What Causes Delays in Tooth Eruption?

By October 31, 2017Oral Health
bursting baby teeth

Most parents are well aware that babies go through a series of milestones early in life, such as crawling, walking, talking, and teething. You probably also know that the ages at which these milestones occur are rough approximations, and that every child develops at his or her own rate.

That said, you may become understandably concerned if your baby fails to see significant change in some area by a certain age. If, for example, you’re well past the six-month mark and your baby has yet to begin teething, it’s only natural to become alarmed.

In truth, it could take as long as about 15 months for your baby’s teeth to begin erupting, but if you see nary a ridge peeking through the gums by the age of 18 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends seeing a dentist. Likely, you will already have called a child’s dentist at this point. What are the possible causes of delays in tooth eruption?


Late tooth eruption is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it just runs in the family. If one or both parents have a family history of teeth coming in later than normal, it should come as no surprise when the baby’s teeth are also slow to appear. Still, it’s always best to speak with your child’s dentist.

At a certain point, you may want to run tests to find out if this is the only cause of delay, or if something else is contributing to the problem. You should also know that children who experience delays in tooth eruption due to genetic factors are more likely to need orthodontia later on, although it is not a foregone conclusion.


It’s fairly normal for babies born prematurely or with low birth weight to suffer from developmental delays, including late eruption of teeth. They can also experience further dental issues as they grow into children and adults, often associated with weak enamel.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Babies that don’t get enough of certain vitamins and minerals could have a host of problems, with delayed dental development among them. This particular delay is especially prevalent in babies that don’t get enough calcium and vitamin D.

Other Disorders

In some cases, delayed teething could be a side effect of other disorders, such as Down’s syndrome or hypothyroidism. If the first tooth doesn’t come in right at six months, you don’t necessarily need to worry, but if you get to the 18-month mark with no sign of teeth, it’s time to speak with your child’s doctor and dentist about possible causes and what can be done.