What is teething?

Teething, the stage when your baby's teeth erupt, is one of the first rituals of life! Although newborns usually have no visible teeth, most have at least a partially developed set of baby teeth, which begin to appear generally about six months after birth. During the first few years of life, all 20 baby teeth will erupt through the gums. Most children have their full set of these teeth in place by age three.

As their teeth erupt, some babies may become fussy, sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not normal for a teething baby. If your infant has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician.

After your child's first tooth appears, but no later than his or her first birthday, begin regular dental check-ups for “smile” insurance.
Teething is the normal process of new teeth pushing through the gums. A baby’s first tooth usually appears any time between 3 and 12 months of age and the process continues until about 3 years of age.
Todd A. Welch, DMD
If you've had a child, then you probably know how teething affects kids -- and parents! When it comes to teething, many parents want to know at what age teething starts and how long it will last. While I can't give you an exact answer as to when your child will start teething and for how long, I can point out some general guidelines.

The Age When Babies Start Teething
The average baby's first tooth pokes through their gums right around the age of six to ten months. Since all babies get their first tooth at a different age, it may help to give a general outline of when to expect all 20 of your baby's teeth.
  • Around 4 to 10 months your baby will get their first teeth, the lower front two teeth, and the lower central incisors. (~8 months)
  • Two months later the two upper front teeth (central incisors) will come into your baby's mouth. (~10 months)
  • One month later, the upper lateral incisors will come in. (~11 months)
  • Two months later, the lower lateral incisors will come in.  (~13 months)
  • Three months later, and your baby's first molars will come in on the top and on the bottom. (~16 months)
  • Three months after that, your baby will get the upper canine teeth. (~19 months)
  • One month later, your baby will get the lower canine teeth. (20 months)
  • Seven months later, your baby will get their lower second molars. (27 months)
  • Two months later, your baby will complete their baby teeth by getting their upper second molars. (29 months)
As you can see, your baby will constantly be getting new teeth over the course of about two years. It's important to understand that while your child will keep getting new teeth during this time, they won't be teething the entire time. Teething refers to the process by which a tooth erupts through the gums into the mouth. This process can include some pain and discomfort, usually during the period of time before you actually see the tooth emerge from the gum.
Teething is the term used to describe the emergence of your child’s baby teeth. For some children, this process can be rather painless, while others become agitated and may even lose their appetite. Teething usually begins between 3 and 9 months and continues until your child has a full set of 20 baby teeth. This could be as late as the age of 3. Lower incisors are the first to emerge followed by upper incisors, first molars, canines, and second molars. Occasionally, babies are born with natal teeth, but this is a rare occurrence.

The term used to describe the sequential eruption of baby (primary) teeth is "teething". This can be uncomfortable to a baby as the teeth begin to erupt into the oral cavity. Using a cold teething ring can help to alleviate the discomfort. This process can begin as early as a few months after birth but generally beginning when the first tooth erupts at 6 months. By 3 years of age all primary teeth have erupted.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.