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Ages & Stages

When Does Teething Start?

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Babies typically start teething by about 4- to 7-months-old. The two front teeth (central incisors), either upper or lower, usually appear first, followed by the opposite front teeth. The first molars come in next, followed by the canines or eyeteeth.

Keep in mind that the timing of teething varies a lot. If your child doesn't show any teeth until later than this age period, don't worry. The timing may be influenced by heredity, and it doesn't mean that anything is wrong.

Possible signs of teething

Teething occasionally may cause mild irritability, a slight rise in temperature (but not over 101 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.3 degrees Celsius), excessive drooling, and a desire to chew on something hard. More often, the gums around the new teeth will swell and be tender.

How to ease teething discomfort

If your baby seems bothered by teething, try gently rubbing or massaging the gums with one of your fingers. Teething rings can be helpful, too, but they should be made of firm rubber. (The teethers that you freeze tend to get too hard and can cause more harm than good.)

Never use teething gels to numb the gums; in rare cases they can poison babies' blood cells and keep them from carrying oxygen. Homeopathic teething tablets also provide no benefit, and in some cases they have been made with potentially harmful toxins. Likewise, amber teething necklaces do not do anything at all to relieve pain, and have caused cases of choking and strangulation (remember never to leave anything around your baby's neck).

When to call your baby's pediatrician

If your child seems particularly miserable or has a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius), it's probably not from teething. You should consult your pediatrician.

When should I take my baby to see a dentist?

Your baby should see a dentist within 6 months after their first tooth erupts, but no later than 12 months of age, whichever comes first. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to see infants, and you can find a pediatric dentist for your baby at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's website. But going to your family dentist for routine pediatric care is entirely adequate and may be covered by existing health insurance.

How should I clean my baby's new teeth?

Brushing your baby's teeth at home is very important as well. When you first start seeing teeth, simply brush them with a soft child's toothbrush and a smear of fluoridated toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. To prevent cavities, never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle, either at nap time or at night. Doing this will keep milk from pooling around the teeth and creating a breeding ground for decay.

More information

Last Updated
Adapted from Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age Five 7th edition (Copyright © 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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