How Do You Know Teething Has Started?
The most common sign that your baby has begun teething is an unusual amount of fussiness due to the discomfort that comes with new teeth emerging. Other common symptoms include trouble sleeping (growing teeth are usually more active at night), excessive drooling, a change in appetite, swollen gums, and even a low-grade fever in some cases. Though these symptoms can be otherwise alarming if you don’t know what’s going on, they’re perfectly normal.
How Long Does Teething Last?
Just like there’s no way to tell when your baby will start the teething process, there’s no way to tell how long it’s going to last. Even though most babies won’t have their first full set of teeth until they’re two, the good news is, you won’t be dealing with teething symptoms for the first 24 months of your baby’s life! Symptoms only tend to appear when teeth are about to break the surface and will subside between each occurrence.
You’ll quickly come to understand why it’s called the teething stage when your baby starts trying to chew on everything they can get their hands on. The reason for all of the chewing is because counterpressure is believed to help massage and relieve the pain they’re experiencing.
Losing Baby Teeth
As a parent, one of the most exciting times to be a part of is when your child starts to lose their baby teeth in order to make room for a set of permanent teeth. During this stage, even though the timeline becomes harder to predict, we’ve provided some general time frames to help you gauge where your child is at.
When Do Baby Teeth Start Falling Out?
Once your baby has their full set of 20 teeth (usually happening by age 3), it’s going to be smooth sailing for the next few years until they hit about 6 or 7. Generally, baby teeth don’t start falling out until their adult counterparts have formed underneath and begin pushing their way to the surface. Once this happens, they tend to follow the “first in, first out” rule, meaning your baby will lose teeth in the order they arrived.
Handling Loose Teeth
When your child experiences their first loose tooth, it can either be an exciting or scary experience for them. Because this is something totally new, it’s only natural for them to explore a bit by pushing it around with their tongue or wiggling it with their fingers, both of which are completely normal and actually help the process.
However, it’s important that you tell your child not to yank them loose before they’re ready because the adult tooth underneath may not have erupted yet which can leave an open space that’s prone to infection. It’s usually best to let the teeth fall out on their own, but if your child has a few stubborn ones, it never hurts to take them to a dentist that has experience with kids
What to Expect When Permanent Teeth Come In
When the new teeth start coming in, you’ll notice that they’re bigger and different looking than baby teeth, which is also completely normal. During this time, your child may also complain about soreness near the back of their mouth, which is a good sign that their permanent molars are coming in. Because they’re getting their permanent teeth, good dental hygiene habits are more important than ever.
Getting All of Their Adult Teeth
The process of losing baby teeth and growing a full set of permanent teeth can take several years. In addition to losing their 20 baby teeth, your child will also be growing 12 new teeth that they never had before.
How Long Do Adult Teeth Take?
Because each child is different, there’s no way to tell how long it will take for all of their adult teeth to come in. To give you a better idea of where your child should be, we’ve provided some general timelines for reference.
Between ages 6 and 9, you can typically expect the lower and upper central incisors, lateral incisors, and even their first set of molars.
Between ages 10 to 13, you can typically expect first and second premolars as well as the canine teeth along the top and bottom.
The last teeth to emerge in your child’s mouth are known as the wisdom teeth (third molars) and usually appear between the ages of 17 and 21.
Monitoring The Progress
During this time, it’s important that you pay close attention to the teeth that are coming in to make sure they’re in good health and without any abnormalities. Since these teeth are much larger than baby teeth, it’s less common to see perfectly straight teeth and more common to see crowding. If your child is taking an unusual amount of time to get their permanent teeth, it may be completely normal, but a quick visit can help clear up any worries.