New parents often look forward to the appearance of their baby's first teeth. They may also dread the event. For many babies, teething means pain. In the words of Mark Twain: "Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principle one was that they escaped teething." Some babies sail through teething with no signs of discomfort and surprise their parents with the sudden appearance of tiny white teeth. The telltale signs of teething can prepare you for the milestone in baby's life.
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Watch the calendar. While the time when babies teethe varies greatly, a baby's first two top teeth most often appear sometime between about six and nine months. However, a bottom tooth can appear at any times from three and half months to 15 months.
Wait for the appearance of your baby's lower central incisors. Baby teeth normally erupt in a specific pattern, starting with the two bottom middle teeth. Within a few weeks of your baby cutting his first bottom teeth, you will likely see the top two middle teeth appear.
Look for the symptoms of teething. Babies who are cutting their top teeth may drool and chew more than usual, act more irritable, have trouble sleeping, run a slight temperature or develop a chin rash from the excess drool. If these symptoms are related to teething, you should see one of your baby's top teeth appear within three days of the beginning of symptoms.
Check your baby's gums for the most reliable signs that an upper tooth is erupting. Look for a red, swollen gum, a white bump visible in the gum or a spot of blood where a tooth is breaking through. Run a clean finger over your baby's upper gum to feel for the ridge of an erupting tooth.
Tips and warnings
- After your baby's upper central incisors erupt, the next top teeth you should watch for are the lateral incisors -- the teeth on either side of the two middle teeth (between seven to 10 months), followed by the first molars (between 12 and 17 months), the canines -- located between the first molars and lateral incisors (between 15 and 22 months) and the two year molars (between 2 and 3 years). (See References 2 and 3)
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