Children developing teeth is a normal part of development, but there are times when teeth do not grow in on the “normal” time frame, and sometimes when they do not come in at all. From wisdom teeth to canines, and all teeth in between, children of varying ages will face varying stages of tooth development.
Can a 10 year-old develop wisdom teeth? Technically, yes, they can, but it is not common.
To learn more about when and how children develop teeth, and what is considered normal and abnormal, read on.
When Do Children Develop Baby Teeth?
Children develop teeth in the womb, which means they are born with all of their teeth, but you can’t see them because they have not descended. They will push through the gums when they descend far enough and on a general timeline, in a process known as “teething.” That timeline can change, depending on your child’s personal development. For most children, however, the tooth development and eruption schedule for baby teeth is:
Both upper and lower teeth follow the same time-frame:
- Central Incisors come in at around 6-10 months of age
- Lateral Incisors come in at approximately 8-12 months of age
- Canines come in between 16-20 months of age
- First Molars come in at around 11-18 months of age
- Second Molars come in from 20-30 months of age
Again, these can vary, and some children are delayed in developing teeth, while other children are born with teeth. This is a rare condition caused by several different syndromes, and only showing up in about 1 in every 200,000 births.
When Do Children Lose Baby Teeth?
Children usually lose their baby teeth in preparation for permanent teeth at the following ages:
Both upper and lower teeth follow the same time frame:
- Central incisors are lost between 6 to 7 years
- Lateral incisors are lost between 7 to 8 years
- Canines are generally lost between 10 to 12 years
- First molars are usually lost between 9 to 11 years
- Second molars are lost between 10 to 12 years
When Do Children Develop Permanent Teeth?
Children develop permanent teeth at a different rate, as well. Some can lose baby teeth early, and then not develop adult teeth until later. For most, though, the schedule for developing permanent teeth is as follows:
Again, upper and lower teeth emerge on the same schedule.
- Central incisors come in between 7 to 8 years of age
- Lateral incisors show up between 8 to 9 years of age
- Canines come in between 11 to 12 years of age
- First premolars come in around 10 to 11 years of age
- Second premolars come in around the same time as premolars, but they can come in at 12 years of age
- First molars emerge between 6 to 7 years of age
- Second molars pop in between 12 to 13 years of age
- Wisdom teeth come in between 17 to 21 years of age
Issues With Developing And Losing Teeth In Children
While all of this is pretty straight-foward, there are sometimes issues with developing teeth. As stated above, some kids are born with teeth, while other medical conditions can make it to where children don’t develop teeth, at all.
Other medical conditions can make teeth fall out, early, or decay and never form properly. For the most part, though, if you take care of your child’s oral hygiene, they will develop teeth normally.
So that you can properly take care of your child’s teeth, learn the basic anatomy of teeth and the timeline on which they develop:
Teeth start developing in the womb, and good nutrition while pregnant is important in the development of these baby teeth.
The first stage of tooth development begins about 6 weeks of gestation, when the basic substance forms. Next, the hard tissue forms around 3 to 4 months of gestation.
After the child is born, the next stage of development comes on the timeline listed above, when they tooth protrudes through the gum. The last stage is when “baby” teeth fall out.
If your child’s teeth are not taken care of at any time during these stages, they can experience premature loss and decay, or teeth that don’t fully develop. To take care of their teeth, learn the tooth’s anatomy:
Enamel– The outer layer of the tooth and the first defense against decay
Dentin– The inner layer and the main part of the tooth
Pulp– Soft tissue on the inside of the tooth. It contains the nerve and blood supply
Root– Secures the tooth to the jaw.
Even following tips for proper dental hygiene won’t stop some dental issues, though. If your child has not developed baby teeth by 18 months, or a permanent tooth has not emerged within two year of losing a baby tooth, you need to take your child to see a dentist. They may have an underlying health condition that is preventing proper tooth development or eruption.
Proper Dental Hygiene for Children
To take proper care of your child’s teeth, follow these tips:
Oral Hygiene for Infants
It is important to start oral hygiene care for infants even before their first tooth comes in. Healthy gums lead to healthy teeth. To take care of your child’s gums:
- Wipe their gums with a soft washcloth after they eat.
