A Parent’s Guide to the Stages of Teething

When your baby begins teething, it can present challenges for parents. During this time, your little one is undergoing the monumental process of developing new teeth, and you may find yourself uncertain about what is occurring beneath the surface of their gums.

To ensure you can provide the best support for your baby during the teething process, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of what to expect. Let’s explore the 5 stages of teething together:

How Long Does Teething Last?

The teething process usually starts around 6 months of age and can continue for up to 3 years. It’s important to note that teething doesn’t happen continuously. Your baby will only experience teething symptoms for about a week at a time while their teeth are actively coming in.

Common signs of teething in infants include sore or inflamed gums, a slight increase in body temperature, excessive drooling, a tendency to gnaw and chew on objects, and occasional irritability.

How Long Do Teething Symptoms Last Before Baby Teeth Appear?

Teething symptoms may become apparent months before the first teeth start to appear. The initial stage of teething begins at birth and continues until approximately 6 months, even before any teeth are visible through the gums. At around 6 months, the first teeth start to emerge, accompanied by more noticeable teething symptoms.

Teething Baby Stages

Stage 1 (0-6 months)

This stage occurs before teeth begin to emerge through the gums. Infants possess all 20 teeth situated within the jawbone, concealed beneath the gums. These initial teeth that gradually appear are commonly referred to as “milk teeth”, as during this period, the baby’s diet primarily consists of breast milk.

In the first stage, you can assist your baby in adapting to the teething process by softly massaging their gums with a clean finger or a damp washcloth. This gentle approach will help alleviate any discomfort they may experience.

Stage 2 (6-8 months)

This is the time when the first teeth, known as incisors, begin to emerge. As these teeth exert pressure on the gums, it is common for babies to chew on objects, their hands, and display signs of irritation.

When your baby enters stage 2, teething becomes a common challenge. To alleviate their discomfort, consider offering a non-toxic, hard rubber teething ring. This can provide relief and help soothe your little one during this period.

Don’t forget, it’s important to schedule your baby’s first dentist visit within 6 months of their first tooth emerging. During this visit, we will carefully monitor your child’s growth and development, and create a personalized prevention plan to ensure their dental health. By taking proactive measures, we can help avoid any potential dental issues down the road.

Stage 3 (10-14 months)

As your child’s primary molars begin to emerge and break through the gums, you may notice some common changes. They might experience increased drooling, fussiness, and a decrease in appetite. Additionally, they may become more restless and have disrupted sleep patterns, waking up during the night. These are typical signs of teething and are a natural part of your child’s development.

In stage 3, it is best to introduce firm, easily consumable foods to your baby. Small, bite-sized pieces of solid vegetables, such as diced cucumbers, can provide relief and be suitable for your child’s needs.

Stage 4 (16-22 months)

At this stage, the canine teeth begin to emerge, and your child will likely experience the same symptoms as in stage 3.

You can ensure your child’s comfort by chilling a washcloth or teething ring. Avoid freezing it completely, as it may harm their delicate gums. Instead, place them in the fridge or freezer for a brief period. Prior to use, ensure the teething ring is at a suitable temperature by gently touching it with clean hands.

Stage 5 (25-33 months)

During the final stage of teething, the large molars start to emerge. These molars are the largest teeth and can often cause the most discomfort throughout the teething process.

Your baby might exhibit increased fussiness, wakefulness during sleep, and a tendency to bite on objects. If massaging their gums doesn’t provide relief, consider offering them harder foods, such as cucumbers, while closely supervising to prevent choking hazards.

Southern Dental Associates Is Here to Help You Navigate Your Baby’s Dental Milestones

Our team at Southern Dental Associates is dedicated to assisting you in navigating your baby’s dental milestones, ensuring a seamless and comfortable experience for both you and your little one. We’re more than happy to help you navigate the teething process! You don’t have to feel overwhelmed or in-the-dark about your child’s development. That’s what we’re here for. Our pediatric dental team is led by Dr. Chad Shobe. From your child’s first tooth to his or her last tooth emerging, we’re here to support you.

Learn more about your child’s dental milestones and schedule an appointment with us in Lewisville, Wilkesboro, and Lexington!

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