The bud stage is characterized by the appearance of a tooth bud without a clear arrangement of cells. The stage technically begins once epithelial cells proliferate into the ectomesenchyme of the jaw. Typically, this occurs when the fetus is around 8 weeks old. The tooth bud itself is the group of cells at the periphery of the dental lamina.
Along with the formation of the dental lamina, 10 round epithelial structures, each referred to as a bud, develop at the distal aspect of the dental lamina of each arch. These correspond to the 10 primary teeth of each dental arch, and they signify the bud stage of tooth development. Each bud is separated from the ectomesenchyme by a basement membrane. Ectomesenchymal cells congregate deep to the bud, forming a cluster of cells, which is the initiation of the condensation of the ectomesenchyme. The remaining ectomesenchymal cells are arranged in a more or less haphazardly uniform fashion.