Teething can be just as rough on mom and dad as it can be on baby. Some little ones experience all of the symptoms, while some exhibit a mild version with minimal discomfort.
Symptoms can vary so much that it is hard to tell what is going on, especially if your baby is popping out their very first tooth.
Usually, teething hits as soon as you have your nightly routine in place and your little one seems to be sleeping so well! Talk about waiting for the other shoe to drop!
So when does that first pearl begin to show, leaving the gummy grin in the dust?
Baby Teeth Timeline
Baby teeth are just like every other milestone in your child’s life. They come in at their own pace. However, there are guidelines for when you should expect your baby’s teeth to come in general. According to the American Dental Association, your baby’s teeth will usually begin to come in around six months. After that, babies will get 20 teeth total. After that, these baby teeth will be lost, making way for your child’s adult teeth of about 32.
So when exactly should you expect a tooth?
- Central Incisors: 6-10 months
- Lateral Incisors: 10-16 months
- Canine: 17- 23 months
- First molar: 14-18 months
- Second molar: 23-31 months
- Central incisor: 8-12 months
- Lateral Incisor: 9-13 months
- Canine: 16-22 months
- First molar: 13-19 months
- Second molar: 25-33 months
Once all these teeth come in, your child will start to lose them around six years old. They will continue to lose their baby teeth until 12 or 13 years old. At this point, all their baby teeth will be replaced with grown-up teeth. Lastly, your child will get their wisdom teeth.
Remember, each child’s teeth come in at their own pace. Do not worry if you have not seen any signs of teething around six-seven months. You will eventually see teeth start to pop up. It is not uncommon for little ones to start exhibiting signs a month or two before their teeth come in, so keep an eye out for subtle signs if your little is between six months and ten months.
Common Signs of Teething
There are many different signs babies can exhibit when they are teething. Some are tried and true, while others, doctors are more hesitant to attribute to teething.
When your baby starts teething, their gums begin to feel tight. As a result, they begin sticking their fingers in their mouths more often, rubbing their gums, or even chewing on them. Babies will also find objects to rub their gums on or vice versa.
Whether it be their breakfast spoon, favorite toy, or even your living room side table, friction up against their gums helps relieve some of the pressure building underneath their baby gums. In addition, rubbing their gums helps them to feel a little bit better.
Nursing More Frequently
Just like when your baby is not feeling well, nursing can help soothe them when they are teething, especially when it is their first tooth and they do not quite know what is going on. Nursing sessions can become longer, or they can move up in frequency. Keep an eye out for both of those changes as a subtle sign that your baby is teething.
Depending on which tooth is coming in, it may also be painful for your little one to nurse. Sometimes multiple teeth can break through all at once, which can magnify the pain your child is already feeling. If you are noticing a reduction in nursing, do not be alarmed. You may have to offer a bottle instead of nursing to see if that is easier for your little one.
One of the tell-tale signs of teething is the massive amounts of drool that show up on your child’s face and, subsequently, their shirts. Bibs will help manage a lot of the drool and keep their chests from getting too soaked. The immense amount of drool seems to be unending, but once their teeth start to pop up, the drooling will start to slow down and eventually go away.
Biting or chewing is similar in purpose to your baby rubbing their gums. Biting is their way of dealing with the pain and discomfort that comes with their new teeth working to erupt through their gums. Teething rings or teethers can help relieve some of the pressure and pain they feel and satisfy their need to bite or chew.
If your usually bright ray of sunshine baby turns into a grouchy little black rain cloud seemingly overnight, they may be teething. The discomfort from teeth trying to break through to the surface. When we are uncomfortable, we parents tend to get irritable. It is the same concept with your baby. They are uncomfortable, don’t exactly know what is going on, and do not really know how to fix it. Another thing that will make your little one grumpy is a lack of sleep.
If your baby has a pretty solid sleep routine and all of a sudden it’s like they threw the plan out, your baby may be experiencing some symptoms of teething. The discomfort from their teeth can disrupt their sleep pattern.
