What Every Parent Needs To Know About Permanent Teeth

Is there anything cuter than a child missing their two front teeth? Those missing teeth are a milestone all parents look forward to. But what’s next? Goofy grins, another round of teething and giant looking permanent teeth! Permanent teeth that need to last the rest of their lives. And while you likely have your permanent teeth, you’re likely not a dental professional and don’t know what to expect with this next round of teeth. That’s where a permanent teeth chart and this blog post can help. So let’s talk about permanent teeth!

How many teeth do we have?

Baby teeth, technically “primary teeth” start coming in about 6 months old and keep coming in until age 2 or 3. Eventually, those baby teeth are all replaced by permanent teeth – starting around age five and continuing through adulthood when wisdom teeth come in. We are born with a set of 20 primary teeth, which are eventually replaced with 32 adult teeth.

Those baby teeth have a big job – not only do they help our kiddos chew their food, they also hold space in the jaw for the larger permanent teeth to come in. With primary teeth, we have 10 teeth on top and 10 on the bottom. When our adult or permanent teeth come in, they are larger and slightly darker, and we end up with 16 teeth on the top and 16 on the bottom.

When do permanent teeth come in?

Permanent teeth usually erupt in the same order the primary teeth did – front bottom, front top and then back towards molars. Typically, the first teeth to erupt are the first to come loose and fall out, only to be replaced by the permanent teeth. The exception to this, of course, is when there is tooth damage due to poor dental hygiene, medical conditions or trauma (such as an accident) to the mouth, jaw and/or face.

Most children will begin to lose teeth when school starts- about age 5 or 6, and will have the majority of their permanent teeth by age 12 or 13. These teeth include the four front teeth on top and bottom, called central incisors; four lateral incisors, the teeth between the front teeth and canines; four canine teeth; and eight molars. Two of those molars come in without replacing baby teeth.

The last to arrive, if they arrive are the wisdom teeth. Also called “third molars” they may not ever erupt, however, if they do, it is usually between ages 17-21. Your dentist will be able to make recommendations about cleaning them properly and whether or not they should be removed.

As the permanent teeth arrive, good dental care is more important than ever to ensure a healthy, happy smile for the life ahead.