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Your Pressing Questions About Baby Teeth Answered

April 11, 2017

Teething. It’s one of the most exciting stages of a baby’s life, and one of the more confusing and sometimes frustrating for a new parent. As these little teeth emerge our babies grow into toddlers excited to see what those new baby teeth can do. While we may be excited for our kids to try new foods, we can all commiserate over the fussy, sometimes feverish ones who keep us up at night while they cut teeth. Dental health is extremely important at all stages of life, so it’s normal for parents to have questions about their baby’s teeth, and it’s very normal to ask their pediatric dentist.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting Teeth

A baby’s first tooth will normally emerge around four and seven months of age. Baby teeth, or primary teeth often scare nursing mothers because now that cute little gummy smile is capable of biting. Have no fear nursing moms. Babies who latch well will have no trouble nursing with teeth, although you may experience a bite here and there when baby starts to doze while feeding. However for many babies “cutting teeth” can be uncomfortable and will cause a few sleepless, cranky nights until the teeth emerge.

Baby teeth emerge in a very predictable manner, yet it is interesting and important to know that a primary set of teeth only consists of twenty teeth compared to the 32 we end up with. The first teeth to emerge are always the central incisors – or the bottom and top front teeth. This usually happens between four and seven months of age. From ten to 15 months, a child’s lateral incisors make their debut. Normally at one year of age your child will have eight teeth, four on top and four on the bottom. Next between ten and 16 months of age the first molars begin to push their way through the gums. After the first molars, the canines and second molars emerge. Between 16 and 24 months of age most children have a full set of primary teeth.

The thing about teething that makes it so hard for both parent and baby is that this change in the body can be painful. Teething babies are often fussy, and can run a mild fever. In a study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, researchers noted that most babies exhibited the following symptoms while they were teething: irritability, drooling, a desire to suck, curiosity in biting, sleeplessness, gum rubbing, grabbing at their ears, mild fever, rash, and decreased appetite. Not all babies experience these symptoms however, it is nice to know what you may be up against.

Helping A Teether

It’s in our nature to want to help our children get through teething pain free. Depending on your child’s symptoms there are many things you can do to sooth your baby during this time. To help with pain and a fever age/weight appropriate doses of infant pain medications can be helpful. Discuss usage of infant pain medications with your dentist or doctor before administering to ensure safety. Teething toys also provide a child with something safe and soothing to chew on while they test out their new teeth. There are many teething toys designed to be put in the freezer or refrigerator that help ease pain in little teething mouths. If a liquid is inside of these toys it is very important to keep tabs on these toys so they do not become damaged and leak. As your child grows new teeth feel free to test out new foods. Frozen pancakes or waffles are great ways for them to reduce pain, learn to chew, and enjoy new foods all at the same time.

Are Baby Teeth Supposed To Be So Sharp?

One of the most surprising things parents quickly learn about baby teeth is how sharp they are. We can assure you that this is normal, and helps them learn how to bite and chew. They normally dull over time and pose no threat to your child. If you are concerned about the sharpness of these teeth however, don’t hesitate to bring your baby in for an evaluation.

At our Palm Harbor, Florida pediatric dental practice our goal is to help your child learn to love and take care of their teeth. If you need help during the teething stage, never hesitate to enlist the help of Dr. Maggie Davis. We would love to answer your questions and to meet your little one to provide them comfort in their new dental home.

Why Baby Teeth Matter

April 11, 2016

A child’s primary teeth, sometimes called baby teeth, are as important as the permanent adult teeth. A baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth and typically begin to appear when a baby is between 6 months and 1 year.

When teeth first come in, some babies may have sore or tender gums. Gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad can be soothing to them. You can also give the baby a clean teething ring to chew on. If your child is still cranky and in pain, consult your dentist or physicians. Most children have a full set of twenty primary teeth by the time they are three.

So you might be wondering at this point why baby teeth matter. They fall out anyway and are replaced by permanent teeth, right? Not only do primary teeth help children chew and speak, they also hold space in the jaws for the permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.

The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months after the first tooth comes in and no later than the first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is a “well baby checkup” for the teeth. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can show you how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumb sucking.