All About Teething Symptoms, Problems & Signs in Babies

Watching your baby have her first tooth and her adorable toothy grins are some of the baby milestones that you'll be eagerly waiting for and treasure. You may have started wondering when will your baby's teeth appear. Keep in mind that the timing of teething varies widely for each baby. Read on to learn more about what is teething, at what age will your baby start teething, the signs and symptoms of teething, how long teething typically lasts, and what care can you provide during teething symptoms to your baby.

When Does Teething Start?

Teething in infants often starts when babies are between six and 12 months old, though in some cases those first teeth may appear earlier or even a little later. In some very rare cases new borns may be born with a tooth already erupted, or have a tooth come through in the first few weeks. Look out for teething signs and symptoms, such as tender gums, drooling, or gnawing on a fist or finger, which may indicate that you'll soon be seeing a tooth emerge.

Your Baby's First Tooth

Each baby is unique and so is each baby’s teething timeline. Generally, when your baby starts teething, she will have four teeth appear in every six months. The first teeth are primary or milk teeth that will be replaced eventually by the adult teeth when she is between six and 12 years of age. In most cases, babies get their first tooth between the four and seven months of age. However, there are also babies who get their tooth as late as 12 to 14 months. So, if your baby is one of them, know that it is normal for her to get her first teeth late.

How Long Does Teething Last?

The duration of the teething process can vary. At some point between your child's second and third birthdays, however, your little one will have a full set of 20 primary teeth. This means the total teething period lasts for about two years. If your little one has teething problems, know that this will probably come and go. Teething symptoms are typically experienced in the days before a tooth erupts; then the soreness subsides until a new tooth starts to come in.

What Are the Symptoms of Teething?

Although in many cases the symptoms of teething in infants start as early as three to four days before the tooth is visible, some babies are lucky to not experience any symptoms at all. As your baby's teeth grow and break through the gums, she may experience teething symptoms like:

  • Irritability:

She may become a little fussier and even cry more than usual.

  • Disturbed sleep:

She may stay awake during the night due to the teething pain or discomfort.

  • More drooling:

Your baby may drool a lot when teething. This happens because the extra saliva helps soothe the tender gums.

  • Gnawing on things:

Your baby may chew on toys, a teething ring, or even her own fist. Chewing helps relieve the pressure on the baby's gums and massages the gums while easing any discomfort caused due to the erupting tooth.

  • Sore, swollen gums:

The gum area where your baby's tooth is appearing may become red, tender, and swollen.

  • Low-grade temperature:

Your baby may also have a slightly high temperature. But if she seems very uncomfortable or has a temperature of 100.4°F or more, contact her doctor.

Your Baby's Teething Schedule

The appearance and order of each tooth differs from infant to infant. To help you understand the teething timeline in a better way, here's a general idea based on the months:

  • 4-7 months:

Your baby will get her first tooth when she is about four to seven months old. However, her teeth can also come in as late as 12 to 14 months. Usually, her first tooth will be one of the front lower teeth, known as the central incisors. She may start experiencing the teething symptoms as early as three months, so don't be surprised to see the first tooth appearing around this time.

  • 8-12 months:

Your baby will get the next pair of teeth during this time. These are the top front teeth, also called central incisors, which erupt from the top of her mouth.

  • 9-16 months:

The next pair of teeth will erupt on either side of the first central incisors. They are called the lateral incisors. These erupt usually at the top. Soon, these will be followed by the lower lateral incisors that erupt to the side of the bottom middle ones.

  • 13-19 months:

Your baby will get her first molars soon after she turns one. These are most likely to appear on the top part of the mouth.

  • 16-23 months:

At around this age, your baby's first canines that are sharp and pointy will start appearing.

  • 23-33 months:

Your baby will get her second molars between her second and third birthday. These teeth will complete the last gaps and finally, your little angel will now have a full set of 20 primary teeth.

What if My Baby's Teething Comes at a Different Time?

Teething is not a competitive sport. Since every child is unique, growing teeth varies from kid to kid. Your baby will get her teeth when they are ready. So, don't worry if other kids in your child's playgroup get teeth before she does.

How to Soothe Your Teething Baby?

Teething can be uncomfortable for some babies, and as there's no magic technique that works for every child, you may have to experiment to find something that helps your little one feel better. Among the many ways to soothe your teething baby are these two quick ideas:

  • Give a teething ring:

Chewing on one of these rings lets your teething baby massage her own gums. Some types can be cooled in the fridge to give extra relief, but don't put a teething ring in the freezer—this can make it too hard and cold for your little one's sensitive gums. To keep your little one safe, never tie a teething ring to a string that's looped around your baby's neck or clipped to her top.

  • Massage your baby's gums:

Using a clean finger, gently massage your baby's sore gums.

How to Care for Your Baby's New Teeth?

