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How Do I Know If My Baby Is Teething?

Teething is another new and exciting experience for you and your baby. Your baby will display his individuality during this sometimes difficult time. There is a wide range of normal dental development. Eruption of your child's first tooth may occur around 6 months, however it is not uncommon to see one as early as 4 months and as late as 15 months. Your baby's primary teeth are already developing by the time your baby is born, however you cannot see them. Be patient and they will come.

Usually the lower middle teeth (incisors) appear first, followed by the upper middle teeth. However, any tooth can erupt in any order. Teeth may appear one at a time or come in groups. There is no pattern, but many babies average one tooth a month between 6-12 months, or 6 teeth by a year.

Over the next two years, your baby will collect his full set of 20 teeth. They are only temporary teeth and will fall out between 6-10 years of age. Permanent teeth will replace the baby teeth until the full set of 32 teeth is complete.

Some babies have no problem with teething. In fact, you may not even know they are teething until one morning you discover a tooth. Other babies are extremely uncomfortable. Parents always ask if their baby's crying and irritability is from teething. The only way we can tell you for sure is after a tooth has come through and your baby is back to normal. Many times we will ask to see your baby in order to be sure that there is no other problem going on which may need to be treated.


Is My Child's Drooling Due To Teething?

Drooling is a normal developmental stage for your baby. Saliva is produced by the salivary glands in the mouth, and these begin to function at birth. Saliva production normally increases between 4-6 months. Many babies will have excessive drooling beginning around 4 months and no teeth will come through for months. Be patient.


What Other Things Can Teething Cause?

Almost anything. Babies are not usually sick with teething, but just uncomfortable. They may cry more than normal or wake up in the middle of the night more frequently, but will still be comforted back to sleep with a little TLC. They are often more irritable and restless. Many babies develop a bad diaper rash right before a tooth comes in and once in, the rash disappears. This rash is probably caused by swallowed saliva that changes the acidity of the stool and results in a diaper rash.

Your baby may have looser bowel movements with threads of mucus running through. When your baby is drooling more, he is also swallowing more saliva, which travels through his intestinal system and out into his bowels. This is also normal and not a problem for your baby.

Around 4 months of age, your baby has reached a developmental stage where she is able to pick up objects and place them in her mouth. This is her way of exploring her environment. You will find that rubbing your baby's gum, or letting her bite on soft objects, will bring some relief to her discomfort. Teething rings (cold, not frozen) are also very soothing for sore gums. A pacifier may be the answer for your baby. Baby Oragel, Orabase, and Anbesol are local anesthetics that may help teething pains. These are available over the counter.

When you rub your finger across your baby's gum, you may feel a raised area. This is a tooth getting ready to erupt. Once eruption has occurred, your baby will return to her normal pleasant disposition. Be patient and please remember that your baby is uncomfortable during this time.

The fact that your child is suddenly chewing everything in sight, may be a sign of teething or just her normal development.


What About Fever And Teething?

Some babies do get a low grade temperature (100 -101F) around the time a tooth is about to erupt. However, we never attribute fever, especially over 102F, to teething. It may be necessary for us to see your baby to make that decision. Never blame a fever on teething, especially if your baby appears sick. Call our office for suggestions.


Chronology Of Dental Development

It is helpful to know the times of initiation and completion of enamel formation of the primary and permanent dentition. These times are listed below.

  Hard Tissue Formation Begins Enamel Completed Emergence Root Completed
Primary Maxillary Dentition
Central incisor 4 mo in utero 1 1/2 mo 7 1/2 mo 1 1/2 yr
Lateral incisor 4 1/2 mo in utero 2 1/2 mo 9 mo 2 yr
Canine 4 mo in utero 9 mo 18 mo 3 1/2 yr
First molar 5 mo in utero 6 mo 14 mo 2 1/2 yr
Second molar 6 mo in utero 11 mo 24 mo 3 yr
Permanent Maxillary Dentition
Central incisor 3 to 4 mo 4 to 5 yr 7 to 8 yr 10 yr
Lateral incisor 10 to 12 mo 4 to 5 yr 8 to 9 yr 11 yr
Canine 4 to 5 mo 6 to 7 yr 11 to 12 yr 13 to 15 yr
First premolar 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 yr 5 to 6 yr 10 to 11 yr 12 to 13 yr
Second premolar 2 to 2 1/4 yr 6 to 7 yr 10 to 12 yr 12 to 14 yr
First molar At birth 2 1/2 to 3 yr 6 to 7 yr 9 to 10 yr
Second molar 2 1/2 to 3 yr 7 to 8 yr 12 to 13 yr 14 to 16 yr


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