Teething is both a beautiful and terrifying time for parents, depending on your baby’s teething symptoms. Usually, babies develop their teeth in pairs. The middle two on the bottom tend to be the first ones to come in. About a month later, you’ll see the above two arrive. However, it’s not uncommon to see a baby who has four bottom teeth and no upper teeth or the opposite.
Here’s a general timeline for when your baby’s teeth come in. At six months, your baby will have their lower central incisors. At eight months, your baby will have their upper central incisors. Around ten months, the upper and lower lateral incisors will come in. Between twelve and fourteen months are the first molars. Around a year and a half are the canine teeth. And lastly, the second molars come in at around twenty-four months.
Symptoms of Teething
Your baby will show symptoms or signs of teething before you see any teeth. The process is different for all babies, so there are a few different symptoms you might see with yours.
Gnawing: When a baby’s tooth is coming in, it puts pressure underneath the gums as it tries to emerge from them. This can be relieved for most babies by chewing on things, so you’ll see your baby suddenly chomping on their toys and maybe even your hands. The chewing instinct can be a response to feeling something different in their mouth, too.
Swollen Gums. Before the new tooth is able to erupt from the gums, it will cause some swollen, red, and bruised appearance on the gums. Sometimes, a baby’s gums will bulge with the emerging tooth, which you will see just beneath the skin. But good luck convincing your baby to open their mouth long enough for you to see!
Excessive Salivation: Babies will often excessively salivate with the pre-arrival of a new tooth, but it’s a normal developmental stage for your infant, too. Therefore, don’t assume drooling means a new tooth is about to erupt unless it’s accompanied by other symptoms.
Fussiness. Babies’ teeth tend to come in the following stages, with more activity occurring at nighttime than during the day. Therefore, your baby might be waking up more throughout the night, and they might be a little more irritable in the wee hours of the morning.
Pulling on Ears: This is a symptom that should be investigated by a pediatrician since it can mean your baby has an ear infection, but tugging on their ears can also be a sign a tooth is coming in. The pain from the jaw tends to radiate through the ear canal, causing your baby to pull on his or her ears.
Changes in Eating Habits: Babies who are consuming solids might be more eager to bottle-feed or nurse again because the spoon is irritating their swollen gums. Other babies might be the opposite and eat more solid foods than usual because the pressure on their gums makes them feel better.
Soothing the Pain
There are a few different methods that parents can use to soothe the pain of teething. Remember, all babies are different and might not respond to all of these tricks, but as long as you find one, you can survive the teething stage.
Frozen Washcloth: Dip a cotton cloth in some water, but leave one end of it dry. Freeze it for an hour or two, and then let your baby chew on the frozen end. The thick fabric will feel good, and the refreshing cold will numb those sore gums. A teething toy can also be frozen, but the frozen toy might be too harsh on their gums, so be careful.
Massage. If the tooth is still deep down in the gums and hasn’t created a painful bruise yet, friction or pressure on the area can work nicely. You can wrap your finger in a washcloth with cool water and try rubbing the area.
Pain Relievers: Ibuprofen and acetaminophen for babies are good for relieving pain temporarily. Just make sure you get permission from the pediatrician and do not exceed the recommended dosages.
Distraction Techniques: Teething pain is a lot like a headache for a baby because it causes low-grade, chronic pain. You can soothe your baby by getting their mind off the pain. Give your baby a new toy or some extra parent-baby time. Some extra cuddling might help take your baby’s mind off the pain.
If you’re worried about your baby’s symptoms at any point, then be sure to call a doctor. Some of the signs of teething can be signs of illness, so you should call your pediatrician if your baby’s symptoms get worse. For example, if a low-grade fever suddenly reaches 101 degrees Fahrenheit or lingers for more than a few days, it’s time to seek help. If your baby’s teeth have not come in by fifteen months, then you may need to take your baby to the dentist to get an x-ray.
However, complications with teething are pretty rare, so you don’t have to worry too much. Remember to take a little me-time in order to keep your sanity, too! 🙂