The end of teething is as eagerly anticipated by parents as Halloween is by so many kids. One major difference, though, is that Halloween is on the same day every year. Teething, on the other hand, is a slow process that starts and ends on its own schedule and varies widely from child to child. So when are most children done with growing their baby teeth?
How teeth come in
Babies begin growing teeth long before they even meet the world. Some time in the second trimester, tooth buds begin to form in a baby’s developing gums. In all but a few dramatic cases, babies are born toothless. The first teeth to come in are usually the central incisors (bottom front two teeth), followed by the four middle teeth (two central incisors, two lateral incisors) on the top a month or two afterwards. It’s most common for these teeth to begin coming in around the 6-month mark, so you might notice a bit of a sleep reprieve during these months following the constant newborn crying and sleeplessness, and before the discomfort of teething really begins. After the four top central teeth, it’s time for the lateral incisors to come in on the bottom.
Although 6 months is a pretty common time for them to come in, it’s totally normal for teething to begin as late as the one-year mark.
If Baby follows a normal-ish teething timeline, it’s likely that the first set of molars will erupt between 12 and 18 months. In most cases, the top molars will come first, followed by the bottom. Molars are a bit trickier than the smaller incisors, so this period can be more difficult for babies than the first ones.
Once Baby grows his first real chompers, it’s time for the top and bottom canine teeth (the “sharp,” vampiric ones) to come, most commonly in the second half of the second year (months 18-24). Like molars, the top ones tend to grow in first.
After the canines come the second set of molars, which are a bit worse for making plans around than their earlier buddies. The second set of molars will probably poke through some time between his second and third birthday, with the bottoms coming in first. However, most children don’t make as big of a fuss about these molars as they do the first ones.
So what’s next?
By his third birthday, Baby will probably have all of his baby teeth in – hooray! Baby teeth will generally start falling out between the ages of 4 and 7, and big, adult teeth will grow in their place.
It’s important to start working to keep babies’ teeth clean as soon as they have even one. Even with regular tooth-cleaning, it’s important to make sure your little one follows a regular schedule of dentist’s appointments. Many dentists recommend visits every 6 months, but you should speak to Baby’s dentist after those first teeth erupt to determine how often he or she will want Baby to come in for a visit.