A Dentist’s Guide to Teething: What You Need to Know About Baby Teeth

Cute happy baby girl smiling at camera during tummy timeGood oral health starts early! If you’re a new parent, check out our guide to baby teething below, or give us a call at 770-888-6262 to make your baby’s first dentist appointment with Dr. Jordan. 

Everything You Need to Know About Baby Teething

When do babies start teething and how long does it last?

Somewhere between 6 months and a year old, you may notice your baby’s gummy smile giving way to their first baby teeth—although you’ll probably notice their discomfort before the teeth actually come through. 

Babies are born with all of their primary teeth already present beneath the gums. These 20 primary teeth (also known as milk teeth, baby teeth, or deciduous teeth) typically come in over the course of the next year or so, starting with the lower central incisors. Check out this infographic from the American Dental Association to see the order in which you can expect your baby’s teeth to come through. 

If your baby is teething, you can expect each “round” to take about eight days—four days before emergence, and three more days after the tooth has erupted. Every baby is different though, so don’t get too hung up on the timeline, and remember to contact your pediatrician or family dentist with any questions.   

What are the signs of teething?

As with all things baby-related, there is no “normal.” Parents often heard horror stories about teething, but every child is different, so some kids will be fussy and upset, while others won’t seem to notice too much. The most common signs of teething include: 

  • Drooling
  • Increase in chewing/gnawing
  • Fussiness or irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Swollen gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gum rubbing
  • Rubbing or pulling on ear (Be sure to rule out an ear infection.)

Contrary to popular belief, teething does not cause fever; however, because your baby may be putting her hands in her mouth more often due to the teething discomfort, there’s an increased risk of introducing germs that can cause a fever and other symptoms. If in doubt, it never hurts to call your pediatrician. 

How to comfort a teething baby

Now that you know all of the down and dirty details of teething, what can you actually do about it? 

  • Offer a chilled teething ring or wash cloth to chew on. If you really want to make your baby’s day, chill several in the fridge so you can swap them out as they heat up to room temperature. The cold will help soothe your baby’s aching gums. Just don’t put teething rings in the freezer, as a fully frozen teething ring gets too hard and cold for baby’s delicate gums. 
  • Massage their gums with a clean finger. 
  • If all else fails, ask your pediatrician about using a baby pain reliever. 

Steer clear of topical “teething gels” which may not be safe for babies according to the FDA, as well as “teething necklaces” (typically made from amber, wood, or silicone) which are a choking hazard

Baby’s first dentist appointment

Once your baby’s first tooth has emerged, you should schedule their first dentist appointment. Many people don’t realize how important dentistry is right from the start, because they assume baby teeth don’t matter, as they’ll fall out eventually anyway. Don’t make this mistake! Early dental care is so important for babies, because the baby teeth affect so much of your child’s development, from speech to dental crowding to the eventual health of their adult teeth!

 

Give your little one a great start to a lifetime of oral health by scheduling a well baby visit with us today at Jordan Dentistry in Cumming. 

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