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When babies first get their teeth, it is a very important step in their growth process. In a person’s life, they will have two sets of teeth. These teeth allow people to eat and speak clearly, plus they can provide an attractive smile. As important as teeth are, however, the teething process can be difficult for babies and parents alike. Parents can best handle teething and its symptoms when they know what to expect.
Generally, when an infant is born, their teeth are partially developed but are below the gum line and not visible. This first set of teeth is known as the primary teeth. When an infant’s primary teeth emerge, it is commonly referred to as teething. During the teething process, the teeth below the gums move upward and eventually break through the gums.
- Health Information – Teething: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia provides this page to tell parents what to expect when their baby is teething. The page includes an explanation of what teething is.
- Online Library – Teething: This is an article that discusses the basics about teething. Parents reading this article will not only learn what it is and how to soothe any discomfort but also when it most often begins.
Most often, the first teeth begin to appear from as early as five months of age to eight months; however, this varies from child to child. Parents should realistically expect teething to start anywhere from three months old to a year and for all primary teeth to be in place by the time the child reaches three years old. Typically, the first teeth to appear are the middle two teeth on the bottom.
- Teething Topic Overview: Read all about teething by clicking on this link to the WebMD website. The article on this page discusses when teething starts as well as how parents can make their babies more comfortable.
- Teething (Cutting Teeth): Click this link for an overview of information regarding teething. Included with other information, the page discusses when teething starts and how long it can last.
Teething is generally a painful process for babies. As the new teeth emerge, there can be up to five days of gum irritation. This irritation is often due to swelling and soreness of the gum tissue as the teeth push their way upward and out. This affects babies by causing them to be crankier and fussier and to lose sleep. Babies may have excess drool as well as drool-related rashes on their face and chest. Mouth pain may cause babies to resist food and drink. In other instances, babies may attempt to alleviate the pain or sense of pressure by putting items such as toys into their mouths. It does not, however, cause babies to experience fever, diarrhea, or a runny nose. If the baby experiences any of these conditions, their parents should inform the pediatrician, as those symptoms may be signs of other conditions.
- Teething Information: This Medline Plus information page explains what teething is, when and how teeth grow in, and what parents can do to help. The page also discusses what parents should not do.
- Teething: What Can I Expect: Read this PDF fact sheet for information on what to expect when a baby is teething and how to help resolve any issues of discomfort. The fact sheet also reviews what symptoms of illness are frequently mistaken as signs of teething.
Cold is often a great relief to the soreness in babies’ mouths. The cold helps to soothe and slightly numb the painful area. Parents can give babies cold teething rings to chew on: These rings are safe for babies and are meant specifically for chewing. Cold food and/or liquid and frozen pacifiers may also be helpful for some babies. Rubbing sore gums with a clean finger may also help to soothe the pain of teething. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for babies may also help provide relief. When buying over-the-counter pain relief, parents must avoid aspirin or anything containing aspirin, as it is unsafe for infants and children and can cause a disease called Reye syndrome. Other options include teething gels or tablets.
- Teething: Tips for Soothing Sore Gums: The Mayo Clinic offers tips on how parents can soothe the sore gums of their teething infants. The article also discusses typical signs and symptoms of teething.
- Teething Symptoms and Remedies: Parents who are interested in remedies for the discomfort of teething are given a list of ideas after clicking this link. The page also includes symptoms and a general guideline of how baby teeth grow.
- Tips for Helping a Teething Baby: Click on this link and read over a list of tips on how to help sooth a baby’s irritated gums. The page also includes a section on avoiding adult pain-killing gels and a video.