Understanding the Natural Tooth Life Cycle

The natural tooth life cycle is a rather interesting one. Unlike most parts of the body that form at birth and stay virtually the same throughout our lives, teeth have a unique life cycle that lasts an entire lifetime.

It starts with painful eruptions during the first couple of years of life that lead to millions of screaming babies all over the world, and it often ends with some of the permanent teeth falling out.

Different stages of the natural tooth life cycle

1. Eruption

Teeth begin to develop before a child is even born. By birth, the tooth buds of all the primary teeth have already formed, and the front teeth are already developed underneath the gums. Occasionally, babies are born with one of the front teeth already erupted. The development of teeth starts around six weeks after conception, with buds developing on the lower and upper jaw.

The eruption of teeth is a painful ordeal for most children, but it should be over by the time the child reaches the age of two.

2. Developing teeth

Teeth often experience color changes as they mature. Some children have bright, white smiles, while others have yellowish or blueish teeth. The blue tint comes from the pulp being bigger in a baby tooth. The outer layers of primary teeth are also thinner than that of permanent ones, contributing to the blueish tint.

The color of a child's teeth is often tied to genetics. The base color is usually similar to that of one of the parents. Over time, habits like drinking soda or tea can change the color of teeth.

While baby teeth are temporary, they serve an important purpose: holding the proper position for the permanent teeth. Children who lose their baby teeth prematurely are more likely to deal with alignment issues when their permanent teeth emerge.

As the permanent teeth begin to make their way out, the roots of the baby teeth become weakened, and they eventually get pushed out of the way. This process begins around the age of 7, and it should be completed by the time the child is a teenager.

3. Wisdom teeth

The wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to emerge. There is a lot of variation as to when these teeth appear, and these teeth are the only set of molars that are not essential for chewing. Wisdom teeth are more likely to develop issues when erupting, and many dentists recommend having them removed.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, about 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted each year in the U.S.

4. Aging teeth

Cavities become more common as a person ages. This is usually the result of years of damage on the enamel. Older people are also more likely to have gum issues, and that can leave teeth roots exposed. That can eventually lead to the tooth falling out if these issues are not addressed.

Let's get started! We can guide you in your oral health. 

Good dental hygiene and regular checkups can prolong the natural tooth life cycle. Contact one of our dentists to schedule a checkup and learn more about properly taking care of your teeth.

Request an appointment in our Great Neck dentist office here: https://www.jeffreylrubindmd.com.

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