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Deciduous Teeth

The deciduous teeth are the primary teeth that first erupt in babies and are more commonly known as milk teeth. In this article, the general anatomical information about the deciduous teeth will be discussed, following a chronological list of when the milk teeth erupt and when they fall out. Lastly, a common pathological disorder that ails milk teeth will be mentioned.


There are twenty deciduous teeth in total, which means four medial incisors, four lateral incisors, four canines and eight molars. Each of the four oral quadrants that are separated by the midline and into the upper and lower jaw contain five teeth each. The milk teeth are numbered individually with double digits. The first digit represents their quadrant which is either five, six, seven or eight and goes from the upper right side to the upper left side and from there to the lower left side to the lower right in a circle. The second number represents the order of the tooth in the quadrant and goes from one to five from the midline outwards. These numbers help the dentist and his or her assistant to recognize the teeth and keep records. There are no deciduous teeth present at birth, but by the time a child has turned three, all twenty teeth will be present.

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Overview of all the maxillary and mandibular teeth.

Age of Primary Tooth Eruption

  • Maxillary Central Incisor: 8-10 months
  • Maxillary Lateral Incisor: 8-10 months
  • Maxillary Canine: 16-20 months
  • Maxillary 1st Molar: 15-21 months
  • Maxillary 2nd Molar: 20-24 months
  • Mandibular Central Incisor: 6-9 months
  • Mandibular Lateral Incisor: 15-21 months
  • Mandibular Canine: 16-20 months
  • Mandibular 1st Molar: 15-21 months
  • Mandibular 2nd Molar: 20-24 months

Age of Primary Tooth Loss

  • Maxillary Central Incisor: 6th-7th year
  • Maxillary Lateral Incisor: 7th-8th year
  • Maxillary Canine: 10th-12th year
  • Maxillary 1st Molar: 9th-11th year
  • Maxillary 2nd Molar: 10th-12th year
  • Mandibular Central Incisor: 6th-7th year
  • Mandibular Lateral Incisor: 7th-8th year
  • Mandibular Canine: 9th-12th year
  • Mandibular 1st Molar: 9th-11th year
  • Mandibular 2nd Molar: 10th-12th year


Early childhood caries are commonly known as baby bottle caries. Very young children that keep the bottle in their mouth for an extended period of time and are fed liquids that are high in sugar may be subjected to tooth decay in which their milk teeth are lost early or need to be extracted. Due to the fact that babies immune systems are still developing, the decay can easily spread and the caries can become rampant, encircling the necks of the child's teeth, weakening the structure and making the tooth almost impossible to save. Even if the child loses all their milk teeth, the permanent teeth will not be affected.

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Show references


  • Picture of the teeth. WebMD. 
  • Neil S. Norton, Ph.D. and Frank H. Netter, MD, Netter’s Head and Neck Anatomy for Dentistry, 2nd Edition, Elsevier Saunders, Chapter 13 Oral Cavity, Boundaries of the Oral Cavity, Page 332 to 341 to 351.


  • Dr. Alexandra Sieroslawska
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Overview of the teeth

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