Are you wondering when your baby’s teeth will start to come in? The average age is anywhere from 6 months to 12 months, though some babies will get teeth earlier and some will get them later. Timing isn’t that important, however, if your baby still has no teeth by the age of 18 months, it may be time to see a pediatric dentist for an evaluation. In most cases delayed tooth eruption is no real concern. However, it is still a good idea to get the opinion of a specialist.
What causes delayed tooth eruption?
There are a few potential causes for delays in tooth emergence, such as:
- Genetics. In some cases delayed tooth eruption is a family trait. You may want to ask your parents and your in-laws how old you or your spouse were when you got your first tooth. Other genetic conditions may also contribute to an altered eruption time, such as Down syndrome, amelogenesis imperfecta and regional odontodysplasia.
- Premature birth or low birth weight. Babies who are born significantly early may experience a range of developmental delays, and tooth eruption can be one of them. If a baby is 6 months old, but was born 3 months early, their developmental age may be closer to that of a 3 month old. (A baby’s teeth are already formed while they are in the womb, around 3-4 months gestation, but they remain beneath the gums until well after the baby is born.)
- Vitamin deficiencies. Nutritional and vitamin deficiencies can play a part in delayed tooth development and eruption. Vitamin D resistant rickets is just one type of vitamin deficiency that may cause delayed tooth eruption.
- Developmental disorders. Delayed tooth eruption is more common in babies with development disorders such as hypopituitarism, a disorder of the pituitary gland (the gland that secretes growth hormones) that results in delayed growth and development.
Risks associated with delayed tooth eruption
There are not any serious risks related to late emergence of teeth. However, some studies have shown that children who get teeth significantly later are at an increased risk of tooth decay. Practicing good oral hygiene at home and keeping up with regular dental visits are important to keep teeth healthy. There is also a greater chance that a child with delayed teeth development will need orthodontic care later in childhood or during adolescence. Neither of these risks are a major cause for concern, as nearly 80% of children will need orthodontic care before they reach adulthood and routine dental care and hygiene should be a regular part of everyone’s routine.
What treatment options are there?
As children grow, orthodontic treatments can be used to correct unerupted teeth. In some extreme cases, oral surgery may also be required as part of treatment. The best method of treatment will depend greatly on the cause of the delay, so it is best to consult with your pediatric dentist.
Concerned about your child’s baby teeth? Woodhill Dental Specialties can help!
If you’re worried that your baby’s first tooth hasn’t come in yet, make an appointment at Woodhill Dental Specialties. We specialize in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, as these two services go hand in hand. You can visit one office for all of your kids’ oral care needs from the time they are a baby all the way through their adolescence.