Thank goodness most of us can’t remember teething. Long nights of swollen, painful gums, distrust of (or sudden love for) hard foods — teething can be hard on both you and your baby. You want to soothe your child, but every child’s degree of pain can vary, as can their sources of relief.
From when your baby’s first teeth come in to how to provide relief for teething babies, here’s everything you need to know about your baby’s teething process.
When/At What Age Do Babies Get Their First Teeth?
Most babies develop teeth between six and twelve months. Factors like when Mom and Dad got their first teeth, and whether or not your baby was born premature can affect your baby’s teething timeline (premature babies typically go through teething later).
Which Baby Teeth Come in First?
Your baby’s lower teeth will typically come in before their upper teeth, likely growing in pairs, in the middle of the bottom or top of their mouth. Your baby could grow also grow their first four teeth all on the top or bottom of their mouth; either is a somewhat common occurrence.
In general, the timeline for your baby’s teeth may appear as such:
- 6 months: lower central incisors
- 8 months: upper central incisors
- 10 months: lower and upper lateral incisors
- 14 months: first molars
- 18 months: canines
- 24 months: second molars
Symptoms of Teething in Babies
The first teeth eruptions are often the most uncomfortable for your little one. Your baby may show signs of teething before their first teeth even poke through. Symptoms could include any of the following:
Teething babies often like to chew on things to relieve the pressure of emerging teeth.
Before your baby’s new tooth erupts, their gums may appear red, swollen or even bruised-looking.
Though all babies are prone to drooling, excessive spittle could be a sign of a new tooth moving in.
The eruption of your baby’s first teeth can cause pain and discomfort. Eruption is typically more active at night, so your baby may be extra uncomfortable once the sun goes down.
If your baby tugs on their ear, it could be a symptom of teething, as pain in the jaw is very close to the ear canal. It could also indicate an ear infection, so head to the pediatrician if ear-tugging seems excessive.
Change in eating habits
Depending on your baby’s discomfort, they may lose a taste for solids, because spoons irritate their gums. On the other hand, your baby may enjoy solids more while teething, because the counterpressure relieves their gums. Babies who are still on the bottle or breastfeeding may ease up during feeding, since sucking could cause uncomfortable pressure in their ear canals or on their gums.
How to Help Your Baby Through Teething
You can use the following at-home tools and remedies to help ease the discomfort of your baby’s teething process:
Cold wet washcloth
Chewing on a wet washcloth that’s been chilled in the freezer could have a soothing and numbing effect. Keep one end of the washcloth dry so your baby can get a good grip.
Frozen teething toy
A teething toy that’s been chilled in the refrigerator or freezer may also bring relief to your baby’s teething through counterpressure. For some babies, a frozen toy may be too harsh on their sensitive gums, so respond to their signals and don’t force it.
If your baby’s tooth is still deep in the gum (and there’s no sign of bruising), counterpressure or friction where the tooth is about to erupt can provide soothing relief for your tot. Rub their gums with a clean finger, or wrap your finger in a moist, cool washcloth first.
Baby-friendly medications and topical oral anesthetics can mitigate teething pain. Consult with your pediatrician, and make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dosage.
Getting your child’s mind off of their pain can soothe the chronic discomfort of teething. Give your baby some extra cuddles and introduce a new toy to keep their mind off the pain.
What if My Baby’s Teeth Aren’t Growing In?
Most of the time, delayed tooth growth isn’t a sign of anything serious. However, if your baby hasn’t grown any teeth by 18 months, you should take them to see their dentist. A blood test will rule out certain medical conditions, or an X-ray will confirm whether there are teeth in place underneath your baby’s gums.
Regardless of when your baby’s teeth start to come in, your baby should have their first dental visit by his or her first birthday.
Brought to you by Blue Hills Dental. Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. You should always consult a licensed professional when making decisions concerning dental care. #2017-41931 (exp. 6/19).