On the Primary Dentition of Children
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal
The subject of our lecture to-day is the Dentition of Infanta, one which it is important that you should be perfectly familiar Avith, otherwise you Avili be frequently embarrassed in the treatment of the diseases of a large class of those who are to come under your care. I have been struck Avith tho fact that many young1 practitioners haAro but an imperfect acquaintance with the order in Avhich the deciduous teeth make their appearance, and with the time of irruption of each successive group.
... successive group. Nor is this ignorance ahvays confined to beginners. Physicians of many years' experience are sometimes unable to ansAver questions on this subject which should be familiar to every three-years' Btudont. Not only does the condition of the primary dentition furnish an important element of prognosis in regard to the future development of the child, but any considerable departure from its normal process is apt to be attended by injurious consequences to his health. It has been Avell said by Vogel that although it cannot be maintained that all healthy children cut their teeth ip the usual order and time, yet this much is certain, that those children Avho folloAV this order suffer the least from the difficulties and sequelae of dentition. We will, therefore, consider noAV what is the normal order and time of the appearance of the temporary teeth. You are all aware that the teeth in the human subject consist of two sets ; the first of Avhich, called the temporary or deciduous, and sometimes the milk teeth, tAventy in number, which appear during infancy ; and the second, or permanent set, thirty-two in number, occupying the period between early childhood and adult life. I need hardly remind you that the germs of both sets lie hidden in the jaAvs of the foetus long previous to tho time of birth ; but Ave are now only concerned Avith the appearance above the gum, or, as it is familiarly termed, the cutting of the first set-in other Avords, Avith the primary dentition. Tho primary dentition begins normally betAveen the sixth and seventh month, proceeds in a definite order, and is completed at the age of tAvo years and a half, or a little later. Exceptions to this sometimes occur in healthy children, but they are rare, while in those of delicate constitution, or where development is retarded from various causes, there is often delay or irregularity in the evolution of tho milk teeth. Hence, an acquaintance with the order of succession of these serves as a means