Teething is when a baby’s teeth begin to push through the gums. These teeth begin to appear as early as three months , or as late as a year. It can take a few years for the entire first set of teeth to appear, though teething is often complete within one or two years. Occasionally an infant will be born with one or more teeth already protruding from the gums, but this is no cause for alarm.
Though the order in which teeth appear during teething differs from person to person, it tends to follow a general pattern. The first teeth to appear are nearly always the central incisors, (those two teeth in the center of the mouth on the bottom). The top central and lateral incisors appear next, (the four central top teeth). Next come the bottom lateral incisors, (the two teeth on either side of the bottom central incisors). Then the basic molars (in the back of the jaw). And lastly, the eye teeth, (the pointed teeth on the top). Most infants have twenty baby teeth in all.
The symptoms of teething are now known to be extremely mild. However, because babies start to lose the immunity inherited from their mothers at around six months old, they coincidentally tend to pick up a lot of new infections around the time that teething commences. Here are some of the real symptoms of teething:
- Sore and tender gums
- Flushed cheeks
- Inflammation in the mouth.
- Excessive dribbling
- Excessive chewing
- A slight rise in temperature may occur immediately before a tooth erupts. (Any feverishness will be due to another condition and must be reported to your doctor.)
- Slight irritability (However, teething will not cause hours of prolonged screaming)
- Restless sleep
- Gums may look bumpy and a slightly darker shade of pink.
- Run a clean finger over the gum, can you feel the tooth or can you see it?