Updated on March 7, 2024
4 min read

Deciduous (Baby Teeth) vs. Permanent Teeth

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What are Deciduous Teeth?

Deciduous teeth are the first set of teeth to erupt in the mouth. They eventually fall out, and permanent teeth replace them. They are also known as primary or baby teeth because they typically erupt between 6 months and 3 years of age. 

While they might seem unimportant, deciduous teeth help children learn how to chew, smile, and speak. They also create a pathway for permanent teeth to erupt.

Permanent tooth located below primary tooth anatomy structure including the bone and gum with details

When Do Baby Teeth Erupt and Fall Out?

Everyone develops differently. But baby teeth often erupt at around 6 months and start to fall out around age 6.

Not all baby teeth erupt or fall out at the same time. Females also tend to have their baby teeth erupt sooner than males.

Here’s a table for reference:

Tooth TypeLower Teeth EruptionLower Teeth Falling OutUpper Teeth EruptionUpper Teeth Falling Out
Central Incisor6 to 10 months6 to 7 years8 to 12 months6 to 7 years
Lateral Incisor10 to 16 months7 to 8 years9 to 13 months7 to 8 years
First Molar14 to 18 months9 to 11 years13 to 19 months9 to 11 years
Canine Teeth17 to 23 months9 to 12 years16 to 22 months10 to 12 years
Second Molar23 to 31 months10 to 12 years25 to 33 months10 to 12 years

Taking Care of Baby Teeth

Care for baby teeth varies by age and stage of development.

For infants, gently clean the gums using a soft, wet cloth at least once daily. Once a child’s first baby teeth erupt, brush their teeth twice daily. Use a rice amount of fluoridated toothpaste on a small-headed, soft-bristled toothbrush.

If babies are uncomfortable when their deciduous teeth erupt, rub a cool spoon or cloth on their gums or give them a clean, frozen teething ring.

For children ages 3 to 6, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush the teeth. An adult should always help children brush their teeth because they cannot do so effectively on their own.

It’s best to take infants for a pediatric dental check-up when their first baby tooth appears and every 6 months. If a baby develops pain, see a general or pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

You can rinse the affected area with salt water if the gums are irritated as the baby teeth erupt or fall out. You can also apply a cold compress to the area and give them Children’s Tylenol.

When Do Permanent Teeth Erupt?

Some permanent teeth may erupt around 6 to 7 years of age.

Common timelines for the eruption of permanent teeth are:

  • First molars — 6 to 7 years
  • Central incisors — 6 to 8 years
  • Lateral incisors — 7 to 9 years
  • Canines — 9 to 12 years
  • First premolars — 10 to 12 years
  • Second premolars — 10 to 12 years
  • Second molars — 11 to 13 years
  • Third molars (wisdom teeth) — 17 to 21 years

Taking Care of Permanent Teeth

Practicing good oral hygiene is crucial to maintain good oral and overall health. This involves:

  • Brushing teeth at least twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste
  • Rinsing out the mouth with plain water after eating or drinking
  • Limiting consumption of sticky or sugary foods and drinks
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Avoiding tobacco products
  • Flossing or cleaning between the teeth at least once daily

Deciduous Teeth vs. Permanent Teeth

Compared to permanent teeth, deciduous teeth are rounder and whiter. There are also only 20 deciduous teeth but 32 permanent teeth. 

Permanent Temporary Teeth Adult Child Illustrated Comparison

As the permanent teeth develop under the deciduous teeth, they grow upwards and resorb, or eat away, the tooth roots of the baby teeth. As the deciduous teeth roots resorb with time, they become loose and eventually fall out.

What are Retained Baby Teeth? 

While baby teeth are meant to fall out at certain ages, sometimes they do not fall out on their own. This can cause several complications, such as:

  • Infraocclusion, where one tooth is unable to fully contact the surface of another matching tooth when biting
  • Traumatic occlusion, or a misaligned bite
  • Diastema, or a gap between two teeth
  • Pain or discomfort 

If a child retains a baby tooth, a dentist may extract or recontour it, so it does not interfere with the bite. 

Summary

Deciduous teeth, or baby teeth, are the first teeth to develop. For most children, baby teeth emerge around 6 months and fall out around 6 years.

Baby teeth help children learn to eat and talk properly. Deciduous teeth also lay the foundation for permanent teeth to erupt and form properly.

Talk to a dentist or doctor if a child’s baby teeth do not erupt properly or if they do not eventually fall out. Seek medical attention as soon as possible if a baby’s teeth or gums appear infected.

Last updated on March 7, 2024
4 Sources Cited
Last updated on March 7, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. American Pediatric Dentists. “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).www.aapd.org, n.d
  2. Consolaro, Alberto. “Should deciduous teeth be preserved in adult patients? How about stem cells? Is it reasonable to preserve them?” Dental Press Journal of Orthodontics, 2016.
  3. Mouth Healthy. “Baby teeth.www.mouthhealthy.org, n.d.
  4. Mouth Healthy. “Your baby’s first dental visit.” www.mouthhealthy.org, n.d.
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