Second Teeth in Children: Everything You Need to Know - Step To Health

Second Teeth in Children: Everything You Need to Know

The appearance of second teeth in children is a natural process that adults should accompany them in. What should you keep in mind? Find out here.
Second Teeth in Children: Everything You Need to Know

Last update: 08 January, 2022

The moment when children’s second teeth start to appear is a significant event for both the child and their parents. The visit of the tooth fairy is something that involves the whole family. Undoubtedly, this childhood milestone is a sign that your child is growing. Find out all about second teeth in children in today’s article.

However, being prepared and knowing what to do when the milk teeth start to loosen helps to accompany this important process. For this reason, below we’ll tell you how and when second teeth start to appear, and what precautions to take into account.

Second teeth in children: the whole process

Children start to lose their milk teeth around the age of six. This process consists of the temporary teeth falling out, to be replaced by their permanent substitutes. It occurs gradually and ends with the replacement of the 20 deciduous teeth, around the age of 12.

This is an extremely important event in the development of a child who is growing up and moving towards adulthood. The milk teeth would be too small and weak to fulfill the oral functions of an adult.

These second teeth ready themselves to break through and do this through specialized cells that reabsorb the roots of the temporary teeth inside the bone.

As they lose the root that kept them fixed to the jaw, the milk teeth begin to move. There comes a time when the root will completely disappear and the loose tooth will fall out. Once the temporary tooth is lost, the permanent tooth begins to appear in the empty space to take its place.

This situation occurs progressively, until it reaches its correct place. Permanent teeth are characterized by being larger than baby teeth. For this reason, the spaces between teeth, typical of temporary teeth, are disappearing.

In addition, during the replacement period, it’s common for some permanent teeth to become crooked. However in general, as the other elements fall out and the jaw grows, they manage to align themselves. However, it’s always a good idea to have a pediatric dentist to supervise the process.

A child waiting for their second teeth.
It’s important to look after children’s teeth during the process of tooth replacement.

At what age and in what order do children’s teeth come out?

Each child has his or her own rhythm of growth and development, and this includes the appearance and loss of teeth. Often, baby teeth begin to loosen and fall out around the age of 6. But, as we said, some children begin their replacement earlier, and others much later.

The process of loose teeth falling out and their replacement by permanent second teeth in children will happen little by little. It’s estimated that, around the age of 12, the child will have already have all their second teeth.

Also, around that time, the first and second permanent molars will have erupted in the back of the mouth. This happens without any baby teeth having fallen out to replace them.

Even so, the age at which the second teeth appear varies among children and is influenced by different factors. This estimation is simply to give parents an idea about when they can expect this change to occur. Here are some more details about this process.

Central incisors: The first teeth to fall out

It’s quite common for the central incisors to be the first teeth to be replaced. Most people lose their temporary teeth in the same order that they erupt. Since the lower central incisors are usually the first teeth to erupt, around 6 months of age, they’re also the first to fall out.

The permanent tooth will begin to erupt on the inside of the gum, behind the baby teeth that haven’t yet fallen out. This happens around 6 or 7 years of age. After that, it’s common for the upper central incisors to loosen and fall out.

The eruption of the permanent teeth occurs in front of the gum, giving rise to the large upper central incisors that will accompany the person into adulthood.

Lateral incisors: the next ones to fall

Once the central incisors have erupted, the lateral incisors will be the next to cone through. In general, it is the upper ones that loosen first and then the lower ones. This event usually occurs between 7 and 8 years of age. By now, the child will have eight new second teeth.

First temporary molars

The first temporary molars fall out between the ages of 9 and 11 years of age. The milk molars have the peculiarity of being replaced by a permanent tooth that’s different from the one that comes out.

This is because the place left by the temporary molars will be occupied by the permanent premolars. Thus, the first temporary molar is replaced by the first premolar.

Temporary second molars and canines: the last to fall out

The last second teeth in children are the temporary canines and second molars. The canines fall out between the ages of 9 and 12 and are replaced by their permanent namesakes.

Between the ages of 10 and 12, the second molars fall out and are replaced by the second premolars. In general, these are the last elements to fall out and the ones that finalize the whole replacement process.

The permanent molars

The permanent molars appear spontaneously in the back of the mouth, without replacing any of the milk teeth that fall out. They occupy a free space behind the temporary second molars.

The eruption of permanent molars occurs at 6 years of age for the first permanent molar, at 12 years of age for the second, and between 18 and 20 years of age for the third. The lower molars usually appear first and then the upper ones.

As the child grows, the jaws widen to allow the permanent teeth, which are larger than the baby teeth, to be positioned correctly. By the age of 13, most infants have their 28 permanent teeth in their mouths.

The 32 teeth of the adult dentition are completed with the eruption of the wisdom teeth, which happens around the age of 18. However, not everyone will get wisdom teeth.

