Mother and Baby

How to tell if your baby's teeth are growing in the right order

baby teeth order

The growth of your baby's teeth is an exciting time in their development, although the the teething cries may not mean it feels like it. By the time your baby is three, they'll probably have 20 teeth, which is pretty amazing. They'll get most of their "baby teeth" during toddlerhood, starting from around six months old.

Your baby is born with "buds" on their gums, and it's in these areas that the 20 teeth will "erupt" and form into proper baby teeth. It's usually pretty straightforward, but sometimes the tooth-growing process doesn't always go to plan. Sometimes teeth might grow in the wrong order, or develop too close together, or there could be a delay in tooth-growth that might prompt a trip to your GP.

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What order should my baby's teeth grow in?

There are five different kinds of teeth that your baby will grow in their first two years. They are:

  • Central incisors (front teeth)

  • Lateral incisors (between the front teeth and canines)
  • First molars 
  • Canines (next to the first molars)
  • Second molars (back teeth)

Babies usually get their front teeth first, but sometimes they come slightly out of order. This isn't usually a cause for concern, but here's a rough guide of which teeth should come when:

Age Teeth
6-10 months bottom central incisors
8-12 months top central incisors
9-13 months top lateral incisors
10-16 months bottom lateral incisors
13-19 months top first molars 
14-18 months bottom first molars
16-22 months top canines
17-23 months bottom canines
23-31 months bottom second molars
25-33 months top second molars

 

Although your baby's teeth growth might be differnent, experts say there is a general pattern. Paediatric dentist Claire Stevens told Mother&Baby: ‘The buds of different teeth grow at different rates.' ‘First to emerge, at around six months, will be her bottom two front teeth, followed a month or so later by her upper middle teeth, her central incisors. At nine to 12 months, she’ll get four more, one on either side of these central teeth, and these are her lateral incisors.'

These usually emerge in pairs, two on one side, then two on the other. ‘At around 14 months, her first molars – bigger, with a flat surface to crush food – will appear top and bottom,' explains Claire, 'leaving a gap between them and her incisors. At 18 months, four sharper canine teeth fill this gap top and the bottom: these are used to tear food. At around 26 months, two pairs of second molars will emerge at the back of her mouth, with broad flat surfaces to grind up her food.’

When is it normal for my baby to teethe?

Every baby is different, some may start teething at four to seven months and some may not get their first teeth until they're around one. Sometimes babies are even born with one or two teeth - it's largely down to genetics.

How can I tell if something is wrong with my baby's teeth?

The order in which your baby's teeth arrive is actually less important than other factors, like the spacing between them and disease prevention. Because baby teeth are much smaller than adult teeth, there should be plenty of space between them to allow room for the adult teeth to grow. Ideally you should check your baby's teeth every four months and visit a pediatric dentist or your GP if you're worried that your baby's teeth are growing too close together.

You might be surprised to know that baby teeth are at a higher risk of tooth decay, causing an increased risk of:

  • Early tooth loss
  • Infections
  • Gum disease
  • Yellow or brown spots on teeth
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Cavities
  • Poor self-esteem

Teething problems tend to happen more frequently in babies born prematurely, so if your baby was born pre-term, consider keeping a closer eye on their teeth. If no teeth have appeared by the time your baby is 18 months old, take them to see a dentist.

Signs your baby's turned into a toddler:

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1) You realise you now need eyes in the back of your head

Whereas before you could nip into another room quickly to pick up some more nappies and your baby wouldn’t have moved far, now you turn around for one second and he’s disappeared.
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2) They've discovered the word ‘No!’

And she’s not afraid to use it… a lot. It’s a classic sign of your toddler beginning to assert their dominance.
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3) But he’s also started saying ‘Mum!’

It started with a ‘Mmummumm’ sound and is now a very specific ‘Mum’, and no matter how often he says it, you always feel so proud.
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4) Bath time just got a whole lot messier

We’ll admit, it’s pretty cute when your toddler gets excited about being able to splash his arms around and play with bath bubbles.

Not so fun is when he decides to throw all the toys out of the bath and then splash Mummy.
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5) You get actual, spontaneous cuddles

All hugs are amazing, but there’s something even better about your little one toddling up on his own with his arms outstretched for a cuddle.
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6) You've been introduced to the new cry

There’ll still be tears, but he's discovered how to make more specific sounds, which wheedle right into your brain.

And they're louder, too. Yep, that'll be whining.
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7) Buggy tantrums have begun

A previously pliant baby now fluctuates between being overly possessive (‘My buggy!’) and pulling a full-on plank while you try and strap him in, meaning you end up carrying him on your hip and pushing an empty stroller around. *Sigh*
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8) Everything gets picked up or opened

His little starfish hands that could only grab hold of your little finger or a bottle of milk suddenly develop in dexterity.

Now keys, remote controls and bits of fluff all get picked up, hidden in corners, deposited behind sofas or stuffed into his mouth.

Talk about sensory development…
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9) They've discovered the jack-in-the-box trick

Before you could put your baby down to sleep and aside from a few rolls, he’d still be lying down when you saw him next.

Now your little monkey loves nothing more than hooking his hands over his cot, bouncing up and down and for the more energetic, even attempting to climb out.

Saying that, the sight of his cheeky grin as he peeps over the top of his crib every morning gets you every time.
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10) You’ve experienced the ‘new’ kind of nappy

Milk and pureed food used to mean nappies were…manageable.

But now he’s eating proper food, things have taken on a decidedly more solid form.
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11) You've become an expert in speed dressing

…And pretty handy at the standing nappy change, too.

Basically anything that involves putting on or removing clothing, because your toddler does not like lying down or standing still for longer than 20 seconds.
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12) They've perfected the over-arm throw

Whether she’s sat in her high chair, a shopping trolley or her car seat, throwing anything she can get her hands – a handful of mashed potato, her favourite teddy, your phone – will be the most fun…ever.

Even more so when you pick it up and put it back in her hands and she gets to do it all over again. And again. And again.

When did you realise your baby was turning into a toddler? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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  • Author: Louella Berryman Louella Berryman
  • Job Title: Audience Development Executive

After training as a journalist at Cardiff University, Louella now works in Audience Development across Bauer’s lifestyle brands.
She has also written for The Sunday Times Travel, Grazia, heatworld, Closer Online and her food blog, Louella’s Kitchen, where she writes about everything from Portuguese surf camps to the best mushroom bolognese.

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