At around 4 to 10 months old, your baby’s first set of teeth will start growing through their gums. This process, called ‘teething’, can be uncomfortable, cause irritation, red cheeks, drooling, frequent crying, and problems sleeping. Each individual tooth may cause issues for a few days. Generally, the full process will be completed between the baby’s 2nd and 3rd birthday.
It is typical for the lower central incisors (the two front teeth on the bottom jaw) to erupt first. This is then followed by the upper central incisors and the upper lateral incisors a few months later. The baby’s lower lateral incisors then grow in at around 10-16 months old. The molars erupt last, usually appearing between 13-20 months for the top molars and 14-18 months for the bottom.
Signs of Teething
Apart from the symptoms listed above, you may also examine the inside of your baby’s mouth. Gently pull back your baby’s lips with (clean) hands and carefully examine their gums.
Bulging pink gums around the molars or small white buds are the typical signs that a new tooth is about to erupt. Bluish fluid buildup called ‘teething blisters’ or ‘eruption cysts’ may also be present. These are normal and usually go away without any treatment, although you should avoid touching it.
Soothing a Teething Baby
Hearing your baby in distress can be hard, but there are ways that you can help soothe your infant as they grow into their first smile.
- Wash your hands and gently massage the sore areas of the gums in a circular motion.
- Give your baby a teething toy, such as a chilled (not frozen) silicone-based ring to help relieve discomfort.
- Chill a damp washcloth in the fridge and allow your child to gnaw on it. Ensure that the washcloth is cleaned with unscented detergent.
- For >6 months: Allow frequent, small sips of cold water throughout the day. Other cold liquids such as fruit puree or plain yogurt may also soothe their gums.
- Oral analgesics (paracetamol or ibuprofen) at the recommended dose for the child’s age.
If you’re worried about something during the teething period, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Your dentist will also be able to guide you on the best oral health measures to take from an early age to lay the foundations for good oral health habits for life.