Tooth Talk with Brinkley Dental Group – Unique facts about teeth: When do teeth actually start to form?

Sometimes the strangest things pop into your mind. No rhyme or reason, just a random thought that travels through the brain unsolicited yet attention grabbing. Most of the time we don’t pursue them but every once in awhile, they spark enough interest that we choose to explore them further. With such easy access to the Internet, exploring can be fun! With this in mind, prompted by a question from an expectant mother, we will talk about when teeth start to form. 

Perhaps you’re thinking you already know the answer. After all, we aren’t born with teeth. For most they tend to become visible between the ages of 6 -12 months but what of those who are born with teeth? Yes, it happens. Where do teeth actually come from? Are animals born with teeth? Today we will attempt to answer these and other questions you might have wondered about! 

The actual development of teeth is referred to as “odontogenesis” and is a “complex process by which teeth form from embryonic cellsgrow, and erupt into the mouth.” In terms of human development, this process actually starts between the sixth and eighth week of fetal development for primary teeth and permanent teeth begin to form around the twentieth week in utero. They develop in a number of stages that are probably a little too complex to get into here since many of those stages take place during development and are not visible. We are probably more familiar with the tooth eruption stages, when the teeth enter the mouth and become visible. According to Wikipedia, timelines vary for tooth eruption for both primary and permanent teeth but are typically considered to begin around the age of 8 months, with most developing their permanent teeth by around age 12. Andontia is the complete lack of tooth development although that is VERY rare and yes, the opposite occurs in that some babies are born with teeth! These are called natal teeth and occur in about one in every 2,000 to 3,000 births. These are teeth that normally develop on the lower gum, are attached with soft tissue and don’t have strong roots and will eventually fall out or can be removed by a Dentist after birth.

As for our friends in the animal kingdom, we would need another blog just to discuss the vagaries of their tooth development. What we can say is that “Most mammals are born with a special set of usually smaller, weaker teeth called milk teeth or deciduous teeth.” Ongoing development of teeth, how quickly adult teeth develop and how they develop is very species specific however and as we said, would take at least another whole blog to describe and define. One interesting fact of note: toothed whales are born with a complete set of teeth that are never replaced!

Now you know. For humans, tooth development begins as early as 6 weeks in utero, they may start to become visible 6 months after birth and it’s probably around age 6 that many lose their first tooth! Random thoughts we are happy to share and hope you found them enjoyable to read. As always, Brinkley Dental thanks you for stopping in, reading and commenting on our blogs and reminds you, ”don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”

*with Wikipedia, thebump.com and animaldiversity.com