Dental Development Ages 8-21
Age 7-12 – Growing Permanent Teeth
Your child has probably had a few visits from the tooth fairy by now. Most children have lost a few baby teeth by age 7 and are starting to get their permanent teeth. Typically, baby teeth fall out without any intervention. Sometimes, there’s a problem that will require your dentist to get involved. After a visit and diagnosis, your dentist may recommend extracting a baby tooth to minimize damage to incoming teeth. Other than intervening when necessary, your dentist will monitor growth and development of your child’s face and jaw.
Your dentist is a good resource for the best timeline, but most children have an appointment with an orthodontist before age 12. A consultation with an orthodontist will highlight any bite or jaw alignment issues your child might have.
Age 13-15 – Shaping the Smile
Most teens will have almost all of their permanent teeth by this age. The exception is wisdom teeth. So, with 28 of 32 fully grown in, many children will undergo orthodontic treatment. This is a popular age for contact sports, so another important dental milestone is getting fitted for a mouth guard to protect teeth from trauma during a game. Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits should continue.
Age 16-21: Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are the final set of permanent teeth to complete your set of 32 adult teeth. Typically, wisdom teeth arrive between the ages of 16-21. Having seen the dentist regularly really pays off at this point. Your dentist can pinpoint early how many wisdom teeth you should expect (not everyone has a full set of 4) and when they’ll likely arrive. You’ll have time to consult with your dentist about the best course of action for your child’s smile.
Wisdom teeth can be problematic for many teens. Some people only develop one, two, or three of the four expected teeth. Those might grow in at an angle, displacing current teeth in the jaw. This can be painful, cause enamel weaknesses, and undo expensive orthodontia. In some cases, the teeth only erupt partially and cause ongoing bite and jaw issues.
Your dentist in 46229 may recommend extraction of some or all of the wisdom teeth to protect the current spacing and alignment of the smile. If your child’s wisdom teeth develop and grow in proper alignment with all current teeth, there may be no need for intervention.
As with all dental milestones, it’s important to brush regularly, floss and visit your dentist so that you can intervene before an emergency occurs or damage is done.