Stages of Teething in Babies and Children
There are 5 stages of teething in babies and children beginning with 20 primary (baby) teeth. Infants usually begin the process of teething around 6 months of age, although the precise timing can differ for each individual child. In most children, the bottom front two teeth (lower central incisors) erupt first, followed by the top front two teeth (upper central incisors). Babies may become particularly fussy or irritable while their new teeth ‘come in,’ as teething can be a very uncomfortable process. From the time teething begins until a child has developed their full set of 20 primary teeth, parents may feel as if they are consistently experiencing more difficulty than normal with their child. Standard signs and symptoms of teething consist of sore or tender gums, drooling, chewing on hard objects, and uncharacteristic grouchiness. Many parents believe teething can also cause fever and diarrhea, but research has disproven these suggestions. Teething does not cause constitutional or other prolonged bodily symptoms. Other than mood changes, all symptoms caused by teething are isolated to changes in the mouth and gums.
5 Stages Of Teething in Kids
- Stage 1: (0-6 months) Babies are born with a full set of twenty teeth beneath the gums
Stage 2: (6 months) The first teeth to erupt are the upper and lower icisors (front teeth)
Stage 3: (10-14 months) Primary Molars erupt
Stage 4: (16-22 months) Canine teeth (between incisors and molars on top and bottom) will erupt
Stage 5: (25-33 months) Large molars erupt
Teething occurs in 5 stages, usually lasts a little over 2 years, and can be a very difficult time for both babies and their parents to go through. Knowing what to anticipate during this tough time can aid parents in relieving the discomfort of their baby as well as effectively guide them into toddlerhood. The 5 stages of teething consist of:
(0-6 months) When a baby is born, he or she already has a full set of 20 baby teeth located in the jawbone under the gums. These primary teeth are also known as ‘milk teeth,’ because during this period of time babies typically consume a diet of milk only. During this stage, no teeth usually emerge.
(6-8 months) At this time, the first teeth begin to erupt. The incisors, which are the lower and upper front teeth, start coming in around 6 months of age, but symptoms or signs of discomfort may become apparent before the child is 6 months old. Before emerging, the jagged edges of the teeth may press up on the gum line. When this begins, the baby will consequently begin chewing on hands, toys, and any other hard objects. Applying pressure to the gums can relieve the pain and serve as a diversion for babies, so parents should definitely provide their child with ample and appropriate chew items during this time.
(10-14 months) The primary molars start to emerge at this stage in the lower and upper jaws in the back of the mouth. A child’s symptoms during this stage will be similar to stage 2, but usually parents will observe a distinct increase in fussiness, drool, and the want to chew on hard objects. Babies may commonly experience a loss of appetite during this time as well as begin to lose sleep at night. During stage 3, it is common for a baby’s sleep schedule to become more irregular. It is unfortunately pretty characteristic for both the baby and parents to sleep at night during this stage of teething. If a baby’s discomfort seems to become too harsh or if he or she seems to be dealing with excessive pain, contact a pediatrician for recommended over-the-counter pain relievers.
(16-22 months) At this time, the teeth between the top and bottom molars and incisors, the canines, will emerge. The exact same recommendations as stage 2 and 3 apply for keeping a baby as comfortable as possible during this time.
(25-33 months) This can be the most uncomfortable stage of teething for some toddlers. The large molars, which are the biggest baby teeth, erupt during this stage. During this time, parents may have a hard time soothing their child, trying their usual techniques to no avail. Parents are encouraged to try new soothing methods until something works. Many parents have found success with giving their toddler a hard vegetable to chew on, which is healthy as well. However, parents should make sure to keep a close eye on the toddler at all times to avoid the vegetable becoming a choking hazard.
How To Comfort A Teething Baby
- Some practical suggestions for alleviating a teething baby’s sore gums include:
- Teething rings—Supply the baby with a teething ring made of hard plastic. The liquid filled rings can break while the baby chews.
- Gum massages—Applying pressure to the gums can relieve a good amount of the discomfort a baby experiences while teething. Try massaging the gums with a clean damp washcloth, clean finger, or clean dampened gauze pad.
- Bottles filled with water—Try filling a baby bottle with water for your child to suck on when experiencing pain. Do not, however, fill the bottle with juice or milk for pain alleviation purposes. Prolonged contact with sugary liquids causes tooth decay.
- Chilled washcloths—A chilled teething ring or washcloth may also alleviate teething pain. Allow the baby to chew on these chilled items, but do not freeze them. Objects that are too cold can injure the gums and teeth.
- Hard/Solid foods—If the child is old enough to have solid food as part of his or her diet, hard foods that are safe to chew on may relieve teething discomfort. Whole solid vegetables like a peeled carrot or cucumber can be beneficial, but watch the baby closely to make sure these foods do not become choking hazards.
- Bibs—Putting a clean dry bib or cloth under the baby’s chin can help keep the skin from getting irritated from the supplemental amount of drool that accumulates as a baby teethes.
- OTC pain remedies—Over-the-counter pain relievers may also help keep a baby more comfortable during teething. Make sure to ask the pediatrician, however, before giving the child any medications.