Twelve-year molars” refer to the second molars that are located in the mouth. They are considered permanent, “adult” teeth and get their name because of when they generally erupt in the mouth. According to the ADA, the second molars typically erupt between 11 to 13 years. In some cases, a child may even experience their lower second molars to erupt before their upper second molars. Do not be alarmed if the second molars do not erupt at the exact same time, as this is typical.

Prior to the second molars surfacing the gums, a pediatric dentist is able to examine how the teeth are growing in with a radiograph or panoramic x-ray. Specifically, what the pediatric dentist will look for is if the second molars are growing in at proper angles— Ideally, straight up. However, this may not always the case. Sometimes, the second molars are not able to properly erupt into the arch of the mouth and become stuck under the back half of the first molars. When this occurs, the teeth are considered impacted. Although possible, impacted second molars are not as likely as the third molars, “wisdom teeth” to be impacted.

If you are worried if your child may have impacted 12-year molars, it is best to meet with a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. An early detection of impacted second molars is imperative to avoid any serious orthodontic or surgical treatment. Be sure to know that if the pediatric dentist advises treatment, the suggested age range to treat serious impaction cases is generally between 11 and 14 years of age.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Eruption

How many sets of teeth do we have during our lives?
We have two sets of teeth during our lives: our primary or “baby” teeth and our permanent or “adult” teeth.

When do the first molars erupt?
The first molars generally erupt at age 6 or 7 and are called “6 year molars” for that reason.

How many teeth do children have when they reach adolescence?
By age 13, most children have 28 of their permanent teeth including four central incisors,four lateral incisors, eight premolars, and four caninesand eight molars.

What are incisors?
Incisors look like tiny chisels with flat ends and a bit of sharpness. They are responsible for cutting and chopping food. Without them, your child would have a difficult time eating common foods like apples.

What are canines?
You have four canines, which are pointy and sharp teeth that also assist with cutting and chopping food.

How many permanent teeth do children end up with?
Children can expect to have 32 permanent teeth, 16 in each jaw.

When do the last permanent teeth occur?
Also known as “wisdom teeth” or “third molars,” the last set of permanent teeth erupt between the ages of 17 and 21 years old. Since these teeth are located in the very back of the mouth, they aren’t necessary for chewing or eating and difficult to keep clean. Your child’s dentist may recommend the removal of their wisdom teeth at some point.

How can children protect their permanent teeth?
Once their permanent teeth make their appearance, most children can take care of their teeth on their own. To protect their permanent teeth, children should brush them thoroughly at least twice a day, floss daily, and visit our office every six months for a routine exam and cleaning.

Contact Us

If you have not yet established care with a pediatric dentist or have any concerns with your child’s teeth, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry today! At our office, we offer an array of treatment options to our wonderful patients. Most importantly, we have a fun and friendly environment for children of all ages. Dr. Konz and his team have significant experience with both children and dentistry enabling your child to feel at ease in our office. For your convenience, we are located in Ashburn, Virginia.