Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the variation in (i) the time (age) of eruption and (ii) the duration of the eruption of first (M1) and second (M2) permanent molar teeth. Finally, the study also provides data about the association between time of eruption of the first of the M1s and the first of the M2s.
Methods: The study was carried out in Nexö Public Dental Health Service, Denmark. All children who, in a period of 12 months, had the first of their M1s or M2s recorded as erupted and the occlusal surface still partly covered by gingiva formed the study groups (N = 69 and 112 children, respectively). The continued eruption of all four molar teeth was recorded at recall intervals not exceeding 4 months until functional occlusion was obtained.
Results: First permanent molars: eruption time – girls: from the age of 5 years and 3 months to 7 years and 8 months (mean 6.1 years); boys: from 5 years and 2 months to 7 years and 10 months (mean 6.3 years). The duration of eruption – girls: from 5 to 32 months (mean 15.4 months); boys: from 7 to 28 months (mean 15.0). Second permanent molars: eruption time – girls: from the age of 8 years and 11 months to 14 years and 4 months (mean 11.3 years); boys: from 9 years and 11 months to 13 years and 11 months (mean 12.0 years). The duration of eruption – girls: from 12 to 44 months (mean 27.1 months); boys: from 9 to 45 months (mean 27.9 months). No correlation was found between the time of eruption and the duration of eruption of M1 or M2. There was a strong positive association between the time of eruption of the M1s and the M2s (rs = 0.81).
Conclusions: A tremendous variation was found in time of eruption and in duration of eruption of permanent molars. This variation highlights the importance of individualizing caries preventive strategies for children.