Although most infants will get their first tooth around 6 months old, there is a large range of what is considered normal. The first teeth to come in are usually the lower front teeth (the lower central incisors), followed by the upper front teeth, second incisors, then molars, and canines. Two year molars follow in the second to third year. Most children will have all of their baby teeth by the time they are 3 years old.
Infants can have discomfort from teething as early as 3 months old due to swelling of the gums around erupting teeth. Common signs of teething include increased drooling, sleep regression, and overall fussiness. To help ease your child’s pain, we recommend massaging his/her gums with a cold, wet washcloth, giving chilled (but not frozen solid!) teething rings, or giving an appropriate dose of Tylenol or ibuprofen (NO ibuprofen before 6 months). We do NOT recommend use of topical gels/creams containing anesthetics (including Orajel and Ambesol) or teething tablets as they are unsafe for infants.
Many parents look to amber teething necklaces for teeth discomfort, but there is no scientific evidence showing they are effective. Also, beware they present risk of strangulation and choking hazards. If you still choose to use these necklaces, please consider using them as anklets or bracelets instead, and removing them before your child goes to sleep or any time he/she is unattended.
Once your child gets a tooth, you should start brushing twice daily. Dentists recommend a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Remember not to let your child fall asleep with a bottle, as it can lead to tooth decay! Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that all children see a pediatric dentist at age 1.
Dr. Maggie Kissel