Teething is the normal process in which your baby's first set of teeth (primary teeth) break through the gums (erupt). Teething usually begins at around 6 months of age, but it is different for each child. Some children begin teething at 3 to 4 months, while others do not start until age 12 months or later. A total of 20 teeth erupt by the time a child is about 3 years old. Usually teeth appear first in the front of the mouth. Lower teeth usually erupt 1 to 2 months earlier than their matching upper teeth. Girls' teeth often erupt sooner than boys' teeth.
Your child may be irritable and uncomfortable from the swelling and tenderness at the site of the erupting tooth. These symptoms usually begin about 3 to 5 days before a tooth erupts and then go away as soon as it breaks the skin. Your child may bite on fingers or toys to help relieve the pressure in the gums. He or she may refuse to eat and drink because of mouth soreness. Children sometimes drool more during this time. The drool may cause a rash on the chin, face, or chest.
Teething may cause a mild increase in your child's temperature. But if the temperature is higher than 38°C (100.4°F), look for symptoms that may be related to an infection or illness.
You might be able to ease your child's pain by rubbing the gums and giving your child safe objects to chew on.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 28, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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