The following dental information pages answers your questions
on children's teeth, teething and various aspects of children's dentistry.
At what age do the permanent teeth
The permanent teeth start erupting by about 6 years of age. Most of the
permanent teeth erupt by 12 years of age except the third molars or the
wisdom teeth, which erupt any time between 18 -25 years of age.
Is it normal to have extra teeth?
Sometimes we do come across children who have an extra tooth or teeth.
These are called supernumerary teeth. These extra teeth may appear as normal
looking teeth or may be odd shaped. An example of extra teeth is a mesiodens
that may occur as a cone shaped tooth in the midline between the two upper
incisors. The presence of extra teeth cannot be considered normal as they
upset the normal dental balance. Thus they may have to be extracted followed
by orthodontic treatment.
Can teeth be missing?
Missing teeth are also common. The tooth that is most
frequently missing is the upper lateral incisor. The wisdom tooth may also
be frequently missing. Missing teeth pose the problem of spacing between
Is it normal to have teeth of different
sizes and shapes?
Teeth vary slightly from person to person in their shape
and size. However it not uncommon to find teeth that are odd shaped or sized.
Some persons have some teeth that are too small. An example is a peg shaped
tooth. Teeth that are bigger than normal can also occur. They are called
Macrodont. Some of these teeth may be reshaped by the dentist to resemble
normal teeth. Some may require a crown over them to make them look more
What are mammelons?
The cutting edge of the newly emerged front permanent
teeth (incisors) are not even. They show elevations called mammelons that
correspond to their developmental lobes. These in due course wear off to
form a flat cutting edge.
What is the ugly duckling stage?
Ugly duckling stage is a transient phase during childhood
when we find a very large space or diastema in the middle between the two
upper incisors, which can also be flaring. This occurs due to pressures
from adjacent erupting teeth. This stage corrects on its own and does not
require any orthodontic intervention.
What is teething?
Teething is a phase in early childhood during which the
milk teeth emerge into the mouth cutting through the gums. Children experience
discomfort during this phase and may have disturbed sleep, eating problems
and may be restless and cranky.
Do children fall sick during teething?
Teething is often blamed for systemic conditions like
diarrhea, vomiting and fever. The possible explanation for this is that
during teething the child has a tendency to chew objects for relief, which
at times may not be clean and may be a source of microbes.
How to cope with teething?
The discomfort associated with teething can be relieved
to a certain extent by using teething gels, which are basically anti-inflammatory
analgesics. These gels are massaged over the gums. Teethers of different
types are available which the child can chew on for relief.
How do we clean infant's teeth?
Infant's teeth can be cleaned with a soft cloth wrapped
around the index finger. Wet the cloth and rub gently over the teeth to
clean them. Small soft brushes that can be inserted over your fingers are
available that can be used to clean the teeth.
At what age do we start using the toothbrush?
You can introduce a baby- size tooth brush at around 12
months of age encouraging the child to use the brush himself. Though the
child may play with it rather than brush his teeth,it will ensure good lifelong,habits
in your child.This should be followed by the parent properly brushing the
child's teeth for him.
What types of pastes are best for infants?
Initially for a toddler,a wetted toothbrush is sufficicient
to brush the teeth. Once the child has learnt to rinse his mouth and spit,
you can start using a pea-sized helping of fluoride toothpaste. Most dentists
advise using fluoride tooth pastes around three years of age. If you think
your child may swallow the toothpaste, you can use a non-fluoridated one
till he learns to spit it out.