Teething begins before a child's first tooth breaks through the gums. It is a natural process, but causes sore gums. Teething can make your child uncomfortable and cranky. Teething lasts from 6 months to 3 years.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
The first teeth start to come in when your baby is 6-12 months old. The first teeth are most often the 2 bottom front teeth. Other teeth will quickly follow. The pressure on the gums can make them swollen and tender.
Teething is a natural process. No factors increase the chance of teething.
Many babies do not experience any problems or pain. When symptoms do occur, they generally last for several days before and a few days after the tooth comes through the gums.
If the baby is feverish and acts sick or very upset, seek medical care. Something else may be causing the symptoms.
Teething will be diagnosed by the baby's age, symptoms, and appearance of the gums. A teething baby's gums appear swollen and are tender. Sometimes small, white spots appear on the gums just before a tooth comes through. There may be some bruising or bleeding.
Many medical groups prefer basic steps rather than medicine, or numbing creams and gels. Safety of homeopathic items and teething jewelry is also still unclear. Most recommend basic comfort steps.
Teething babies usually like to chew on a wet washcloth or teething ring. Guidelines for teething rings include:
Note : Avoid using amber teething necklaces. Current evidence does not show that they help relieve pain. They are also a strangulation and choking hazard.
Other general tips include:
Bring your child to a dentist when the first tooth comes in. Make sure to visit the dentist by one year of age. The dentist will perform an exam. You will be shown how to care for your child's teeth.
Teething is a normal part of child development. Prevention methods are not needed.
Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association
Canadian Dental Association
The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
Amber teething necklaces: a caution for parents. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/Amber-Teething-Necklaces.aspx. Accessed January 29, 2021.
American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs. Fluoride toothpaste use for young children. J Am Dent Assoc. 2014;145(2):190-191.
Safely Soothing Teething Pain and Sensory Needs in Babies and Older Children. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/safely-soothing-teething-pain-and-sensory-needs-babies-and-older-children. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Teething: 4 to 7 months. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/Teething-4-to-7-Months.aspx. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Teething tots. Kid's Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/teeth/teething.html. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC Last Updated: 01/28/2021