For first-time parents wondering when their child will get his or her first teeth, expect teeth to first show when your child is between 4 and 7 months old. Sometimes, children – who the dental community refers to as “early developers”— have teeth develop as early as 3 months, and, more rarely, a tooth or two is visible at birth.
Your child actually begins to develop teeth when they are in the womb, where tooth buds start showing in the gums. Generally speaking, though, your child’s teeth will grow in this order: the bottom two middle teeth are first to appear, followed by the top middle teeth. After that, the teeth that make up the sides and back of your child’s mouth will start to come in.
Typically, the teeth do not come in straight, but straighten out over time as the mouth starts to fill out. The molars situated at the rear of your child’s mouth will be the last to appear. By the time your child turns three, he or she should have 20 teeth, all of which should remain in place until their permanent teeth begin coming in.
Currently, there is a debate among physicians and dentists as to whether or not teething causes various symptoms, or whether these symptoms develop coincidentally when a child’s teeth are growing in. In any event, your teething child might drool more frequently while teeth are appearing, which sometimes causes a facial rash.
Other teething symptoms include gum swelling and general gum sensitivity and increased irritability. Your child may also exhibit biting behavior, and they might have problems sleeping. Babies also commonly refuse food when a tooth is freshly ruptured through the gum tissue.
Some experts believe that teething leads to increased diarrhea and diaper rash. The theory is that the teething creates excessive salvia, some of which will end up in your child’s gut, loosening the stool, and resulting in diarrhea.
What is universally agreed upon by both physicians and dentists, however, is that if your child is teething and has a rectal temperature that exceeds 101 degrees Fahrenheit (or 100 degrees Fahrenheit if your child is younger than 3 months), or is experiencing any other symptoms that worry you, seek immediate medical attention.
How to Ease Your Child’s Teething Discomfort
If your child is suffering pain while teething, give them something to chew on. A cold washcloth, rubber gnaw, or massaging rattler are all excellent options. If your child has already advanced to eating solids, giving them something cold – like diced fruit or yogurt — will ease the pain,. Rubbing a clean finger on your child’s tender gums will work if the aforementioned methods do not diminish your child’s discomfort.
If the teething discomfort persists, consider giving your child a dose of children’s pain reliever. Make sure to consult with a physician before administering the medication. For babies with a rash on their chin, rubbing away the drool with a soft cloth and then rubbing the affected areas with a thick layer of petroleum jelly typically reduces redness and sores.