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Teething and Eruption of Teeth

Teeth begin developing while the baby is still in the womb. Rarely, a baby is born with some teeth. Such teeth are called neonatal teeth. If they are extremely loose and if they pose a choking or aspiration hazard, then a dentist needs to remove the teeth. More frequently, the neonatal teeth are kept as long as they do not interfere with nursing or feeding by bottle.

A baby will eventually have 20 baby teeth. Baby teeth are also called “primary teeth” and “milk teeth”.   Baby teeth erupt in cycles and it takes about 3 years to get all 20 teeth.

The first teeth to erupt are usually the lower front teeth. These usually come in around 6 months of age but can come as early as 3 months and as late as 12 months! The next teeth will be the upper front teeth. Then the canines and the first molars will erupt around 12-18 months. Lastly, the second molars will erupt around 30 months of age. With each cycle of eruption, your baby may have symptoms of teething.

Teething is a “whole body” event! Symptoms of teething include irritability, mild fever (less than 101 degrees F), diarrhea, drooling, rash around the mouth, bulging gums, waking at night, loss of appetite, and chewing on everything! You can help your child through this process by using frozen teething toys, popsicles, and over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil. We do not recommend using teething gels made from topical anesthetics. These are medications that taste terrible and it is too easy for your baby to wind up eating too much of it. If your child ever has a fever 101 degrees F and higher when teething, we recommend taking your child to his or her pediatrician. Most likely, that fever is due to something besides teething.

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