Mid section view of a dentist examining a girl teeth

Stages of a Child’s Developing Teeth

Before your child is even born, their teeth start to develop. While they are not yet emerged, the teeth form while the child is still in the womb. This development gets an early start and a late end. It can take clear until 21 years of age for the last set of secondary (permanent) molars to appear. A developing smile requires extra care. It is our job to care for, and teach our children to care for their teeth.

Stage 1: No Teeth

You can make a huge difference in your child’s dental health before there are even teeth to clean. During pregnancy the woman can take special care of her diet and health to make sure the forming teeth are off to a good start.

Once the child is born, proper nutrition should continue along with a simple dental hygiene routine. Wet a q-tip or a soft cloth with water, breast milk or formula and gently swipe or massage the infant’s gum line daily. This will wipe off any residue and provide positive oral stimulation.

Stage 2: Primary Teeth

Starting around 4-6 months of age, teeth start to emerge from the gum line. All 20 primary teeth will fill your child’s mouth before age 3. When the teeth are visible it is time to start a more regular hygiene routine. When solidifying a routine, take into account that teething can cause your child discomfort. Talk with your child’s dentist about teething remedies and proper fluoride use for the developing teeth.


Here is a chart from the American Dental Association to explain when to expect your children’s teeth to erupt and shed.

Stage 3: Shedding Teeth

Primary or baby teeth are meant to act as placeholders for our permanent teeth. A child’s small mouth is not quite ready for the 32 secondary teeth that will someday create their smile. Children start to shed or lose their baby teeth starting around age six and the process of losing teeth is usually complete by age 12.

Stage 4: Secondary Teeth

There are 32 total secondary teeth including the third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth. Listen to your child to help them with any discomfort they may experience. Teach them to care for their newly developing teeth just as well as they cared for their primary teeth.

Here is a chart provided by the American Dental Association to show the eruption of our secondary teeth:


Eagle Rock Dental Care is here to help you and your family through all the stages of our developing teeth. We understand that caring for your dental health is a lifelong journey and we will be with you every step of the way. Our professionals will care for your family as if they were their own. Contact us today or request your appointment online.