Like most other mammals, humans go through two sets of teeth in our life time. Certain changes happen at specific points in our lives and each of these stages is as equally important as the rest.
By looking at the lifecycle of our teeth we can see why it’s so important to have great oral hygiene from the minute our teeth appear right through to adulthood.
We are born without teeth. Our first teeth, known as milk teeth, only start protruding between 5 and 8 months after being born.
The First teeth we get are our incisors, which are the front 8 (four at the top and four at the bottom). These are small and flat edged.
Next are the canines, the large pointed teeth that surround our incisors. We have four of these.
We then develop eight premolars which are larger with uneven surfaces. They usually develop by the time we are 2 years old.
By this point we should have a complete set of 20 teeth, ten on the top and ten on the bottom.
Our 20 milk teeth are only temporary. They are there to temporarily help us eat whilst we are growing. Once we reach the age of 6, these teeth begin to break down and the proteins from the roots of our teeth are used to create our adult teeth.
As they break down, they become lose and begin to fall out. We lose around two at a time and they’re generally painless.
Once these have fallen out our adult teeth begin to come through. At this time our jaw bone has developed enough to accommodate our larger set of adult teeth.
The first teeth to come through follow the pattern of our milk teeth: the 8 incisors, four canines and then four premolars.
As we get older and our jaw grows, we produce more teeth. Growing out first four molars at around the ages of six to eight and then a second set at around age twelve.
So, just as we enter our teens we should have a set of 28 teeth!
Teens and Young Adults
It is likely that our teeth will grow in at funny angles or in an awkward position. It is very easy to have these straightened with braces.
Our wisdom teeth come in anywhere between our late teens and late twenties. Some don’t get them at all.
A lot of people come across difficulties with these teeth. If your jaw doesn’t have enough room for them or they are pushing against other teeth it is usually the best option to have them removed.
Once we have our 32 teeth, these are all we get. It is important to look after these teeth with proper dental hygiene as we only get one opportunity to get it right.