The facts about

by Cassandra Wemple
435th Dental Squadron

Teething, the process by which an infant’s teeth appear by breaking through the gums, can be a frustrating time for little ones and their parents. It helps to know what to expect when your child is teething and how to make the process a little less painful.

Q: When does teething begin?
A: On average, the first tooth comes in during the seventh month. However, it can arrive as early as three months or as late as a year; there is no set pattern on when it will begin. After your child’s first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday, begin regular dental check-ups.
Q: Which teeth come in first and how many will there be?
A: In most children, the upper and lower front two teeth will be the first teeth to erupt. In all, there are 20 primary (first) teeth that will usually erupt by the age of 3. Dentists recommend brushing infants’ teeth as soon as they appear.
Q: What are the symptoms of teething?
A: Irritability, drooling, coughing, chin rash, biting, gnawing, ear pulling, cheek rubbing, diarrhea, fever and cold like symptoms can all be symptoms of teething. As a tooth erupts an eruption cyst may develop. The tooth will eventually rupture through this watery sac as it pushes through the gums. Eruption cysts are usually harmless and should be left alone.
Q: How can I help my baby with the pain?
A: Some time honored procedures that may help teething include: Teething rings for the baby to chew on, cold bottle of water to reduce swelling, cold wet wash cloth for the baby to suck on, gentle pressure placed on the gums with a clean finger, apply over the counter topical anesthetics to the gums and over the counter pain medications to reduce the fever.