Physiologic Tooth Movement: Eruption & Shedding

The jaws of an infant can accommodate only a few small teeth. Because teeth, when formed, cannot increase in size, the larger jaws of the adult require not only more but also bigger teeth. This accommodation is accomplished with two dentitions. The first is the deciduous or primary dentition, and the second is the permanent or secondary dentition (Figure 1 & 2).

Mixed Dentition on a skull.
Figure 1: Mixed Dentition on a skull.


Figure 2: Panoramic Radiograph of the mixed dentition.
Figure 2: Panoramic Radiograph of the mixed dentition.


Teeth develop within the tissues of the jaw. For teeth to become functional, considerable movement is required to bring them into the occlusal plane (into the oral cavity).

Superimposed on these movements is a progression from primary to permanent dentition, involving the shedding (or exfoliation) of the deciduous dentition.

  • Naming Teeth
How primary teeth are named?


How permanent teeth are named?
How permanent teeth are named?
  • Chronology of eruption of the human primary dentition:
Deciduous Dentition (Primary Dentition)  Eruption Times
Maxillary (Upper jaw)
Central incisor 7½  months
Lateral incisor 9 months
Cuspid 18 months
First molar 14 months
Second molar 24 months
Mandibular (Lower jaw)
Central incisor 6 months
Lateral incisor 7 months
Cuspid 16 months
First molar 12 months
Second molar 20 months
Permanent Dentition  Eruption Times
Maxillary (Upper jaw)
Central incisor 7-8 years
Lateral incisor 8-9 years
Cuspid 11-12 years
First bicuspid 10-11 years
Second bicuspid 10-12 years
First molar 6-7 years
Second molar 12-13 years
Third molar 17-21 years
Mandibular (Lower jaw)
Central incisor 6-7 years
Lateral incisor 7-8 years
Cuspid 9-10 years
First bicuspid 10-12 years
Second bicuspid 11-12 years
First molar 6-7 years
Second molar 11-13 years
Third molar 17-21 years


 Reference: Ten Cate’s Oral Histology by Antonio Nanci


Now, I want to hear from you!

What do you know about tooth eruption?

Let me know in the comments — I read each and every one!

Haider Maitham DDS


12 thoughts on “Physiologic Tooth Movement: Eruption & Shedding

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