Jim Ellis, DDS: When do Adult Teeth form?

I get asked this a lot. The answer to this question is that adult teeth form very early on in life. This is why the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends fluoride at an early age.

In the picture below, you will see the side view of a child’s skull. I would estimate this child to be about 3 years old, give or take. Some of the jaw bone has been removed to show the adult teeth developing. As you can see, the crowns of the adult teeth have already been formed. Even the 12 year molar (the last tooth visible) has formed most of its crown and it wouldn’t have come into this person’s mouth for another 9 years!

Child’s Skull - Adult Teeth developing

Moral of the story is that …

It’s never too soon to start thinking about your children’s adult teeth. Get them fluoride early and continue it until the dentist advises you to stop.