Baby’s first teeth begin to form in the 16th week of pregnancy and are almost completely developed in the gums at birth. The age a baby’s first tooth appears can vary a lot. Some babies begin to teethe as early as 4 months, others as late as 12 months, with the average being 6-7 months. The age at which teeth erupt has no relevance on intellect or anything else for that matter. Teething isn’t a developmental milestone! Early or late teething can sometimes be hereditary.
There are twenty primary teeth (also known as deciduous or baby teeth). The central bottom teeth usually erupt first followed by the top central incisors. These are usually followed by the remaining incisors, molars and then canines. It is not unusual for some baby’s teeth to erupt out of sequence. If this occurs it is of no concern.
The primary teeth are replaced by 32 permanent teeth, including 4 wisdom teeth. The age at which teeth are shed and replaced is just as variable as the age of eruption.
Signs of teething
Some signs of teething may include:
- Excessive dribbling
- Rosy cheeks
- Red, bruised, swollen or sore gums
- Interrupted sleep pattern
- Irritability or unsettledness
- Pulling or tugging at the ears (due to referred pain)
- Temporary loss of appetite
- Temporary loose stools (especially with eye teeth or canines)
- Some infants may experience a clear runny nose when teething
Teething shouldn’t cause any serious or long term upset. If your child has a high temperature (above 38º), prolonged unsettledness, an extended loss of appetite or severe diarrhoea, see your doctor straight away.