Although every child is unique and teething can start early or late, babies will typically begin teething around the age of 6 months. The first baby teeth to arrive will usually be the middle top or bottom teeth (lower central incisors or upper central incisors). The process of these teeth pushing up through the gums can be a challenge for parents and a painful period for babies. Since the process is unpleasant, babies will become cranky and a bit more fussy than normal.
Obvious symptoms and signs of teething can include irritability, excessive drooling, the desire to place objects or hands into their mouth, and sensitive, puffy gums. Parents also inform that teething can cause diarrhea and also fever, even though research shows this to be unproven.
In this blog, we’ll go over the 5 stages of teething to help better prepare you and your little one for this less than pleasant period.
Stage 1: 0-6 months old
When born, babies already have a full set of 20 primary teeth that are hidden within the jawbones, beneath the gums. Although you can’t see them yet, these ‘baby’ teeth play a critical role in nursing babies. They are commonly referred to as “milk teeth,” since at this point, a baby’s diet consists of breastmilk or formula only.
The purpose of these milk teeth is to reserve a spot for our adult teeth that will grow in place of the baby teeth later on.
Stage 2: 6-8 months old
During this stage, the first baby teeth will usually push through. The lower and upper incisors ( in the front, middle of the mouth) begin to show around 6 months of age. The period of initial pain will usually occur a few months before these teeth are fully visible. Prior to pushing through the gums, the baby teeth may rub against the gums as they begin to breakthrough. This is when the initial phase of teething will begin.
Typically your baby will start placing things into their mouths like hands and feet, objects, and toys. This pressure against the gums helps the baby to relieve the pain and distracts the mind. This is when parents need to be cautious about what the baby places in his or her mouth. Prepare proper teething items like cool washcloths or soft, hard teething toys to ease their aching.
During this time, the baby will begin to drool more often so be sure to keep a bib on to keep his/her chin dry. If excessive drool gathers around the baby’s chin area, rashes can appear and cause additional irritation.
Stage 3: 10-14 months old
During this age, the primary molars begin to come through the gums. Molars are located in the back of the mouth along the lower and upper jaw. This stage is similar to stage 2, but parents will notice an obvious increase in symptoms like more drooling, crankiness, and a greater desire to chew on objects around them.
It is also common for babies to experience a small loss of appetite, a low-grade fever, and some diarrhea. Stage 3 also introduces the sloppy sleep schedule for the baby and parents. Unfortunately, due to the increased and unexpected amount of pain, both parents and the baby will lose more sleep.
If the pain ever becomes too excessive or is causing multiple symptoms without calming, please don’t hesitate to contact a pediatrician. Some over-the-counter pain medication that’s safe for the baby may need to be prescribed.
Stage 4: 16-22 months old
At this age, the canine teeth (next to the top and bottom molars and incisors) will show up. The same teething recommendations for stages 2 and 3 can be performed during this stage to keep the baby as comfortable and as healthy as possible.
Stage 5: 25-33 months old
While every child is different, this can be the most painful stage of teething for babies. Stage 5 is when the largest teeth start to come in; the molars. Since these teeth are the biggest, parents may start to see that their normal soothing methods used in the past will no longer work. This is the time to try something different to be more effective.
Several parents have found that giving their toddler a hard, small vegetable to chew on can be effective and healthy. If you want to try this or something similar, always make sure to supervise your baby at all times to make sure there are no instances of choking or pain.
Are You Ready to Go Through The 5 Stages of Teething for Baby?
Before trying any soothing methods or products on the market, it’s always best to get recommendations and approval from your pediatrician and dentist. Schedule your baby’s first appointment with your dentist to start planning a process for making it through teething with your little one. And remember, your baby’s teething stages may happen earlier or later in life. Be transparent with your dentist about any developmental concerns as you go through this challenging time.
If you’re about to go through the 5 stages of teething with your baby, contact North View Dental. They will be more than happy to help guide you through them and keep your baby comfortable. Please never feel judged and don’t hesitate!