The complete set of permanent teeth consists of 32 teeth – four incisors, two canines, four premolars and six molars in each jaw. Of these the first molars and the central incisors are cut at about 0-7 j-ears, the side incisors at about 8 years, the lower canines and first premolars at about 10 years, the upper canines and second premolars at about 11 years, and the second molars at about 12 years. That leaves only the third molars, the so-called wisdom teeth, to appear; these may come at any time between 10 and 20.
It will thus be seen that teething occupies the whole of these years, calling for very special care of the teeth and perpetual watchfulness on the part of parents to see that the occlusion, or fitting together of the upper and lower teeth, is good.
For correct occlusion, when the teeth are closed, every tooth (except the lower central incisors and the last upper molars) should bite against two teeth in the opposite jaw, and should knuckle up against the next one in the same jaw, the spaces being filled by gum tissue, so that there is nowhere for food to lodge. If this correct development is not happening in any particular, a dentist should be consulted. Here it may be remarked that a child should be taught to understand that the latter is really one of his best friends, and not an individual to be dreaded.
Many adjustments can be made to prevent overcrowding due to large teeth, irregular growth, etc. In any case, a regular visit to the dentist, say every three months, will amply repay the time and expense. It is vital to remember that by the time decay in a tooth becomes obvious to the eye, that decay has been going on for a very long time, and may be irreparable.