They go by many names - baby, milk, primary, deciduous - but any way you slice it, the process by which your baby gets their first teeth can be a tedious one! Teething can begin as early as 3 months and as late as 15, though most commonly you see the first teeth at around 6 months. This first round of teeth can take up to 3 years to fully emerge. Generally, they erupt on the schedule shown on the right.
These teeth don’t just magically appear, of course - they've been developing for a while. Tooth buds form under your baby’s gums in-utero - later, when the roots of the tooth begin to grow, the crown is forced up against the gums. This pressure breaks down the surrounding gum tissue and lets the tooth through.
Common symptoms of teething include:
We’ve come a long way in our consideration of teething: for instance, it is no longer considered a common cause of death, as it was in the early to mid 19th century when serious diseases were regularly attributed to teething. We no longer try to “treat” teething by use of bleeding, blistering, placing of leeches or cauterization. Nor do we line our babies’ gums with mercury filled powder. Ah, the good ol’ days.
For all this progress, a fussy, teething baby at 3 am can still pose quite a challenge to an exhausted parent! With that in mind, here are a few do’s and don’ts to help through the night: