How to Tell When the Teeth Are Close to Coming Out on a Baby

Updated October 27, 2017

Most babies have their first tooth appear between the age of 4 months and 7 months. It is possible for teeth to erupt earlier or later than this range and heredity may be a factor in the timing. By about 2 and a half years old, most children will have all 20 teeth. Determining when your baby's teeth are coming can be a difficult task. Babies can exhibit signs of teething for weeks or even months before the first tooth appears. They may experience the most discomfort when more than one tooth is erupting at once. Some children may show obvious signs of teething while other parents are surprised when a tooth suddenly appears.

Check to see if your baby is showing any signs of teething. This includes irritability, excessive drooling, loose stools, refusing food, disrupted sleep and the desire to chew on things such as fingers and crib rails. It is possible for your baby to demonstrate a combination of these symptoms or none at all before a tooth appears.

Look in your baby's mouth for the presence of swollen areas on the gums. You may also see a blue-coloured blister, which is caused by blood collecting beneath the gums. It may also be possible to see the white tip of a tooth poking through the gums.

Run your finger along the outside edges of your baby's top and bottom gums. Feel for ridges, which may indicate the presence of a tooth below the gums. You may also feel the sharp point of a tooth poking through the gums.


Look for your baby's bottom front teeth to appear first, followed by the top front teeth. Teeth along the sides and then the back of your baby's mouth usually appear next. This sequence can vary.


Experts are unsure if fevers are a symptom of teething. Consult your doctor if your child has a fever higher than 38.3 degrees Celsius. Babies may pull at their ears during teething. However, this could also be the sign of an ear infection. Seek a doctor's advice. It is not uncommon for new teeth to appear crooked and then straighten out as they make their way through the gums. Your baby's teeth may have significant spaces between them. This is normal and the spaces usually fill in when the permanent teeth arrive.

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About the Author

Mother of two, Erin Agnello writes about parenting, relationships, and education. She has been teaching since 2001 and works in special education and early literacy. Agnello holds a B.A. in psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University and a B.Ed. from Windsor University.