an infant puts fingers in its mouth

Delayed Tooth Eruption: What You Should Know

TeamPediatric Dentistry

Teething. It can be a difficult time for babies and parents. Your baby was sleeping through the night, but suddenly they are waking up multiple times during the night and fussing. You may not realize what’s going on until the first tooth pops through the gums. Then it all makes sense. 

Unless it doesn’t. Maybe you haven’t experienced this with your baby yet, who is already over a year old. Perhaps your baby is well into toddler-hood with no teeth showing yet. This is called delayed tooth eruption, and it is something that occurs in some babies, toddlers, and even preschoolers. Here’s what you should know about this condition.

What is the normal age for babies to get their first tooth?

Anywhere between the age of 4 and 15 months is considered average for normal tooth eruption. The front teeth on the bottom jaw usually come in first, followed by the front teeth on the top. The rest of the teeth follow in succession after that. Usually by the age of 3 a child will have their complete set of primary teeth, a total of 20.

At what age will a baby be considered to have delayed tooth eruption?

If no teeth have come through the gums by the time the child is 18 months old, they should see a dentist. It is important to evaluate the mouth and try to determine the reason the teeth have not come through the gums yet. X-Rays may be taken to view the teeth below the gum line in order to identify abnormalities.

What are the possible causes of delayed tooth eruption?

Teeth that come in late can simply be a genetic trait. It can be helpful for parents to ask their own parents how old they were when they got their first tooth. It may be something that runs in the family. 

Babies that are born prematurely are more likely to experience delayed tooth eruption. The reason is that a baby born a few months early did not have as long to develop inside the womb. Even though they have been living outside of the womb for 6 months, they may only be about 4 months old developmentally. Preemies are prone to other developmental delays as well, so this is not unusual.

Genetic abnormalities can cause delays in tooth eruption due to malformation of teeth. Babies with Down’s Syndrome are more susceptible to it as well. Vitamin deficiencies can also play a part.

Is Delayed Tooth Eruption Serious?

It is usually not a major concern when a child’s teeth come in later than usual. It may affect their eating and speech, both of which are not that hard to correct later on when the teeth do come in. Do your best to feed your child a balanced diet despite their lack of teeth. It is perfectly acceptable to use pureed baby food for a longer time if necessary. But it can also be beneficial to let your child chew on harder foods to help strengthen the jaw and encourage teeth to break through the gums.

Concerned About Your Baby’s Lack of Teeth? Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics Can Help

If your child is at least 18 months old and has not yet had their first tooth come in, call Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics at any of our 3 convenient locations. We can provide diagnostic services to evaluate your child’s mouth and teeth development to determine why and what to do about it. 

Call us today to make an appointment. We look forward to helping your child get started on the road to excellent dental health.

    Port Jefferson Station


    Wading River