Great dental care starts early in life, and one of the major, memorable milestones in this process is the day your baby’s first tooth comes in. This is an exciting time and a sign of changes that are on the way.
For one, it means it might be time to introduce your toddler to a pediatric dentist.
For another, it means that the baby is going to start teething. And with teething can come some irritability and fussiness.
It can be a little nerve-wracking for many parents. They see it happening, they know it has to happen, but they want to do everything they can to soothe the baby’s pain.
What to Expect
Teething usually happens between the ages of 6 and 12 months. While the first tooth usually comes in around 6 months, the first eruption could actually occur anytime between 3 and 14 months of age.
The length of time babies continue teething is different for everyone, because some children’s teeth erupt one at a time while others come in pairs or sets. Most children usually have a full set of teeth in place by the time they turn 3 years old.
How Do You Know When a Child is Teething?
There are several signs that your child may be in the teething phase, but this isn’t an exact standard. This phase is different for everyone. Some babies don’t feel any real pain at all from the erupting teeth, others are extremely sensitive and may feel the lingering soreness for weeks.
Some of the common signs that indicate teething include:
- Excessive drooling
- Trouble sleeping
- Fussiness and crankiness
- Swollen gum tissue with or without a lump where the tooth is coming in
- Loss of appetite or refusing food or the bottle
- Constantly feeling the need to chew on solid objects
What Can You Do About It?
First, don’t make any assumptions. Those symptoms could be attributed to a number of other things. But if you notice more than one of them, you’re probably zeroing in on a solid diagnosis.
While teething isn’t usually something you need to see a pediatric dentist about, it can be frustrating to watch your child go through this. So, there are some things you can do to soothe their sore or tender gums.
- Gently rub their gums with a clean finger, or cool spoon, or moist gauze pad
- Allow them to chew on a clean teething ring
- A warm bath and gentle rocking to take their mind off it
There are also some gels that are available that can numb the sensitive areas. However, the FDA recommends not using products that contain benzocaine for children younger than 2. If they are used, it should only be done under the strict supervision of a healthcare professional.
There have also been a range of homeopathic teething tablets released to the market, but these have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA.
Should You Consult a Dentist About It?
Generally, you shouldn’t have to consult a dentist about teething unless some of those symptoms are severe and never seem to go away.
However, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dental Association, and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, all recommend bringing your children in for their first appointment when they’re 6 months old or within 6 months after the first tooth has erupted.
If you’re concerned about the way their teeth are developing throughout the teething stage, this is the perfect time to ask about it.
If the first tooth is taking its time to come in, then they recommend visiting the dentist on their first birthday. If the child still doesn’t have a tooth by age 1, then you can still visit a pediatric dentist and discuss the elements of tooth development.
Introducing Dental Health as Early as Possible
At Artistic Smiles, we treat children once they’ve reached the age of 3, so the teething stage should be finished by then. During these first few visits, we’ll make sure they’re treated well so they feel comfortable in the office.
At this age, it’s all about reinforcing positive dental habits and make visiting the dentist a regular part of their oral hygiene.
Even though teething habits are far in the past by the time they turn four, this is when we can help them look forward to a life of great smiles and healthy teeth.