Most people will have a set of 20 primary teeth, also called “deciduous”, “baby”, or “milk” teeth. These are slowly replaced with a set of 28 to 32 “secondary”, “permanent” or “adult” teeth.
The two front teeth from the midline of the permanent dentition are called the “central” and “lateral” incisors, respectively. The 3rd tooth from the midline looks like a dog’s fangs and are called “canines”. The 4th to 8th back or posterior teeth are respectively called the “1st premolar”, “2nd premolar”, “1st molar”, “2nd molar”, and “3rd molar”. The 3rd molars are also known as “wisdom teeth”.
The primary teeth usually appear from 6 to 8 months of age, with all primary teeth fully erupted by 3 years of age. Most of the primary teeth would be replaced by secondary teeth between 12 to 14 years of age, with the wisdom teeth appearing after 17 years.
Many people may not have enough room for all 32 permanent teeth, and may usually require removal of the wisdom teeth and perhaps a few of the premolar teeth. Orthodontics may also be used to make room for jaws with crowded teeth.
Whilst the primary teeth are designed to fall out at different rates from 6 years of age, they are vital to the correct development and eruption positions of the permanent teeth, and to a person’s facial development. It is therefore just as important to look after these primary teeth to ensure a lifelong healthy dentition and beautify smiles.