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Teething is an important milestone in the baby's development and there is a recommended time frame around which each tooth is expected to erupt. To find out when the teeth start coming in and what you can expect during the process, read on.

What is teething?

The process of eruption of the teeth in the mouth is called teething. Usually, this refers to the primary teeth or baby teeth but it can also sometimes refer to the permanent teeth in the mouth. The wisdom teeth, for example, which are the last teeth to erupt into the mouth, can be associated with a lot of teething pain.

When will my baby start getting teeth?

In general, a baby’s teeth start to erupt around the age of six months and continue to erupt until around 24 months of age. This is, however, just an average and so there are many children who fall on both sides of the estimate.

A lot of children may not get their first tooth tuntil 10 to 12 months, while there are some that get their first tooth at about four months of age. There is also a rare condition in which the baby is born with a tooth. This tooth, called a natal tooth, may not be normally formed and could also be loose in the mouth. In such a case, this tooth will cause interference with breastfeeding and carries the risk of being aspirated. A natal tooth is removed from the mouth soon after birth.

The milk teeth remain in the mouth until around the age of six years, which is when they will start getting replaced by permanent teeth. This period of mixed dentition (having both milk teeth and permanent teeth) in the mouth lasts until the child has reached 11 to 12 years.

Is there any way to make the baby's teeth come out faster?

Parents can be very upset or concerned to see that their baby’s teeth may not be following the ideal eruption dates. That is understandable and quite common, however, it is also important to understand that there is nothing that can be done about it.

Teeth are going to erupt when they are and at the most, some nutritional supplements may be offered. If a particular tooth is found to be impacted (stuck inside the jawbone) even when all the other permanent teeth have erupted for a significant period of time then a surgical procedure to help the tooth erupt may be carried out.

For babies, though, no such intervention is necessary.

Is there any pain or discomfort to the baby while teething?

You may have heard horror stories from a number of parents whose children suffered irritability, crying bouts, fever, and discomfort during the teething process, or you may have met parents who never even realized when their children were teething.

Both sets of experiences are true, although the experience of the vast majority of parents will lie somewhere in between. A slight increase in temperature, an increased amount of drooling, and some swelling in the region where the tooth is erupting are the common things that can be noticed. A much smaller percentage of babies may have diarrhea, rashes on the body, and a runny nose.

Dos and don'ts while the baby is teething

While teething may seem particularly difficult for your baby and you may want to do everything in order to make the child feel better, this is a process that every child in the world is going to go through without any lasting effect. Not a lot needs to be done except making your child comfortable.

How can you do that? The most effective method is to massage the gums using a cold washcloth or giving the child a teething ring to bit on. Keep in mind that a child may be cranky and all this fiddling around the mouth may actually worsen the situation.

Giving a biscuit or a piece of cucumber for the child to chew on is not a bad idea either. Care has to be taken to be close by because it is easy to break off a big piece which can become a choking hazard. If the child is suffering from fever then consult the pediatrician to give the right dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. 

That’s it. There is nothing else that needs to be done.

The use of teething gels which numb the gums or homeopathic medicines or any other kind of alternative medicines should be avoided. These can have serious side effects or allergic reactions and are not proven to work when tested under scientific conditions.

Conclusion

Teething is a relatively simple process that a person goes through at multiple stages of life. The inherent process remains the same whether it happens in a baby or an adult. The only difference is that a baby cannot vocalize any discomfort that may be occurring.

The exact time at which your baby’s teeth erupt can vary greatly and that is completely normal. As a parent, look at the big picture and offer the recommended support without getting too worked up.