Teething can be a difficult and uncomfortable process for both you and your baby. However, if you know what to expect ahead of time, and how to handle the issues that arise, it can go a lot more smoothly.
When do babies start teething?
Babies can start teething anywhere between the age of 3 months and 12 months, and in some cases even later. Typically, though, the teething process starts around the 6-month mark.
How long does the teething process last?
Teething typically lasts for about a year, but it can take longer than that. Most babies have all their primary teeth by the age of 2 and a half to 3.
How many baby teeth will there be in all?
Children develop 20 baby (primary) teeth.
In what order do teeth erupt?
There are 5 different types of baby teeth, and they usually erupt in more or less the following order:
- Central Incisor (8-12 months)
- Lateral Incisor (9-13 months)
- Canine (16-22 months)
- First Molar (13-19 months)
- Second Molar (25-33 months)
- Central Incisor (6-10 months)
- Lateral Incisor (10-16 months)
- Canine (17-23 months)
- First Molar (14-18 months)
- Second Molar (23-31 months)
What are the symptoms of teething?
Drooling - Teething babies drool a lot; fasten a bib on to keep your baby’s shirt front dry; you’re in for a soggy time!
Coughing and/or gag reflex - All the drooling can sometimes make your baby gag or cough.
Teething Rash - The excessive drool may also cause redness, chapping or chafing around the mouth and chin. Pat the drool away often with a clean dry cloth to help prevent the rash, or create a moisture barrier with a product like Vaseline.
Biting - The pressure of the teeth pushing through the gums can cause babies a lot of discomfort. This pressure can be relieved by counter pressure – in short, biting. Be sure to make lots of teething rings available, lest your fingers be on the receiving end of the of these surprisingly painful bites!
Irritability & Crying - Understandably, being continuously uncomfortable can make babies feel a bit grumpy. Some babies are only irritable for a few hours at a stretch here and there, while others can be crabby for days or even weeks at a time. This can come along with more frequent bouts of crying.
Sleep & Feeding Disruption - The discomfort of teething can disrupt daily eating and sleeping patterns. Your baby may resist feeding, and wake up more often during the night as well.
Cheek Rubbing and Ear Pulling - Since the gums, cheeks and ears all share nerve pathways, achy gums can cause discomfort in the ears and cheeks as well. Your baby may react to this discomfort by pulling on her ears rubbing her cheeks.
How can I make the teething process easier for my baby?
As mentioned above, make a lot of teething rings, rattles, and other chewable toys readily available, to provide counter pressure.
Cold things are especially soothing. Try a cold wet washcloth kept in the fridge, cold food and cold drinks.
In severe cases, pain medication may be recommended, but be sure to discuss it with your pediatrician first.
And of course, providing lots of extra comfort in the form of snuggles, extra kisses, and as much patience as you can muster will help you and your baby to get through the teething process with a minimum of distress.