Parents and Caregivers have a lot of age-related questions about pediatric dentistry! Here are some commonly asked questions. If you have more, feel free to contact us at Glacier Grins Pediatric Dentistry by phone or text at (406) 890-6055 or by email at and we will get your questions answered!

At What Age Should I first bring my child to the dentist?

As a parent you get to experience many “firsts” with your child; the first time they say “mama” or “dada”, their first time crawling, AND the first time they go to the dentist!

A question that many parents ask us frequently is ‘When should I bring my child in for their first dental visit?’ Our answer here at Glacier Grins is always ‘SOONER than you think’! You’ll find lots of information you need in our office, from our dentists and assistants, and on this website to begin a lifetime of good oral health for your little one.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) it is recommended that a child should have a dental appointment as soon as they get their first tooth, which is usually around 6 months old, and have an established dental home by their first birthday.

However, if you notice anything out of the ordinary before the 6 months to 12 month timeframe, such as, your baby is not eating or nursin well, or discomfort or bleeding, Glacier Grins is always available to care for you and your child’s needs at any age 0-18!

Why should I even bother taking my child in when they have so few teeth, you ask? The reality of it is, as soon as a child gets teeth, they can get a cavity. In fact, 1 in 5 children suffer from tooth decay. It’s easy to assume that without a full dentition of teeth, there is no need to see the dentist, but, Dentistry focuses on so much more than that! We also focus on gums, lips, inside of mouth and full comprehensive care. It is beneficial for your child to see the dentist early to keep positive appointments and get your child used to coming to the dentist and screening. So, as you celebrate those milestones, give our office a call today for your child’s first dental visit!

To learn more about what that visit will look like visit “First Dental Visit” on our website.

At What Age does a baby’s first tooth appear?

A lot of parents ask, When should I expect my child’s first tooth to appear?

Milk teeth are forming before a baby is even born and still in the womb. Those cute little nubs are hidden in the jawbone waiting to break through the gums. As a child starts exploring the world more and more with their mouth, including putting their hands in their mouth and rubbing their gums, saliva increases. All of these things are signals for the primary teeth to begin to erupt from the gums. For some infants, it can happen as early as 3 months and for others, it won’t happen until about 12 months. The most common occurrence of first tooth appearance is between 6 and 10 months with the lower central incisors appearing first, followed by the upper. Infant boys tend to teeth later than infant girls. From there eruptions continue forward in a fairly common pattern. See the tooth chart below for a visual guideline to understand when you might start seeing each tooth appear.

Before eruption, the primary teeth are developing their enamel and dentin in what is known as the crown formation and mineralization. Once the tooth erupts, the cells that are responsible for enamel formation are lost and no further enamel remodeling occurs. However, the root will continue to form for up to 18 months post eruption. There are many factors that determine the timing of tooth eruption, but if your infant’s tooth is earlier or later than the general occurrence, feel free to give us a call at Glacier Grins, or make an appointment for your child’s first visit. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends a child see the dentist upon appearance of their first tooth and establish a dental home by their 1st birthday. We are happy to discuss nursing, teething and eruption questions you may have, plus it is wise to have children become accustomed to a dental office, having a dentist count their teeth, and staying ahead of problems before they occur. Our goal at Glacier Grins is to make their appointments the best they can be. Cavities can come on quickly in primary teeth, and getting to it before deeper treatment is needed helps keep visits fun and dental health as a way of life!

Tooth Type Top Teeth Bottom Teeth
Central Incisors 8 to 12 months 6 to 10 months
Lateral Incisors 9 to 13 months 10 to 16 months
First Molars 13 to 19 months 14 to 18 months
Canines 16 to 22 months 17 to 23 months
Second Molars 25 to 33 months 23 to 31 months
  1. Central incisors are flat and thin and used for slicing food into smaller pieces. Just what a baby needs when transitioning from milk to soft foods. The upper are wider and the most prominent of a child’s teeth. The bottom are smaller and more narrow.
  2. Lateral (means to the side of ) incisors, sit to the side of the central incisors before the canines. They are the second set of primary teeth to start erupting. These also help with slicing and cutting up food.
  3. First Molars are rectangular teeth in the back of the mouth that are flatter and wider to held grind and crush up food. Up to 90% of the chewing up of food happens from the molar area.
  4. Canines are between the lateral incisors and the first molars. They usually start to appear after the first molars. They are very pointy, helping to slice and tear food and also help guide the jaw in its bite.
  5. Second Molars are also used to crush food. The bottom of the second molars usually come in first, followed by the upper second molars.

By 3 years old all 20 of the milk teeth that were present in the womb will most likely have appeared. 8 incisors, 4 canines, and 8 molars. Each has a function and holds a place. The mouth is amazing!