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Your Ultimate Guide to Baby Teething

October 17, 2019, Author: Tamra Cater

This is a guest post done by Brittany- Check out her bio at the bottom!

can begin as early as 4 months, although some babies don’t cut their first tooth until 12 months or later. The time frame that your child will pop their first tooth can vary drastically from one kid to another, like most milestones.  If you don’t see any sign of teething by the time they hit 18 months, it’s probably best to bring it up to your child’s pediatrician and see a dentist for evaluation. 

Primary Teeth

Primary teeth are better known as Baby Teeth, and are the first set of teeth your baby will get. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your child should have about 20 primary teeth by the time they turn 3 years old. You may notice that your child’s teeth will grow in with lots of room between each tooth. This is important to allow room for the bigger, more permanent teeth later on. 

Primary teeth have thinner enamel than permanent teeth. Because they are thinner, it is common for them to look whiter and even have a bluish tint to them. This also means it is easier for germs to start breaking them down, and issues can progress more quickly. 


Teeth usually erupt symmetrically between the left and right side of their mouth. The bottom teeth typically come first, followed by the corresponding teeth on the top. Although some babies do not follow the same order, the standard pattern is as follows:

  • Central incisors
  • Lateral incisors
  • First molars
  • Canines
  • Second molars

Parents can expect the same (or similar) order when their child starts to lose teeth. The following tooth eruption chart shows the arrangement of the primary teeth listed above. 

baby teething

The AAP has a helpful mnemonic called the 7+4 rule. This helps parents remember the timing of when their child should get certain primary teeth. 

“At 7 months of age, children should have their first teeth; at 11 months (4 months later), they should have 4 teeth. At 15 months of age (4 months later), they should have 8 teeth; at 19 months, they should have 12 teeth; at 23 months, they should have 16 teeth; and at 27 months, they should have 20 teeth”

Permanent Teeth

You can expect a similar pattern when your child’s permanent teeth start to erupt. This usually begins when they are about 5-7 years old and they should be finished by the time they are 14. The patter. for permanent teeth is as follows: 

  • Central incisors
  • Lateral incisors
  • First molars
  • Premolars
  • Canines
  • Second molars
  • Third molars (AKA: wisdom teeth)

It is common for permanent teeth to erupt behind the primary teeth on the bottom. This normally doesn’t cause an issue, but you should let your child’s dentist know so they can keep an eye on it. 

Signs of Baby Teething

A study called “Symptoms Associated With Infant Teething: A Prospective Study” was published in April 2000 in the journal “Pediatrics”. They monitored 125 children from their 4-month appointment until they turned 1 year old. The following symptoms were occurred more frequently in the 8 days of teething. These days include the 4 days before a tooth emerged, the day it emerged, and the 3 days after. Symptoms to look for include: 

  • Biting
  • Drooling
  • Gum-rubbing
  • Sucking
  • Irritability
  • Wakefulness
  • Ear-rubbing
  • Rash on their face or neck
  • Reduced appetite for solids
  • Mild fevers

They go on to state that “although many symptoms were associated with teething, no symptoms occurred in >35% of teething infants.” Unfortunately, this shows that every baby is different, and each child may show slightly different signs. 

Teething Pain

Teething pain can begin as early as 3 months old. recommends a few things to help with Baby’s teething pain. 

Teething Toys: You can purchase plastic or rubber baby toys to help soothe the gums. Teething necklaces and bracelets have mixed reviews on the effectiveness, but many agencies warn against them due to a choking or strangulation risk. To read more on the risk factors, check out the article Teething Necklaces and Beads: A Caution for Parents.  

Cold: Frozen washcloths can help numb the pain and inflammation in a teething baby. Use a damp washcloth and tie one end for better grip before freezing. You can freeze multiple to have on hand when needed. Watch out for some baby teething toys that advertise being frozen. Some of these teething rings that are frozen solid are too hard for baby’s gums and can actually be more painful. If your baby is older than 6-9 months, you can fill a sippy cup with cold water for them to suck on. 

Massage: Make sure to wash your hands and use a finger to gently rub your baby’s gums. This can feel really good to them, but watch out for other teeth if this isn’t their first round of teething. 

Medicine: Most of the pain relievers marketed to rub on baby’s gums are not very effective. Because teething babies drool so much, the medicine is quickly washed off. Some professionals warn that these numbing medications can numb the back of their throat and can have an effect on their ability to swallow. If none of the above tips worked, call your pediatrician and find out exactly what dosage of Tylenol is safe for your child. It is important not to give Motrin to any babies younger than 6 months. 

Final Thoughts on Baby Teething

Seeing your baby in pain can be tough for any parent. Following the above tips can help relieve some of the pain, and make the experience a little bit easier on the both of you. If you are ever concerned about the symptoms your child is showing, please reach out to your child’s care provider. 

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baby teething

Author Bio:

baby teething

Brittany is a full-time working engineer and full-time mom to her 9 month-old little boy. On her blog, you can find helpful tips on saving money, recommended mommy items, and advice from one hard working mother to another! She covers topics ranging from pregnancy through parenting. If you prefer to listen instead of read, you can find the information on one of her two podcasts! Give her blog and social media sites a visit!









A Pediatric Guide to Children’s Oral Health: 

Symptoms Associated With Infant Teething: A Prospective Study:

Baby’s Teething Pain: 

Teething Necklaces and Beads: A Caution for Parents: 

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comments (5)

  • avatar image
    This is really helpful. I appreciate the detailed post


    October 23, 2019 Reply
  • avatar image
    This is a very informative post. My two-year-old is getting his back right molar and it has been a nightmare. No sleeping, no eating, constipation. Its about to erupt, but I am scared for the other three that are next!

    Lorena |

    October 24, 2019 Reply
    • avatar image
      Thanks! Oh no! I hope the others aren’t as bad!

      Tamra Cater

      October 24, 2019 Reply
  • avatar image
    Such an informative guide to teething! Massaging the gums and cold cloths have been big sources of relief for my little ones


    October 24, 2019 Reply
  • avatar image
    Our little guy is teething something fierce. His first tooth came in late, I think he was about 13 months... so now the rest are following late as well! Thanks for the tips


    October 24, 2019 Reply