What is teething?
Teething is the process of teeth growing and breaking through the gums. This is a normal developmental stage for your baby.
A baby's first tooth often appears between ages 5 months and 7 months. Some babies get their first tooth a little earlier and others a little later. Often, the 2 middle bottom teeth come through the gums first, followed by the middle 4 upper teeth. By the time children are 30 months (2.5 years) old, all 20 baby teeth are usually present.
What are the signs and symptoms of teething?
The following are the most common signs and symptoms of teething:
Drooling more than usual (drooling may start as early as age 3 months or 4 months, but is not always a sign of teething)
Constantly putting fingers or fists in the mouth (babies like to chew on things whether or not they are teething)
Swollen or puffy area on gum
Fussiness or crankiness
Teething does not cause colds, rashes, diarrhea, or fever. But it can make a baby uncomfortable. If your baby becomes sick around the same time teeth are coming in, or seems to be cranky or fussy for longer than normal, it is important to evaluate the symptoms of that illness separately. Call your child's healthcare provider for advice if your baby is sick.
How can you help your child with the discomforts of teething?
If your baby is cranky with teething, try giving him or her hard rubber toys, teething rings, or cold teething toys to chew on. Don’t freeze teething toys or rings as these can hurt your baby's gums. You can also rub your baby's gum with your clean finger. Teething gels may not be helpful as they are quickly washed off with excessive drooling. This may shorten the effect of the gels. Something cold on the gums usually soothes and numbs the gums better. Ask your baby's healthcare provider about pain-relieving medicine for teething.
Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPHEakle, W. Stephen, DDS
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2018
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