Fillings

Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. Some of them are necessary until a child is 12 years old or longer. Pain, infection of the gums and jaws, impairment of general health and premature loss of teeth are just a few of the problems that can happen when baby teeth are neglected. Also, because tooth decay is really an infection and will spread, decay on baby teeth can cause decay on permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of your child.

Baby Teeth

Even before you can see them, primary teeth are developing under the gums of your infant. Around the age of 6-8 months, the primary teeth will begin to appear; all 20 are in place by age 3.

Though they eventually fall out, taking care of your child’s primary teeth is important because they reserve space in the jaw for permanent teeth.

Children usually lose their primary teeth between the ages of 6 and 12. The usual sequence for losing primary teeth begins with the lower front teeth, followed by the upper front teeth. Eventually, all 20 primary teeth will be lost.

Permanent Teeth

Permanent teeth will begin to grow around age 6. All teeth will have erupted by age 14 with the exception of wisdom teeth. Permanent teeth develop in the following age sequence:

Upper Teeth:

Incisors (front teeth):
Canine (fang-like teeth):
Premolars (side teeth):
First Molar:
Second molar:
Wisdom teeth:

Age 7 to 9
Age 11 to 12
Age 10 to 12
Age 6 to 7
Age 12 to 13
Age 17 to 21

Lower Teeth:

Incisors (front teeth):
Canine (fang-like teeth):
Premolars (side teeth):
First molar:
Second molar:
Wisdom teeth:

Age 6 to 8
Age 9 to 10
Age 10 to 12
Age 6 to 7
Age 11 to 13
Age 17 to 21

Tooth Surfaces Prone to Cavities

  • Smooth Surface Cavities (least common)
  • Pit and Fissure Cavities (most common)
  • Root cavities (much more common in adults)

The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.

Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.

Dr. Patrick C. Creevan

  • Dr. Patrick C. Creevan - 1964 Fourth St., Livermore, CA 94550 Phone: 925-443-5980