are different, but most children start teething and getting their first teeth from around 6 months of age, and will have all 20 of their milk teeth (also known as baby teeth, primary teeth, or deciduous teeth) by the time they are 2½ to 3 years old.
Interesting fact alert! Did you know that your baby's teeth started developing in early pregnancy, from around 8 weeks.
Occasionally teeth can be present at birth (natal teeth) or shortly after birth (neonatal teeth). These are seen in less than 1% of babies and sometimes they need to be removed due to a risk of inhalation or interrupting with feeding. A paediatric specialist can advise you if treatment is required.
Here’s a handy rough guide to how a baby’s teeth usually emerge:
- Bottom incisors (bottom front teeth): These are usually the first to come through, usually at around 6 to 10 months.
- Top incisors (top front teeth): These tend to come through at about 8 to 12 months.
- Top lateral incisors (either side of the top front teeth): These come through at around 9 to 13 months.
- Bottom lateral incisors (either side of the bottom front teeth): These come through at around 10 to 16 months.
- 1st Molars (back teeth): These come through at around 13 to 19 months.
- Canines (often known as the ‘fang’ or ‘eye tooth’): These come through at around 16 to 23 months.
- 2nd Molars: These come through at around 20 to 30 months.
Dr Emi Mawson says that “the age at which teeth erupt vary a lot between children, but actually the age at which the teeth come through is not so important. What is important is the order they come through. The list above is the order at which they come through. If they come through in a different order, let your dentist know, as it can indicate a possible problem like congenitally (inherited) missing teeth, or a wider health condition”.
Your baby’s first teeth may look small (and though they’re eventually replaced), they’re really important. They act as placeholders for adult teeth, and help them to chew, and smile. Those little teeth are also vital for speech development and help your baby to produce sounds like “l”, “th”, and “sh”.
If they aren’t cared for properly, they can decay, leading to pain and infection that could potentially affect the spacing and the health of permanent teeth in later life.