Permanent Teeth vs. Milk Teeth: The Essential Guide

Permanent Teeth vs. Milk Teeth: The Essential Guide

Our dental journey starts early in life, often signified by the appearance of a tiny white tooth peeking through the gums. This marks the arrival of the first milk tooth. After a few years, these milk teeth give way to permanent ones. It is essential to know what differentiates these two sets of teeth.

Differences between Permanent Teeth and Milk Teeth

Milk Teeth

Also known as deciduous, primary, or baby teeth, milk teeth are the first set of teeth that emerge, usually starting around 6 months of age. There are only 20 milk teeth: 10 in the upper jaw and 10 in the lower. Their primary function is to maintain space in the jaws for the upcoming permanent teeth and to assist in the early years of biting, chewing, and speech. These teeth stay until about the age of 6, after which they start to gradually fall out.

Milk teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth, ensuring that there is enough space for them when they emerge. This transitional phase is critical as it helps in the proper alignment and spacing of the permanent teeth. Milk teeth should be well-taken care of since dental decay can cause pain and infections, which might affect the incoming permanent teeth.

You can also read : Dental Implants for Missing Teeth

Permanent Teeth

The transition from milk teeth begins around age 6 and continues into young adulthood until the third molars or wisdom teeth emerge. There are 32 permanent teeth, with 16 each in the upper and lower jaws. This includes incisors, canines, premolars, molars, and wisdom teeth. 

They provide a stable structure for facial muscles, influencing our facial shape and appearance. They are generally larger and less white than milk teeth. They also come with more pronounced roots and are designed to last a lifetime.


Both milk teeth and permanent teeth play pivotal roles at different stages of our lives. Understanding their differences and ensuring appropriate care can pave the way for a lifetime of good oral health. Remember, whether temporary or permanent, each tooth plays a part in shaping our smiles, our bites, and, ultimately, our health. Seek best-in-class dental care at Bombay Dental Specialities, get in touch today.

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