Dental Assistant Training: The Life Cycle of Teeth

Did you know that your teeth go through a lifecycle, starting only six weeks after conception? At three to four months, newborns will go through a time of teething when their teeth are erupting out of their gums. Children should have all their baby teeth by the age of 6 and these teeth will create space for the adult teeth that come later. Take care of your permanent teeth so they can last you a lifetime. If issues do arise, you can get implanted teeth, partials or bridges to replace teeth that have fallen out.

Newborn’s Teeth

Teeth have already been created in newborns, even though you can only see pink gums in a crying baby. The teeth start forming six weeks after conception, 10 on top and 10 on bottom. Newborn’s teeth begin to erupt at two to three months after they are born and several teeth will be in place after four months. Newborn’s teeth may have a bluish hue as the nerves and blood vessels are a little bigger and the dentin and enamel is thinner. The babies’ teeth will hold a space for the adult teeth so a baby still needs to take care of their teeth.

Children’s Teeth

At the age of approximately six, children will start developing permanent teeth. These permanent teeth will start to put pressure on the roots of the baby teeth. The roots are reabsorbed into the gums over time and will cause baby teeth to get loose. The permanent tooth can take around six months to erupt and find its place in the mouth.

Molars come in three sets and fill out the empty space in the back of the jaw. The first two sets of molars will be completely intact by the age of 12. The last set of molars are the wisdom teeth and any problems with the placement of wisdom teeth is usually passed down generation to generation. If you had a problem when your wisdom teeth came in as a child, and they were not accommodated by your jaw, your children will probably have the same issue. Millions of people have their teeth extracted every year in the US.

Permanent Teeth

The teeth are the hardest substance in the human body. The permanent teeth play an important role in chewing and speech. If permanent teeth do not set properly in the jaw, braces or other tooth correcting systems can be used to straighten the permanent teeth. Cavities become more common in permanent teeth as the dentin is exposed over the years while the chewing of food wears down the enamel.  The parts of the teeth include:

Enamel – the outer part of the tooth mostly made of calcium phosphate.
Dentin – is underneath the enamel made up of living cells that secrete hard mineral substances.
Pulp – the softer inner structure of teeth that has both blood vessels and nerves running through it.
Cementum – connective tissue that binds the root of the tooth to the gums and jawbone.
Periodontal ligament – the tissue that holds the tooth against the jaw.

Each tooth in the mouth has a specific shape that work together to chew food properly. Standard tooth numbering for dental assistants includes the numbering of 32 permanent teeth in the upper and lower anterior and posterior of the mouth. The teeth have a specific naming system as well, they include:

Central Incisor – a single rooted tooth located at the front of the jaw.
Lateral Incisor – a single rooted tooth that sits just behind the central incisor.
Cuspid – a single rooted tooth, also called the canine, that sits third in the jaw behind the incisors.
1st Bicuspid – a bi-rooted tooth also called premolars.
2nd Bicuspid – a single rooted tooth also that sits just behind the 1st
1st Molar – a tri-rooted tooth that is flat and good for grinding food.
2nd Molar – a tri-rooted tooth just behind the 1st
3rd Molar – a tri-rooted tooth, also called the wisdom teeth, they are the furthest back set of teeth in the jaw.

Why Permanent Teeth Fall Out

As a person gets older the teeth are subjected to years of chewing, plaque build-up, hard foods that can chip teeth, and bacteria that can cause gum disease. As the bacteria eats away at the enamel, the tooth can create a cavity that needs to be drilled and capped so additional decay doesn’t happen. If severe, the tooth will need a root canal or be removed completely. Adults also loose teeth from gum disease that can weaken the tissues supporting the teeth and make them loose or even fall out.

Fortunately, there are many different options for those that have lost teeth. A tooth can be implanted into your gums, teeth can be replaced by a fixed bridge or you can use removable dentures.

Does the life cycle of teeth interest you? Want to become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic.? PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers the dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. Dental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.