When you have a baby, there will be many milestones. One of the greatest pleasures in life is watching your baby reach those critical points. You will celebrate crawling and walking for the first time. However, those are not the only ones that will put a smile on your face. The signs of your baby's first tooth are one of those milestones. Here are a few things you should know about the teething stage. With that in mind, there are plenty of things that you can do to make the process more comfortable for your little one.
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Baby teeth will erupt at different times, and these eruptions occur on a gradual basis. Your baby will have all of those primary teeth by the age of three. With that in mind, the appearance of teeth can vary from baby to baby.
Here is a general guideline for when you can expect the teeth to appear:
- central incisor: 6–10 months
- lateral incisor: 10–16 months
- canine (cuspid): 17–23 months
- first molar: 14–18 months
- second molar: 23–31 months
- central incisor: 8–12 months
- lateral incisor: 9–13 months
- canine (cuspid): 16–22 months
- first molar: 13–19 months
- second molar: 25–33 months
Eventually, those 20 primary teeth will be replaced by 32 permanent teeth. Use this chart as a guide for the eruption of the primary teeth. Every child is different. In many cases, all teeth will appear before the child has reached six years old. The central incisors are often shed around the age of six or seven. The molars and canines are the last teeth to fall out, usually by the age of 12.
Related: What Are the 5 S’s? Soothe Your Baby
Teething Signs and Symptoms
Some babies will start to get their first tooth around six months old. However, teething can begin a little earlier than that. In some instances, parents have noticed their babies getting the first tooth as early as three months old. On the other hand, a few babies will not have a tooth eruption until they have reached their first birthday.
When you see the first signs of a tooth, your baby will have a little pain and discomfort. They might stop eating or sleeping for a short time. In many cases, the baby will cry more often than usual. Some other common symptoms of a teething baby can include:
- possible reduced appetite for solids
- increased drooling
- gum rubbing
- biting and chewing
If you have a baby between three and 12 months old, these symptoms are often tied to teething. They are just cutting a tooth, and you should not be alarmed. Remember that some symptoms are not related to teething. These signs can include:
- cough and congestion
- diarrhea or vomiting
- facial rash
- reduced appetite for liquid foods
If you notice any of these symptoms or signs, you should not assume that it is from the teething stage. You will want to call the doctor to ensure it is not related to other issues.
Managing Teething Pain
When your little one is teething, they will be irritable and miserable. As the tooth erupts through the guns, there will be pain and soreness for many babies. You might have to deal with a lot of tears and crankiness. However, you can make this process easier for your baby by making it more comfortable for them.
Massage Baby's Gums
One way to comfort your baby is by gently massaging their gums with a clean finger. You will want to be gentle, but apply a little bit of pressure. You can increase the blood flow to the gum tissues, reducing pain and inflammation.
Use a Cool Compress
When you use a cool compress, it can help to reduce discomfort for your baby. Many parents will chill a teething ring and give it to the baby to chew on. You can also take a cool spoon and apply it to your baby's gums. However, you only want to use the cool spoon method for those babies who do not have teeth. Chewing on a metal spoon can lead to chipped teeth.
Some parents use over-the-counter pain relievers, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These medicines can help to reduce pain. When you use them with your doctor's guidance, these pain relievers are safe for your baby. Always consult your pediatrician before giving medication before the age of two, and you should never give the baby pain medication for more than two days.
Never Use Topical Gels
When you head to the supermarket, there are many topical numbing agents. You might think that they are safe for your baby. These numbing gels contain either lidocaine or benzocaine to relieve tooth pain. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, these numbing agents can be harmful to babies, and you should not use them. Many of these topical gels do not help with teething since the baby will drool and wash away any numbing agents.
The Food and Drug Administration has also issued a warning about benzocaine oral gels for children. These topical gels can cause methemoglobinemia. These medical conditions can be dangerous for those children younger than 24 months. It can reduce oxygen in the body. Some of the signs of these conditions include headaches, a rapid heartbeat, and shortness of breath.
What to Remember
It can be an exciting milestone when your baby cuts that first tooth. Unfortunately, your baby might experience a bit of pain. With a few tips, your little ones do not have to suffer. You can use a cool compress, safe pain medication, and a gentle massage to help get your baby through this painful part of the growing process.
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