Teething and Temporary Teeth

When it comes to children’s teeth, many parents have doubts that only a dentist can answer. Here are some of the most important things you should know.


The babies first set of teeth are called milk teeth or temporary teeth, and they start showing in the mouth around 6 months of age. This is a good time to take your baby to the dentist for the first time.

The first teeth to show are the lower two central incisors. Even when the tooth is showing in the mouth, this does not mean it is fully formed. The root is still developing, and growing in length, and it will not be fully formed until one year or more later.

Some babies may experience discomfort a few days before the first teeth break through their gums and will likely try to bite on objects to feel better. You can gently massage your babies’ gums with your finger or allow the baby to bite on a teething ring. If you are considering medication, consult your dentist and remember to never give aspirin to kids.

Children will be teething from approximately 6 months old to 2.5 years old. Teeth can appear early in the mouth or have a 4-6 month delay before coming in. However, if an extensive delay occurs, it is important to visit a pediatric dentist to assess the case because it is possible that the teeth are congenitally missing or another condition is keeping the teeth from erupting.

Having permanent teeth along with milk teeth

There are 10 temporary teeth in every jaw by the time the child is 3 years old: 4 front teeth (incisors), 2 canines, and 4 molars.

It is expected for children to have gaps between the teeth. These gaps are important because it is valuable space to accommodate the bigger permanent teeth in the future.

Around 6 years old children typically have their first permanent tooth erupting. This is the permanent first molar, and it grows beside the last temporary molar of each dental arch. It may appear that this tooth is another milk tooth that will exfoliate, but in fact, it is one of the most important teeth to preserve; therefore remember to never neglect proper dental care for children.

After the first permanent molar is in the mouth, temporary teeth start to become loose and fall off because the permanent substitutes are about to erupt. This process is expected to last until 11-12 years old. After this point, all of the teeth in the mouth should be permanent, although not fully established in their positions.

If your child needs dental care in Costa Rica, please fill out the “Help Me Find A Dentist” form on this site and a participating dental specialist will contact you to discuss your case.