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Every human will go through the process of tooth eruption twice in their lives. The primary teeth or the milk teeth start erupting at the age of six months while the permanent teeth start to erupt at six years old.
The eruption of permanent teeth is an important part of the child’s development as it will have a large impact on the appearance of the face, and the function and well-being of the oral cavity. It's natural for parents to worry if the eruption is going according to plan.
Here are some of the things that you can expect to see during the process of permanent tooth eruption.
The Age At Which The Teeth Erupt Is Variable
In the age of the internet, it is quite easy to see what the ideal ages of tooth eruption are. For example, the first permanent molars should start erupting at the age of 6 years, however, this does not mean that every child’s teeth will follow that schedule precisely.
These ages of eruption are just a guide and can vary quite widely from child to child. In case, as a parent, you are worried that your child’s teeth are not erupting at the right time, you can visit the doctor for consultation.
The correct procedure would be to take an X –ray of the jaws to ensure that all the tooth buds are present and in the process of erupting. A variation of six months is not uncommon and even a year’s delay is not something that should overly concern the parents.
The Teeth Appear Bigger Than They should be
Parents are often horrified to see the size of the teeth replacing the perfect little primary teeth. This is because the permanent teeth are bigger, wider, taller and thus stick out in between other primary teeth.
There is nothing to be concerned about here, and as the children grow their jaws will grow to better suit the size of the teeth. One of the first teeth to erupt are the front permanent teeth of the upper and lower jaw. The contrast between these teeth and the surrounding primary ones is stark and often a source of many palpitations for parents.
The Teeth Will Appear Crooked And Malaligned
This stage of development, where children have a mixed dentition, that is both primary and permanent teeth, is often referred to as the "ugly duckling stage". As the teeth erupt into the oral cavity, they often take a route that is not what we would imagine.
They may start out erupting a bit crooked and then slowly get into their correct position as more teeth around them erupt. Once again, no treatment is indicated here if all the primary teeth are falling on schedule.
This is not to say that all teeth will correct their position on their own if just wait long enough. The time span referred to here is specifically during the time of eruption. Even if some teeth are clearly not in the right position, it is better to wait until all the teeth have erupted to start orthodontic treatment.
Interventional orthodontics is a newer approach to treatment that advocates early intervention during the phase of eruption, however, there is still quite a bit of controversy over the rationale behind that line of treatment.