mom and toddler daughter in bathroom brushing teeth

Delayed Tooth Eruption: What to Expect

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Teething is tough on parents and babies. All of a sudden your baby went from relatively happy and peaceful to agitated and fussy. No matter what you try, nothing seems to help. And then the little tip of a white tooth starts to peek through the gums. Now you know what all the fuss was about. 

What happens if there is no fuss because there are no teeth? If your baby seems to be growing in every way - but without teeth - you may be encountering delayed tooth eruption. 

What is Delayed Tooth Eruption

Delayed tooth eruption is the phrase used to refer to teething that starts later than average. For instance, many babies will typically start teething around six months, with the majority of the activity happening around one year of age. Some will get their teeth sooner, others will get them later. By the age of 3 years, on average, children will have a full set of 20 primary teeth.

Many children with delayed tooth eruption are well into their first year of life without their first tooth. For a lot of parents, this causes alarm. 

What Causes Delayed Tooth Eruption

Many factors may contribute to delayed tooth eruption, but most often genetics is to blame. Gather some family history on the paternal and maternal side of the baby’s family tree and there is a good chance you will see a pattern. 

No genetic connection? Delayed tooth eruption could result from things such as: 

  • Prematurity or low birth weight
  • Nutritional or vitamin deficiency
  • Dental infections
  • Oral space issues
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Developmental disorders, such as hypopituitarism

There are so many reasons that could account for the delay, but a thorough exam with a pediatric dentist can help you uncover what the culprit may be. 

When to Seek Treatment

Delayed tooth eruption is not necessarily anything to panic about. It is quite common and, as discussed, it could happen for a variety of reasons. 

There is no set deadline for your baby’s teeth to erupt, but if your baby reaches 18 months or so with no sign of teething, you may want to consider seeking the expertise of a pediatric dentist. 

During your visit, the dentist will take a look at your baby’s mouth and do a thorough evaluation, as well as ask you about any medical or genetic history. A set of x-rays may also be taken for the dentist to gain an image of the teeth below the gum line. This is all part of determining the reason for the delayed tooth eruption.  

Rest easy. Delayed tooth eruption is not usually anything to worry about. If there are any developmental delays in eating or speech that result from the missing teeth, these things can be easily corrected once they do come in. 

The biggest factor is to make sure you are still able to feel your baby all the needed nutrition. Some pediatric dentists may tell you that pureeing food is fine, while others may suggest allowing your young one to frequently chew on foods that are a bit more firm than the soft puree. Doing so not only helps strengthen the jaw but also may empower teeth to push through the gums. 

Be sure to speak to your pediatric dentist on how to best handle your baby’s dental care. 

Orange County Pediatric Dentistry Can Help

If you are concerned about your child’s tooth eruption - or lack thereof - the dentists of Orange County Pediatric Dentistry can help. We’ve got the expertise in working with babies and kids, as well as the diagnostic tools to uncover what is going on below the gum line. Let us put your mind at ease. 

Contact our office at 845-928-2206 to schedule an appointment with one of our highly-trained specialists. Or, request an appointment online.