Teething 101

Photo of hygienist Christina
Registered Dental Hygienist
Family Dentist Tree

With a growing son of her own, our hygienist, Christina, knows that teething happens. It’s inevitable, and it’s not always fun. The day your little infant’s rubber gums finally pop that new tooth through is exciting! That first day is also stressful, knowing approximately nineteen other pearly whites will soon follow suit.

Teething typically begins around 6 months old, although some infants don’t get their first tooth until closer to 12-14 months. A complete set of 20 teeth should be in your child’s mouth around the age of 2.5-3 years old.

Photo of a teething child

Many parents complain of the sleepless nights and the increased fussiness of their infant during these teething stages. Most pediatricians will say that teething does not cause increased fussiness, low grade fever, or diarrhea, but any parent will tell you it’s that set of new chompers making their way through! If a fever or other concern is present, it is best to see your child’s physician to rule out any other illness before turning to Tylenol to do the trick.

Infants will undoubtedly begin to gnaw and chew on toys as well as drool as teeth are erupting. There are many ideas you can use to help ease your child’s discomfort. Sophie the Giraffe seems to make the top of the list for comfort. No one is quite sure what it is about this toy that sparks an interest in those bare gums, but either way, it’s worth a try! Another option is placing a pacifier or teething toy in the refrigerator. We don’t recommend placing it in the freezer, as that can hurt if your child chomps down with those sore gums. Vibrating teethers also help to comfort the gums as well as a cool washcloth that you can rub along the gums. Many parents are apt to try orajel or a numbing solution. We advise against this, as this can cause a rare reaction called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced. (ADA 2016)

Sophie the giraffe
Photo of Sophie the Giraffe retrieved from Target.com. Click here to see the product listing!

Once your child’s first tooth erupts, please be sure to follow the ADA’s recommendations regarding fluoride toothpaste and brushing. Even with one tooth present, you should be brushing your child’s teeth twice daily, using only a smear, or the size of a grain of rice of fluoridated toothpaste.

Check out the ADA’s video on teething for other useful tips and tricks to get through the teething stages. As a parent, it can also be helpful to google a few neat tips and tricks using sites such as Pintrest and parents.com.


(2016). Teething. Retrieved February 22, 2016, from http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/teething