Primary Dentition

Primary teeth are identified by letter; in contrast to adult teeth, which are identified by number. In the primary dentition, there are 20 teeth:

  • 8 incisors
  • 4 canines
  • 8 molars

When Do Primary Teeth Erupt?

Primary teeth (also called baby teeth or deciduous teeth) begin to erupt at age 6 months and this process is complete by 24 and 36 months. There is considerable variation of eruption patterns and the sequence of eruption is more important than the absolute dates.

There is rarely need to be concerned about lack of eruption unless there is evidence of a syndrome or developmental issues; or if no teeth have erupted by 18 months of age.

Order of Eruption Chart

Incisors 6–12 months
First molars 1st year
Second molars 2nd year
Canines 1st to 2nd year

Primary Dentition Nomenclature


Primary Teeth

Joanna Douglass, BDS, DDS
Joanna Douglass, BDS, DDS