If you are a new parent, you are soon to discover one of the first hurdles you’ll have to overcome in rearing your child – teething. Babies start off without any erupted teeth, however after around 6 months they should start to show their first primary (baby) tooth. This process can be stressful for both child and parents, but don’t let that discourage you!
At Pickett Family Dental, we often get questions from new parents about teething. This guide will help you understand the basics of teething and what to expect from your newborn baby. Be sure to check out the FAQ at the bottom!
What is Teething?
Teething is the natural phenomena by which a baby’s first teeth emerges through the gums. The first pair of teeth that come in are the mandibular central incisors, generally appearing between 6 and 10 months of age. This process continues until all 20 of the baby’s primary teeth have erupted from the gums – usually by up to 3 years old.
Despite often being referred to as “cutting teeth,” the emerging teeth do not cut through the flesh of the gums. The process is actually accomplished by hormonal changes in the body of the infant that allow for the separation of the gum cells when teething occurs. You can expect a small elevation in body temperature of your infant during these hormonal periods to about 100-101 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ways to Comfort Your Teething Child
More often than not, you’ll know your infant has started teething when they start to show an increase in crying and irritability. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to make it easier for your little one. Fortunately, there are a few things you can try to help alleviate the pain:
Rub Your Infant’s Gums – Use a gauze pad or a clean finger to gently rub your infant’s gums. Doing so not only soothes sore or irritated gums, but it can help clean the gums which decreases the chance of tooth decay or gum disease.
Introduce Cold – Use a damp washcloth, or a chilled teething ring/spoon to soothe irritated gums. Don’t make the temperature too cold or it may make the baby more uncomfortable.
Introduce Harder Foods – If your child is at the point where they can eat solid foods, try giving them a peeled cucumber or carrot to gnaw on. A lot of times this will ease the pain of teething. Keep a close watch when doing this as pieces of the hard food might break off and become a choking hazard.
FAQ About Teething
When Does Teething Start?
Between 4 and 7 months is usually when teething first starts in infants. This start time can vary slightly depending on genetics – some families have a history of early teething periods, while others have later teething periods. The earliest you should expect is 2 months, while the latest you should expect is nearly a year old. Anything outside of this range could indicate a health problem.
How Long Does Teething Last?
Generally the process of teething is finished within 2 years but can last up to 3 years according to the aforementioned genetics. You can get a good idea of how long the process will last by looking at when the first tooth emerged.
When Should I Start Brushing My Infant’s Teeth?
Brushing should begin when the first baby tooth emerges. Before this period, you can use a gauze pad to gently clean the child’s teethless gums. When teeth do appear, use a soft-bristled baby toothbrush and a grain-of-rice-sized amount of toothpaste (without fluoride). Do this after each time your infant breastfeeds. Around 2 years old is when you can start looking to switch to a toothpaste with fluoride.
Is Teething Always Painful?
The entire 2-3 year process is usually symptomless. It is only when the tooth is actually erupting through the gums that causes the infant pain. Your child will get used to this feeling as they get older and will show fewer negative symptoms.
When Should I First Take My Teething Infant to the Dentist?
It is recommended you see a pediatric dentist as soon as your infant has its first tooth. You can get all the information about the process of teething as your child experiences it with detailed tracking to make sure everything is on track. Your dentist will make sure all of your questions about oral hygiene and care for your infant are answered to give you the best chance for healthy gums and teeth.
Get Comprehensive Pediatric Dentistry Care at Pickett Family Dental!
If your infant or child is in need of a pediatric dentist in Keller Texas, Dr. Tyson Pickett, DDS FAGD at Pickett Family Dental is a great choice. Our team is committed to creating a safe and comfortable environment for your family where learning is always encouraged. Feel free to call us at (817) 431-5514 or use our convenient online form to schedule an appointment.