How Many Teeth Do Adults Have? And How Will They All Fit In There?
My daughter is soon entering Grade 1, and many friends have asked me about their child’s “shark teeth”. I am often asked how many teeth do adults have? 32! And there are only 20 primary (baby) teeth. The first adult teeth to come in are usually the lower central incisors – the two front teeth in the lower jaw. Often, the lower incisors erupt inside (on the tongue side) of the baby teeth, and sometimes the baby teeth and adult teeth are both still present as the adult teeth erupt. Signs of teething the adult teeth are similar to that of babies getting their first set of teeth: pain, pressure and headache. Luckily, these are usually short lived and easily to control in a now verbal child.
Signs of teething the adult teeth are similar to that of babies getting their first set of teeth: pain, pressure and headache. Luckily, these are usually short lived and easily to control in a now verbal child.
Your child’s adult teeth have been developing in the jaw bones since 3-4 months of age. The enamel of the upper and lower incisors completes its formation by 4-5 years old, and the front teeth start erupting anytime from 5-8 years old. One of the most common concerns for parents as the first adult teeth start to come in, is a double row of teeth:
As the adult teeth develop in the jaw bones, they slowly resorb the roots of the baby teeth above them. This is why when the baby teeth are ready to fall out, it is only the crowns of the teeth – without any roots below. It is considered normal for the adult lower incisors to erupt inside the primary (baby) lower incisors. This can happen in kids who will have crowding in the future, as well as in kids with ideal spacing.
It may seem to you that there is not enough space for the adult teeth to straighten out, but pressure from the tongue as well as continued jaw growth tend to bring the adult teeth properly into the arch. If the adult tooth grows up enough that it is at the same height as the baby tooth, and the baby tooth is still not very loose, it may be indicated for the dentist to extract the baby tooth.
Encourage your child to wiggle out their teeth once they are loose – this may help the adult teeth erupt in a more ideal position.
When the adult teeth come in, they will look huge! They will also look less white than the baby teeth, and the contrast with the remaining baby teeth will make them look even yellower than they are. Don’t worry about bleaching yet – bleaching is not indicated for children before 12-16 years old – and speak to your dentist before starting bleaching at any age. Once all the baby teeth fall out, the adult teeth will look much whiter without the contrast of the white baby teeth.
The adult front 6 teeth are larger than the baby front 6 teeth (canines and incisors). Therefore, many kids develop crowding of the adult front teeth as the teeth come in. However, the 2 adult premolars are actually smaller than the 2 baby molars that they replace, so some of this anterior crowding is temporary, and may improve on its own once the baby molars fall out. An orthodontist check-up around age 7-8 can help you figure out if early treatment would help your child avoid more complicated orthodontic treatment in the future!