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You are born without any teeth—just an adorable gummy smile that makes your family laugh and adore you. As you grow, your teeth begin to form and around 6 to 12 months of age, your teeth begin to visibly emerge through the gum line. By the time you are 3 years old, you have all of your primary teeth—20 in total—known as your baby teeth. You will keep these teeth and use them for smiling, laughing, speaking, and chewing until you are 5 or 6 years old. Then, one by one, these teeth will fall out and your secondary teeth will begin to emerge.
Primary teeth become loose and fall out because the secondary teeth, also known as permanent teeth, begin to emerge and need room to grow. At the age of 12 or 13, most kids have lost all of their baby teeth and will have a full set of permanent teeth. A pediatric dentist will assist you in the care of your teeth from when you are a baby until you are a teenager. Then you will begin to see the family dentist to care for your oral health and maybe an affordable orthodontist, if you need braces or other dental appliances.
In total, there are 28 permanent teeth and an additional set, known as wisdom teeth, which emerge between the ages of 17 and 25 in the back corners of the mouth. There are four wisdom teeth, which, for most adults, will be removed or may never emerge.
A Tour of the Teeth
You have a variety of teeth in your mouth, all serving different functions. Each tooth, however, is comprised of the same tissues and fibers to keep it in place and working properly. Your teeth are held in place by your gums, the soft pink tissue you see around your teeth when you smile.
The part of the tooth that you can see emerging from your gums is known as the crown. The crown of the tooth is made from enamel, a very hard, shiny substance that protects the teeth. Below the enamel, where you can’t see, is the dentin. The dentin is the largest part of the tooth and is also hard in texture. It protects the pulp of the tooth, where the nerve endings and blood supply are kept. The pulp spirals all the way to the root of the tooth under the gum line to the cementum. The cementum comprises the root of the tooth and is where the tooth is anchored to the jawbone.
Your teeth require proper care—daily brushing and flossing, as well as routine visits to your family dentistry experts to ensure that they last a lifetime. Whether you have 20 teeth or 32, or are somewhere in between, you need to care for every tooth, every day.