It's important to start caring for your baby's teeth (or tooth) as soon as the first one pokes through. Those baby teeth have to last several years before they're replaced with adult teeth and establishing good dental hygiene habits early on will help set your little one up for healthy teeth and gums throughout her life. Taking steps to prevent cavities and tooth decay in the baby teeth is just as important as it is with adult teeth, because decay in these teeth can affect the permanent teeth that follow and cause other dental problems like pain and infections.

Brushing Your Baby's Teeth

Regular brushing is an important part of dental care. The key thing at this stage is to gently clean baby teeth twice a day and to get your little one used to the brushing routine. Here are some guidelines for brushing your baby's teeth, as well as some tips on teaching your older child how to get the job done, with your help:

  • Brush at least twice a day, especially after your child has had anything sugary as well as after the last meal or drink of the day.

  • Put a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for your baby's age. Carefully brush each tooth, making sure to reach all the surfaces, including the sides and the inside surface. Once your child is about two years old, you can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. You'll need to teach her how to rinse and spit, rather than swallowing the toothpaste.

  • The direction of the brush stroke doesn't really matter. The key is to clean each tooth from all angles, making sure you reach the back teeth as well.

  • For now, you'll need to brush your baby's teeth. As she reaches the toddler and pre-schooler stage, teach her how to brush her own teeth, under your close supervision. You'll need to lend a hand until she's seven or eight years old to ensure those teeth get a thorough clean. Here are some ideas for how to make brushing more fun for both of you.

What should be the diet during teething in infants?

Your little one's diet is a big part of dental health. Avoid giving your child sugary drinks like fruit juice and sodas, or sticky sweet snacks like gum, toffee, and sticky caramel candies. Also, don't let your baby fall asleep with a bottle or sippy cup of milk, formula, juice, or any other sweet drink in her mouth, as this can cause the sugary liquid to pool in her mouth and lead to tooth decay. For more on caring for your baby's teeth, check out our article on dental care for children.

How frequent should the Dental Check-ups be?

Getting professional care from a dentist is crucial for the healthy development of your child's teeth, mouth, and gums. Usually, the first dentist visit should take place within about six months of the first tooth poking through or by the time your child is 12 months old, whichever comes first. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, you can make an appointment at any time. Your baby's doctor will also check your baby's teeth and gums at her regular check-ups. Read more about children's dentistry

When to See Your Baby's Doctor?

If your little one is showing symptoms like fever, irritability, or diarrhoea, or any other signs of childhood illness, and you're not sure whether it's related to teething or something else, it's safest to call your doctor so an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan can be made. You should also contact your baby's doctor if you're concerned about how much discomfort your baby is in as a result of teething. The doctor may recommend some form of pain relief while also making sure that nothing else is wrong to cause the elevated levels of pain or discomfort. Do not use teething gels to numb the gums, as these are dangerous. You'll also want to consult your baby's doctor or dentist if your baby has a tooth problem or injury, such as a broken or chipped tooth. Read on for tips on injury related to baby’s teeth knocked out

Interesting Facts About Baby Teeth

Want to know more about teething and those white-as-can-be baby teeth? Here are some fun facts about your little one's teeth:

  • On average, about four teeth will poke through every six months during the teething process.

  • Girls' teeth may erupt a little sooner than boys' teeth.

  • The bottom teeth tend to erupt before the same type of tooth on the top.

  • Teeth usually erupt in symmetrical pairs; in other words, one tooth on the right side of the jaw and the same type of tooth on the left side of the jaw will poke through at roughly the same time.

  • Your child's primary teeth are smaller and whiter than the permanent teeth that will replace them in a few years' time.

  • From around the age of four, your child's face and jaw will begin to grow and change shape, and this will create gaps in her smile as the baby teeth won't catch up in size. This is completely normal—it's the mouth's way of making space for the bigger adult teeth that will follow.

  • Your baby's secondary teeth will be coming in when she is about seven or eight years old. Because it will take a little while before your child has a full set of adult teeth, for several years your child will have a mix of baby and adult teeth.

  • Your baby has 20 primary teeth but will have many more secondary teeth. By the time your child is in her teens or early 20s, she'll have between 28 and 32 adult teeth.


Signs that your baby is teething can include: 

  • Being cranky or crying a lot
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Chewing or gnawing on an object
  • Tender, red gums where the tooth is coming through.

The Big Picture

Teething can be a challenging time for your baby and you. But remember, teeth are important as they help your child chew and bite into the food necessary for her growth and development. You must be eagerly waiting for that first tooth to appear, but know that it will be here very soon, and more others will be on their way. Before you know, those gaps in your baby's smile will be filled and every tooth emerging will make that smile even more adorable day by day. So, make sure to take good care of your baby's teeth to keep her cute smile shining bright and white!

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