Baby Teeth Coming In The Wrong Order: What It Means & What To Do

As your baby journeys through its first couple of years, it will inevitably start teething as its teeth begin to erupt. And although baby teeth have a typical schedule that dictates the order of their arrival, some babies have teeth that stray from that order.

While it doesn’t happen to every baby, it’s completely normal for a baby’s teeth to grow in the wrong order since there is an overlap in the time frames for different teeth. If your baby’s teeth come in the wrong order, however, it is possible for it to cause alignment issues that you’ll need to speak with a dentist about. 

Keep reading as we discuss the reasons that a baby’s teeth might grow in the wrong order and how to identify if this is happening. We’ll also discuss when it becomes a real concern and what you can do to address it. Read to the end to get answers to frequently asked questions. 

Baby teeth in the wrong order

Your baby’s teeth can absolutely start cutting through their gums in the “wrong” order, meaning certain teeth come in before the earliest ones arrive.

Before we get into the solutions for this problem, take a look at the typical order that different baby teeth arrive in, according to ADA information: 

  • Central incisor (bottom row) – 6-10 months
  • Central incisor (top row) – 8-12 months
  • Lateral incisor (top row) – 9-13 months
  • Lateral incisor (bottom row) – 10-16 months
  • First molar (top row) – 13-19 months
  • First molar (bottom row) – 14-18 months
  • Canine (top row) – 16-22 months
  • Canine (bottom row) – 17-23 months
  • Second molar (bottom row) – 23-31 months
  • Second molar (top row) – 25-33 months

While this is not a strict guideline for the healthy eruption of baby teeth, it’s something that parents and caregivers can use to know what sort of timeline to expect with teething. 

How to tell

One of the ways that a baby’s teeth can come in “the wrong order” is if they start teething early altogether.

It’s most common for your baby to start teething after they’ve reached the 6-month-old mark, but in some cases, they could start teething as early as 3-5 months old. The following are some signs that those teeth are starting to cut through the gums early:

  • Out-of-the-ordinary coughing
  • Irritability
  • Low-grade fever 
  • Drooling
  • Chewing and gnawing 

Furthermore, you can physically check to see if your baby’s teeth are coming in the wrong order by taking a look inside their mouth with clean hands.

An obvious indication, for example, would be the sight of a molar cutting through the gums near the back of the mouth before any of the front teeth have started to erupt. 

Why does this occur?

Even though many parents fear the worst when anything slightly abnormal starts to happen with their baby, this phenomenon is not a huge concern. Baby teething arriving in the wrong order usually just comes down to the fact that every baby is unique, and their biology won’t follow the exact same timing. 

However, it’s also possible that your baby could have teeth coming in late or out of order due to premature birth or genetic conditions like Apert Syndrome and Down Syndrome. 

What does it mean?

In most cases, baby teeth arriving delayed or in the wrong order doesn’t require much intervention from the caregivers. But if a doctor or pediatric dentist assesses the situation and points to a hereditary condition at the root, there could be other associated health issues to consider. 

What to do about baby teeth in wrong order 

If you notice that your baby starts teething earlier than usual, later than usual, or in the wrong order, the best course of action is to first consult your pediatrician. They can assess the situation and tell you whether anything needs to be done. It’s possible that if lots of teeth erupt in the wrong order, there could be crowding issues in the baby’s rows of teeth. 

This is a rare instance where you may need a dentist to intervene, as the crowded teeth could become decayed and lead to other issues like infection. 

Final thoughts

So, your baby’s teeth are coming in the wrong order. Perhaps the molars have begun to cut through before they’ve even gotten their incisors. These occurrences are fairly common, and while they generally don’t indicate any health issues, they can lead to crowded teeth or be a sign of another condition that is worth looking into. 

Make sure to consult with your doctor and pediatric dentist to verify that you don’t need to take further action regarding your baby’s teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can babies get lateral incisors before central incisors?

According to information provided by the American Dental Association, the central incisors (8-12 months) are scheduled to erupt before the lateral incisors (9-13 months) do. However, there is some overlap between these time frames, which is why some babies’ lateral incisors arrive before their central incisors do.

How many teeth should a 7-month-old have?

While every baby’s teething schedule is slightly different, it’s common for the central incisors on the bottom row of teeth to arrive first. This eruption usually starts between 6-10 months old, but it’s possible for the laterals to precede them. Further, some babies are even born with some teeth already. 

Can a baby get its 4 bottom teeth first?

Usually, a baby’s bottom teeth won’t erupt first, unless they are the central incisors. In this case, a baby could technically get 2 of their bottom teeth first. The other bottom teeth, such as the canines and lateral incisors, don’t usually erupt until at least 10 months (usually even later).

Do baby teeth always come in pairs?

While it’s typical for baby teeth to begin erupting in pairs, it doesn’t always play out this way. Some babies will have their teeth erupt out of order, and it may take longer for one incisor to arrive than its counterpart takes to arrive. 

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