Being a hygienist in a general practice and a mom with lots of mom friends, the topic of baby teeth, and when they erupt is a common conversation. Babies are born with 20 partially formed baby teeth that start erupting around 6 months and continue until about 24-33 months. Although, it’s not common some babies’ teeth start to erupt as early as 3 or 4 months. Since having my son and comparing his eruption pattern to my friends’ children, I have learned that every baby is different in the eruption time and order, but most children will have all 20 baby teeth by age three.
As I said above, every child’s tooth eruption pattern is different, so the below stages are a loose guideline of what you can expect. In most cases your child’s 1st tooth will start to erupt around 6-8 months. The front bottom two (lower central incisors) teeth will erupt first, followed by the top two teeth (upper central incisors). The lateral incisors are the next to erupt both on the top & bottom. Stage two is between 10- 16 months and tends to be a little more uncomfortable for the child as there 1-year molars are erupting. The drooling increases during this stage, as well as fussiness, and sometimes interrupted sleep patterns (don’t worry, it’s not permanent), you will also notice them trying to chew on things including there fingers further back in their mouths. The next stage is the canines, which most people refer to as the “I teeth or pointy ones” typically erupt between 16-22 months. The final stage of eruption is the child’s 2-year molars which are the largest teeth to erupt and can erupt anytime between 18 and 33 months.
Some infants’ teeth erupt really quickly, but other’s experience discomfort and pain, which can be a long and difficult process for both the baby and the parents. Infants tend to be fussy, irritable, drool a lot, and want to chew on firm objects. Having cold teething rings or damp wash cloths for them to chew on is helpful. It is also helpful to keep a bib on your child to help prevent a rash around their chin and mouth from the large amounts of drool. Infant Motrin can also help sooth some of the discomfort for those who are comfortable giving it to their child. I occasionally gave it to my son at night when needed to help decrease the discomfort allowing him to get a better night sleep. My son was not a pacifier user as an infant, but I got a few of the aqua advent pacifiers at my baby shower and kept them in the freezer, they came in handy when he was teething with his molars. I would give it to him to put on his finger so he could get it all the way to the back and chew on it, helping relive some of the discomfort.
Teething is a difficult part of the infant stage and raises many questions for parents. Don’t be afraid to ask your dental provider or message me with any questions you may have. As parents we are in this together and I’m here to help.