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Maternal and Child Health Bureau logoA Health Professionals Guide to Pediatric Oral Health Management
HomeModuleModule 1: An Introduction to Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 2: Managing Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 3: Oral Conditions and AbnormalitiesModule 4: Prevention of Oral DiseaseModule 5: Non-Nutritive Sucking HabitsModule 6: Oral InjuryModule 7: Infants and Young Children with Special Health Care NeedsContentsGlossaryEvaluationHelp
Module 3: Oral Conditions and Abnormalities
Module Contents
3.1 Recognizing Healthy Teeth, Soft Tissues, and Facial Bones
3.2 Healthy Teeth (current page)
3.3 Healthy Soft Tissues
Lips, Tongue, and
Oral Mucosa
Frena & Gingiva
Major Salivary Glands
3.4 Healthy Facial Bones
3.5 Tooth Conditions and Abnormalities
Dental Caries
Untreated Tooth Decay
Hypodontia & Anodontia
Amelogenesis Imperfecta
Dentinogenesis Imperfecta
Extrinsic and Intrinsic Enamel Coloration
3.6 Soft Tissue Conditions and Abnormalities
Epithelial Cysts
Congenital Epulis
Natal or Neonatal Teeth
Eruption Cysts
Fibroma & Papilloma
Key Points
Additional Resources

3.2 Healthy Teeth

photo of healthy teeth
  Fig 1. Healthy Teeth

The health professional will be able to observe only the crowns of the infant’s or child’s teeth. Primary teeth begin to erupt at around age 6 months, and all 20 primary teeth should be present by age 2 or 3, unless there are developmental delays. The primary teeth should be white and opaque and should have smooth surfaces, except for the biting surfaces of the posterior teeth, which will be grooved and pitted. Eruption of the permanent teeth begins at around age 5 or 6. The permanent teeth should appear cream colored and translucent when observed next to the primary teeth. In most cases, the permanent teeth are larger than the primary teeth.

watch video Video of a health professional examining healthy teeth
(requires RealOne Player)

video transcript

Tooth Eruption Chart
(view larger version)

Fig 2. Tooth Eruption Chart

Reproduced with permission from the Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Oral Health, courtesy of Don Altman, D.D.S., M.P.H. The assistance of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association is gratefully acknowledged.

Available as an Acrobat PDF file at Bright Futures in Practice: Health Supervision for Infants, Children, and Adolescents, Appendix J, p. 317.

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logo: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau