Teething begins before a child's first tooth breaks through the gums. It is a natural process but causes sore gums. Teething can make your child uncomfortable and cranky. Teething lasts from six months to three years.
The first teeth start to come in when your baby is 6 to 12 months old. The first teeth are most often the two bottom front teeth. Other teeth will quickly follow. The pressure on the gums can make them swollen and tender.
There are no factors that increase the chance of teething since this is a natural process.
Many babies do not experience any problems or pain. When symptoms do occur, they generally last for several days before and a few days after the tooth comes through the gums.
If the baby is feverish and acts sick or very upset, seek medical care. Something else may be causing the symptoms.
A doctor will diagnose teething by the baby's age, symptoms, and appearance of the gums. A teething baby's gums appear swollen and are tender. Sometimes small, white spots appear on the gums just before a tooth comes through. There may be some bruising or bleeding.
Most children will only need basic comfort measures. Your doctor may recommend pain-numbing gels and medications, but they are rarely needed.
Bring your child to a dentist when the first tooth comes in. Make sure to visit the dentist by one year of age. The dentist will perform an exam. You will be shown how to care for your child's teeth.
Teething babies usually like to chew on a wet washcloth or teething ring. Guidelines for teething rings include:
Other general tips include:
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
American Dental Association
Canadian Dental Association
The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
Teething: 4 to 7 months. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: http://www.healthy... . Updated May 2, 2013. Accessed May 2, 2013.
Teeth and Teething. American Family Physician website. Available at: http://familydocto... . Accessed May 13, 2013.
Teething tots. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/teeth/teething.html . Updated November 2011. Accessed May 13, 2013.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Michael Woods