Teeth can also cause pressure in their mouths and subsequently their faces, especially when they lay down, making it hard for your little one to go to sleep like they normally would.
Aversions to Solid Foods
Solid foods may be too much for your teething babies’ swollen gums. If your little one shys away from their favorite puffs or cereal, it may because the solid food is too rough on their inflamed gums. Sticking to softer foods and milk may be the way to go for a couple of days before you reintroduce solid foods. Teething crackers can help get some extra calories in, and they help relieve the pressure on your little one’s gums.
Remedies for Teething
There are many remedies for helping your child with teething. Your child should not be in too much discomfort, but some of the symptoms can surely be bothersome. Keeping your child’s face dry will help prevent drool rashes and facial discomfort.
To help your baby’s gums, you can:
These easy to use at home methods should help stem the discomfort your child is feeling and help them turn the corner. Remember, do not use liquid-filled teethers. They can break, and the liquid can be toxic to your child.
Also, your baby should not have a fever. Teething may raise your child’s temperature a degree or two. Still, they should never have an actual temperature of over 100.4 degrees. If your baby has a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, this can be a sign of infection, and you should take them to see the doctor immediately.
If their symptoms are causing them too much discomfort, you may use acetaminophen or ibuprofen per their age and appropriate measurements. If you have any questions or concerns about dosage, you should call your child’s doctor.
Remember, do not use teething tablets, gels with benzocaine, or homeopathic teething gels. The FDA issued a warning against the use of both due to concerns of side effects from Belladonna and benzocaine. Amber teething necklaces are also popular but advised against. They have been known to cause strangulation and a potential choking hazard.
When to Start Brushing
Brushing begins long before your baby has teeth. Start a routine with your baby of brushing their gums every night in preparation for their teeth to start coming in. A baby’s gums can collect germs and bacteria, especially as they begin to move into solid foods. So you want to keep their mouth clean as their new tooth starts to erupt in order to avoid any infections.
Once their new baby teeth come in, their teeth should be brushed at least twice a day with toothpaste. It is okay for toothpaste to have fluoride in it, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, there should only be a light smear of toothpaste on your baby’s toothbrush. When they are about three years old, they should get a pea-sized toothpaste on their toothbrush. Three is also when you will be able to teach your child how to spit out any excess toothpaste.
Place the toothpaste on the brush yourself until they are at least 6 years old. You should also assist your child with brushing their teeth until they are at least 6 or 7 years old.
Dentist’s visits should start about this time too. The first couple of well-child visits will get your child used to the dentist, the office, and the tools. These visits also give you the opportunity to ask your dentist any questions. The dentist will take a look at your baby’s teeth to make sure they are coming in okay. You can also ask your child’s dentist about using fluoride varnish on your baby’s teeth. The AAP and the United States Preventive Services Task Force both recommend that children get the varnish as soon as their teeth start to come in. The varnish is thought to prevent tooth decay, better than not using it.
While many parents may think that taking a baby under a year old to the dentist may be overkill, it is highly recommended by the AAP and the AAPD. It is essential to develop a dental routine for your child. Many communities have pediatric dentists who specialize in seeing children. If you do not have one in your community, you can take your child to your dentist.
Frequently Asked Questions about Baby Teething
Final Thoughts on the Ultimate Guide to Baby Teething
Once they get one or two teeth under their belts, you will begin to learn what works for your little one and what doesn’t. Each time they get a new tooth, it will be a little bit easier to help them through the experience. Eventually, you will be able to celebrate each pearly white popping up as the wonderful step forward that it is. Even if you and your little one have a rough go of it, remember that teething is a normal part of growth. The more chompers pop out, the more foods your little one can try.
Looking for more tips for your little one? Head over to our Ages and Phases Section to see more topics.
Krissy lives in California with her family of three that make up “The Hadicks.” With a passion for research and helping others, The Hadicks was developed as a resource for other parents and parents-to-be!