How to avoid discomfort during this process

The best strategy to avoid discomfort during tooth change in children is to allow the process to unfold naturally. This means not forcing or pulling teeth.

Sometimes it can take a long time from when a tooth starts to move until it comes out. Be patient and don’t try to speed up the process by force or pressure.

Sudden movements or home methods to try to pull out baby teeth are not a good idea, as they can hurt the oral tissues, frighten the child, and damage the final tooth.

The tooth is very loose and ready to come out when the child doesn’t feel any pain when moving it and it bothers them when they talk and eat. At that point, you should motivate the child to remove it or help them to take it out. The ideal method is as follows:

  • Take the loose tooth with a clean gauze or a paper napkin and make a quick movement.
  • Always check that the process doesn’t cause your child any pain; if it does, then it isn’t yet time.
  • Once the tooth comes out, children should be asked to rinse their mouth with water to clean the gums. They can also bite down on a piece of gauze.
  • In order to avoid further bleeding, children shouldn’t be allowed to rinse or spit.
  • For the next few minutes, experts advise that a child should keep still and not eat or drink anything. In most cases, the bleeding is temporary and stops after a while.
  • In order to take care of the tooth that’s going to erupt, the child should be warned not to touch the empty space. It’s also important not to put objects in the mouth.

The child’s feelings

For some children, the loss of a tooth is a reason for excitement and joy, especially if they know that the tooth fairy is going to visit them.

However, others may experience anxiety about losing this part of their body that they were so “attached” to (if you’ll pardon the pun!). If this is the case, you’ll need to treat them with respect, affection, explaining the situation well.

Others can experience pain or discomfort when their tooth comes out. In these cases, it’s best just to sit down with them to try to calm them down, as this is usually just a temporary situation,

When do you need to see a dentist?

Generally speaking, the process of tooth replacement should be monitored and supervised by a pediatric dentist. The professional can analyze the growth of the jaws and detect any problems early on.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to take your child to the dentist every time a tooth falls out. It’s best to have check-ups every six months, from the baby’s first year of life.

With these six-monthly visits, the dentist will be able to observe and analyse the development of the mouth structures. At the same time, they’ll be able to detect any abnormalities in order to treat them in a timely manner. Among other things, they’ll teach parents to look after their child’s oral hygiene.

If you have any questions or problems in between these scheduled check-ups, then it’s always a good idea to seek professional help. Here are some of the reasons you may need to consult a pediatric dentist:

  • Delayed tooth replacement: Although each child will have their own rhythm of tooth replacement, if the child’s second teeth aren’t showing signs of coming through, then you should have a check-up with a dentist.
  • The permanent teeth came out crooked: The permanent teeth come through where they can and, as the child grows, they usually stabilize. Despite this, an evaluation by a dentist is recommended.
  • There’s a double row of teeth: Sometimes the permanent teeth fail to absorb the roots of the temporary teeth and erupt without the first teeth falling out. This causes a double row of teeth that the dentist must evaluate. If necessary, the dentist will have to remove the baby teeth in question.
  • The milk teeth fall out early on: A blow or very serious decay can cause premature loss of the milk teeth. In these cases, the dentist must intervene to save space for the permanent teeth and prevent malocclusions.
A child at the dentist.
To avoid any potential problems, it’s important to request regular visits with the pediatric dentist. In this way, it’s possible to intervene if there are any problems.

Taking care of the new teeth

It’s important to take advantage of this stage in a child’s life to teach them about oral hygiene so that they’ll keep these elements healthy throughout their lives. These healthy oral hygiene habits in childhood can make the difference between having a healthy adult mouth or a mouth full of fillings.

Although children of this age will no longer need as much help brushing their teeth, it’s good for adults to continue to supervise them as they do it. It’s a good idea to make sure of the following:

  • That they use the correct amount of toothpaste
  • That their technique is correct
  • That they clean all surfaces of the teeth correctly.
  • That they don’t miss out any areas.

Another aspect to consider is teaching and assisting with flossing. Permanent teeth are usually closer together, so cleaning in between the teeth is essential in order to maintain oral health.

Other important recommendations

  • Use fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses to prevent oral diseases.
  • Make semi-annual visits to the dentist, especially when new teeth are coming through. The professional can evaluate the growth of the jaws and the eruption of the teeth to detect any problems early on.
  • If any disease appears, a timely treatment will prevent any complications. The dentist may suggest cleanings, sealants, or extra fluoride to help keep permanent teeth healthy and free of decay.
  • Eating a varied, balanced and nutritious diet also has an impact on the condition of the teeth. Ultra-processed and sugar-rich foods should be avoided.

Teeth for life

The change of teeth in children begins around the age of 6. From that age, the teeth that will accompany them for the rest of their lives begin to appear. For this reason, accompanying the process of tooth replacement and contributing to oral care is a big responsibility for parents. Now you have no excuse!

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