Thursday, 1 July 2010

Toothy pegs. Wherefore art thou?

Dew Drop has cracked a couple of teeth this week. It is a good thing (although the corresponding sleeplessness not so much).

I was starting to get a little worried about the bald mouth situation. At the ripe ol' age of 18 months he was sporting all of 6 teeth. 4 incisors up top, 2 down the bottom.  The Minx, his handy age-matched peer, had 12. I was starting to get visuals of him being a toothless wonder forever. Add that to his rather unfortunate hairline, and it wasn't looking too pretty for Dew Drop!

And then, out of the blue, two teeth erupt. Another incisor in the lower jaw, and a molar.

Being a speech pathologist, I do know a thing or two about teeth, but I have been doing a bit of research lately and I thought I would share some poignant points. Obviously, teeth eruption dates are different for everyone (like growth patterns), but there are some general trends to be observed:
  • The first baby teeth to erupt are usually the lower two front incisors (mandibular central incisors) at about 6 months of age. They are followed by the 4 upper front teeth.
  • The remainder of a child's teeth will appear periodically until all 20 baby teeth have come in at about 2 1/2 years of age. The emergence order varies considerably (you must be familiar with the 'vampire babies' who have only lateral incisors (the fangs)? This is not uncommon, so do not panic!)
  • The last teeth to emerge are the top two molars (maxillary second molars at about 30 months).
  • The complete set of baby teeth are in the mouth from 2 years to 5 3/4 or 6 years of age (when no permanent teeth are present). The permanents start showing up at about 6 {Note to self - I have about 9 months to perfect my 'tooth fairy' routine for Nugget}
  • Shortly after a child's 4th birthday, their jaw and facial bones will begin to grow creating spaces between their teeth. Don't freak out! This is normal.
  • A good rule of thumb concerning baby teeth is that for every 6 months, approximately 4 teeth will erupt. So, if your child is 12 months, you should expect 8 teeth (Hmm...Dew Drop fails this test).
  • Teeth in both jaws tend to erupt in pairs - one on the right, one on the left (Hmm...Dew Drop fails this test too). They are usually within two weeks of each other (and usually no more than 50 days according to Hughes et al, 2007) ( Dew Drop still has time!)
  • Lower teeth usually erupt before the upper teeth, with the left tending to precede the right.
  • Boys/girls tend to get baby teeth around the same time, although girls are quicker than boys with their permanent teeth.
  • This chart shows the general pattern expected -

  • And the statistic that saves the day, as far as Dew Drop goes, is that according to the Adelaide research group headed up by Hughes, twins tend to follow the same pattern as singletons, but their teeth emergence is 2 months later than the 1984 Australian gold standard research paper by Hitchcock et al. Pheww... he is still within the normal limits.

Now if he can just start getting the left and right pairing sorted (he has another 2 weeks), I can stop worrying that he will need false teeth.

Can you imagine it? Baby dentures? I hope they look a bit more authentic than the baby's dummy pictured above. 

* Toothy dummy photo from


Gill@OurParklife said...

Teeth are a big talking point in our house at the moment - The doc says our two and a bit year old is getting his 2 year old molars and is he grizzly as anything and biting down on armchairs, his baby bro's arm, his granda's knee...AAAh!

life in a pink fibro said...

That dummy is scarily hilarious. Go the teeth!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Oh, my...I had to do a real double-take at that picture...too funny! (And maybe it's a sign it's time for me to go to bed!)

Thanks so much for this information. At 18 months, our girls both have the same 12 teeth - 4 up top and 4 on the bottom, plus a full set of molars.

Baby A seems to be teething like crazy right now. She's not a thumb-sucker, but she has had almost her entire hand in her mouth for two weeks now. I can't feel anything coming, or see any redness, but I've gotta believe something's about to break.

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