- Slideshow: Top Problems in Your Mouth
- Teeth Whiteners That Work
- Dental (Oral) Health Quiz
- Patient Comments: Teething - Baby's First Tooth
- Teething facts
- What is teething?
- When do babies start teething?
- What are the signs and symptoms of teething?
- What is the order of tooth eruption in infants?
- How long does teething last?
- When should I call the pediatrician?
- What medications are used to treat teething pain?
- What home remedies provide relief for teething pain?
- How do I care for my baby's new teeth?
- When should my child see the dentist?
- Teething is the process by which a baby's teeth erupt, or break through, the gums. Teething generally occurs between 6 to 24 months of age.
- Symptoms of teething include irritability, tender and swollen gums, and the infant wanting to place objects or fingers into the mouth in an attempt to reduce discomfort. Fever, cough, diarrhea, and cold symptoms are not found when a child is teething.
- Oral over-the-counter pain relievers (acetaminophen [Tylenol] or ibuprofen [Children's Advil/Motrin]) generally provide relief of symptoms.
- Topical medications containing benzocaine may cause serious and potentially lethal side effects and should not be used to treat teething symptoms.
What is teething?
Teething is the process by which an infant's teeth erupt, or break through, the gums. Teething is also referred to as "cutting" of the teeth. Teething is medically termed odontiasis.
When do babies start teething?
The onset of teething symptoms typically precedes the eruption of a tooth by several days. While a baby's first tooth can appear between 4 and 10 months of age, the first tooth usually erupts at approximately 6 months of age. Some dentists have noted a family pattern of "early," "average," or "late" teethers.
A relatively rare condition, "natal" teeth, describes the presence of a tooth on the day of birth. The incidence of such an event is one per 2,000-3,000 live births. Usually, this single and often somewhat malformed tooth is a unique event in an otherwise normal child. Rarely, the presence of a natal tooth is just one of several unusual physical findings which make up a syndrome. If the possibility of a syndrome exists, consultation with a pediatric dentist and/or geneticist can be helpful. The natal tooth is often loose and is commonly removed prior to the newborn's hospital discharge to lessen the risk of aspiration into the lungs.