Parents usually see a baby’s first tooth eruption as a major milestone in their baby’s life. You might see the first tiny pearly white bud in the gumline as signal’s the arrival of your baby’s first tooth.

The age of tooth eruption considerably varies from baby to baby. However, if you wait month after month for the tooth to erupt, you may feel worried as you imagine your child toothless for a long time. There are several factors causing delay in tooth emergence. However, this delay is not something to be anxious about – there may be underlying causes for such condition in some babies.

What’s Normal Tooth Eruption?

Infants are born with most of their teeth already developed within their gums. They typically start to emerge by the age of six months. First to appear are the two lower front teeth, followed by the four upper front teeth and then the two lower front teeth. In general, the rest arrive two at a time – one on each side. By the age of three, almost all kids have a complete set of 20 primary teeth.

When is a Delay Considered Abnormal?

The normal range for the appearance of the first tooth is between four and 15 months. Most kids have four teeth by the time they’re 11 months old. At 15 months, the baby will have 8 teeth, 12 teeth at 19 months, 16 teeth at 23 months and 20 teeth at 27 months.  If your baby has no teeth by age of 18 months, he/she should be taken to see a dentist, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests.

Permanent teeth starts to emerge around six years of age. Teeth that don’t follow this normal tooth eruption pattern are not necessarily a concern, but having no teeth at all may signify a more serious concern in some cases.

Causes of Delayed Tooth Eruption

There are several reasons why a child’s tooth emerge beyond the normal schedule. In some cases, late tooth eruption could just be a family trait. Premature birth and low birth weight may also be blamed for the delayed tooth eruption and the teeth may have enamel issues that come with it.

 Rare genetic abnormalities causing poorly formed teeth and delayed tooth appearance such as regional odontodysplasia and amelogenesis imperfecta can be the reason as well. Vitamin D-resistant rickets and nutritional deficiency can also lead to a delay.

Dealing with Delayed Tooth Eruption

For most children who are toothless, a delay is just an opportunity for the parents to enjoy their gummy smile a bit longer. Nevertheless, parents must setup a dental visit for their kids whose teeth erupt later than the normal schedule, particularly if they are worried the delay could mean a more serious problem. But keep in mind that, however late they erupt, caring for your child’s teeth and gums is the best start for a long-lasting oral health.