When you child begins losing her first teeth, the pediatric dentist in Thornton, CO says they will be replaced by the permanent ones beneath. When everything works out as planned, the 20 primary, or “baby” teeth are replaced by 32 permanent teeth, 16 in the upper jaw and 16 in the lower jaw.

Behind the canine teeth (the pointy ones at the side of the mouth) are the premolars, which are flat and meant for crushing food. These are “extra” and do not replace baby teeth — they emerge on their own. The molars are the last teeth, found at the back of the jaw behind the premolars. They help us chew and grind food.

When will your child’s permanent molars come in? Depending on the location of the tooth and whether it is a premolar or molar, the age of eruption ranges anywhere from six to 13 years old. The baby teeth are usually lost in the same order they erupted, which can give you a good guide for when the permanent molars will emerge. Premolars typically appear around age six, and are appropriately called the “six year molars.”

Not everyone has third molars, also known as the wisdom teeth. These extra teeth usually appear between ages 14 and 24. Your child’s dentist may recommend an x-ray around age 12 or 13 to check for the presence of these teeth beneath the gum line. Because there is rarely enough room for wisdom teeth to emerge without issue, it may be a good idea to discuss preventive extraction. Younger patients heal faster and are less likely to experience complications with the procedure.

Dental Hygiene Keeps Molars Healthy

Even though your child’s first teeth are going to fall out and be replaced by new ones, it is still important to keep the primary set healthy with regular brushing and flossing. Losing teeth too early due to decay or infection can affect the health of the permanent teeth beneath them. Issues with alignment can develop when primary teeth are lost too early, too.

The surface of molars is full of pits and fissures that can make proper cleaning difficult for small hands. It is easy for leftover food particles and bacteria to collect on the lunar-like surface and cause cavities and infection. Carefully observe your child’s brushing and flossing technique to ensure she is thoroughly cleaning her back teeth every single time.

Dental sealants provide additional protection for the permanent back molars. These translucent coverings are painted directly onto the surface of the back teeth, where they shield enamel from acids, bacteria, and food particles. Dental sealants are completed quickly and painlessly, and they provide protection against cavities for years after their application.

Help Your Child Visit the Dentist Regularly

In addition to solid dental hygiene at home, your child should visit the dentist every six months for regular preventive care. When was your little one’s last appointment with the team at Treasured Teeth? She can’t call us and schedule an appointment on her own. Contact the children’s dentist in Thornton, CO today!