- When teeth do come in, brush them twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Use only about the size of a grain of rice and a soft-bristle toothbrush.
- Don’t allow bottles or sippy cups in bed.
- Take your children to the dentist, regularly, beginning at a year of age.
Oral Hygiene for Children
As kids grow, you should do more for their oral care beginning at age three, when they have all of their baby teeth.
- Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Be sure your child brushes for at least 2 minutes.
- Be sure your child brushes twice a day.
- Start flossing.
- Visit the dentist every 6 months.
Oral Hygiene for Preteens
By the time your child is 13, they should have all or most of their permanent teeth. You should do more to keep those teeth healthy, as they have no backups.
- Remind your child to brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Make sure they are brushing twice a day at two minutes a day, as well as flossing and using mouthwash.
- A power toothbrush helps and gets the job done better.
- Have children wear a mouthguard to protect teeth from injuries if they play sports.
- See if braces will help overcrowded teeth.
All of these tips will help your children develop and maintain healthy teeth and healthy oral hygiene habits.
Can A 10 Year-Old Get Wisdom Teeth?
While the normal timeline for getting wisdom teeth is between 17-21 years of age, that is not always the case. Some people develop their wisdom teeth earlier, and some don’t develop wisdom teeth, at all.
Consider that the wisdom teeth are already there and developed (in those who have no tooth development issues) like all other teeth, and the answer is yes, a 10 year-old can have their wisdom teeth emerge or cause issues, but it’s rare.
One of the largest determining factors for a child emerging wisdom teeth at an early age is genetics. If you or their other parent developed wisdom teeth before the age of 17, your child has a high risk of doing the same.
The youngest person to have wisdom teeth removed was 9 years old. The oldest person to have them erupt and then removed was 94 years old.
Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the very back of your mouth. They take a while to come through, and many times they never do. That is when you will have issues for wisdom teeth that a dentist needs to address. These are permanent teeth, but you do not lose a baby tooth in preparation for them, which makes them unique.
Do Wisdom Teeth Serve A Purpose?
Most people wouldn’t go around taking out permanent teeth, but wisdom teeth are different, and not just because they are not proceeded by baby teeth. Technically, they haven’t served a practical purpose for thousands of years.
When men and women survived on raw meat, roots, and leaves, they needed wisdom teeth to cut into their food, but today- they are pointless. Now, they are also a problem for many people. But why the change?
Around 800,000 to 200,000 years ago, the human brain started grew, rapidly, and ballooned to three times its original size, which changed the shape of the braincase and shortened the dental arcade shortened. This left no room for wisdom teeth, which made them crowded and causes them to grow in at odd angles.
Another interesting note is that people can have one, two, three, four, or no wisdom teeth. In rare cases, some people have two full sets of wisdom teeth. Some scientists believe wisdom teeth will cease to exist altogether, one day.
What to Do If Your 10 Year-Old Develops Wisdom Teeth
In the event that your 10 year-old develops wisdom teeth, get them to your dentist, as soon as you can. Many people think that you have to have your wisdom teeth removed, but that isn’t true in all cases. In fact, studies have shown that many people get unnecessary wisdom teeth removal. If they are healthy, properly growing, positioned correctly, and able to be cleaned, they don’t need to be removed.
If they are crowded, grown in at a weird angle, causing pain, or hard to reach for cleaning, they will need to be removed to keep your overall dental hygiene healthy.
Many dentists believe it’s best to remove wisdom teeth at a young age, before the roots and bone are fully formed, because it makes the surgery and recovery faster and easier.
If your 10 year-old has their wisdom teeth emerge, but their other permanent teeth have not come through, or if they still have baby teeth, they will need to be monitored to make sure their wisdom teeth do not cause problems with their permanent teeth.
If your child has pain, swelling, or fluid sacs developing around their wisdom teeth, they will need to have them removed. The problems will only get worse as they age. This is a very common dental surgery, though, with 3.5 million of them being performed each year.
If your 10 year-old has developed wisdom teeth, or symptoms that show wisdom teeth are on their way to erupting or causing problems, call your child’s dentist and seek professional help on what you can do. They aren’t needed, and the surgery for them is common. Having it done while they are younger is better for recovery, and can help with their overall dental and oral hygiene as they age.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare