How Long Does Teething Last?
The Saga of Teething
Most babies cut their first tooth around 6 months old and have a full set by age 3. Some babies don't seem to be bothered by teeth while others are fussier.
While most babies start cutting teeth around 6 months old and have all 20 of their primary teeth by 3, teething can feel like it lasts forever. The fussiness, sore gums, and drooling can get old very quickly. There is a wide range of ages for a first tooth, as well as for when all teeth are in. Although it is rare, first teeth can appear in the first weeks of life. Usually, though, babies get a first tooth when they are around 6 months old, and new teeth appear regularly after that.
Teeth, Teeth, Teeth
There is a wide range of typical for when babies get their first tooth. It is rare, but babies are sometimes born with teeth or get them in their first few months. Unless they are loose or pose a choking hazard, doctors generally don't intervene when this happens. On the other hand, some babies don't get their first tooth until closer to a year. Some babies seem to cut multiple teeth at the same time and then take a break, while other babies cut teeth one after another. Talk with your doctor if your baby is over a year old and does not yet have any teeth. For all of the variation in ages most babies cut teeth in the same order, with the bottom front teeth appearing first and the very back molars, also called the 2-year molars, appearing last.
If your baby is fussy, has swollen gums and is chewing on everything in sight, you might be less concerned with which teeth are coming in and more interested in finding ways to keep him comfortable. Some babies don't seem to be bothered at all by teeth, while other babies fuss and have a more difficult time. Babies who are teething often like cold things, such as a cool teething ring or a cool wash cloth. Keep your baby's face clean and dry since the excess of drool can irritate his skin. Although teething can sometimes cause a low fever, if your baby develops a significant fever, rash or diarrhea, see your pediatrician to make sure there is nothing else going on. If your baby seems very cranky and uncomfortable, ask your doctor if you can give children's ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with the pain. Do not give a baby aspirin.
Baby Dental Care
Baby dental care should start even before your baby has teeth. Wipe the inside of his mouth gently with a clean wash cloth, or use an infant toothbrush moistened with water. Once teeth appear, brush daily with a tiny dab of fluoridated toothpaste. Introduce flossing once your child has two teeth that touch and talk with a dentist about the best ways to get in between those little teeth. Practice good oral care by not letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle, since sleeping with milk or juice in his mouth can cause tooth decay. Take your baby to his first dental appointment preferably when that first tooth comes in, but no later than 6 months after he gets that first tooth.