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Evaluation of Dental Development

Here at Lancaster Pediatric Dentistry, we care about our patients’ teeth. From the first baby tooth to the full set of adult teeth, we are here to care for the development of these young smiles at every stage. Each major stage makes way for the next, and influences everything that comes after. When teeth are properly cared for throughout development, they help ensure that the permanent teeth remain strong and healthy into adulthood.

Stages of Dental Development

  1. Primary Eruption: Beginning at about age 6 months, the first teeth begin to emerge, usually starting with the front teeth and moving toward the back. The final primary teeth usually emerge around age 2-3, resulting in a full primary set of 20 teeth.
  2. Loss of primary teeth: Around the age of 6 years, the primary teeth become loose and fall out, usually one by one in roughly the same order that they erupted. This stage can last up to five years, and can overlap with the final stage.
  3. Eruption of permanent teeth: As the primary teeth are lost, the permanent secondary teeth erupt in their place. Four additional molars, as well as four wisdom teeth also erupt between the ages of 12 and 21, resulting in 32 total adult teeth.

As the primary teeth develop, the care they receive has a direct impact on the health of the permanent teeth that will replace them. Teeth that are broken, severely decayed or lost before the permanent teeth can replace them can create a closure where the tooth should be, resulting in crowding and possible damage to the permanent teeth when they do emerge. When teeth are crowded or misaligned, the risk of cavities and gum disease increases as well.

When your child comes in for a checkup and cleaning, we perform a thorough inspection where we check the timing of their tooth eruption and loss, the density and security of the teeth, the health of the gum tissue and also the glands and tissues of the throat and neck. We'll note any damage, decay or abnormalities in their development so we can prevent complications before they even arise.

When development isn’t going as smoothly as expected, there are ways pediatric dentist Dr. Jonathan Draney can help. After evaluating the progress of developing teeth and watching for any emerging problems, we can create a plan to ensure your child's dental health and success. We also believe that patient education is key in the well-being of our patients and their teeth, and that is why we take the time to discuss your child's options with you. Understanding the situation and possible plans of action enables you to make informed decisions that will positively impact your child’s smile, dental health and even their confidence.

Childhood and adolescence is a sensitive time of life, and we make it our goal to help all of our patients to feel strong, involved and informed. When the teeth are misaligned we can suggest options for straightening their smile, so that they can look and feel their best. Contact us to schedule your child’s next visit, or stop by during our regular office hours to meet with our caring staff. We look forward to seeing you soon!