All babies start teething at different rates, but it's useful to know what signs to look out for when your baby starts teething and the order in which their teeth will appear, so you know how to help her through this huge baby milestone!
When do babies start teething?
Six weeks after conception, the cells that will eventually become your baby’s teeth started to form underneath her jaw. And, as she grew in your womb, these gradually became more solid and structured so, when she was born, she had a full set of teeth buds sitting in her jaw. These continue to grow until they’re right underneath her gum line at the grand old age of around the 3 - 12 months of age mark, which is when teething symptoms normally start.
Signs and symptoms of teething
When a tooth is ready to come through the gum, you’ll be able to see its white tip just underneath your baby’s gum line. Her body releases a chemical that causes her gum to become less dense, so the tooth can push through easily. But the tooth still must break through the top layer of her gum, which can cause some discomfort.
Here’s some early symptoms to watch out for, so you’re ready to ease a tooth’s arrival.
1 flushed cheek
Red and sore looking gum where the tooth is coming through
A mild temperature of 38C
Excess saliva production
Not sleeping well
Refusing to eat
What order do baby teeth come in?
Check out our baby teeth order chart to see when your baby’s teeth will emerge.
Read more: Baby teeth order chart
Lower central incisors - her two front bottom teeth which will emerge at around six months.
Upper central incisors - the upper middle teeth come next. You can usually expect them a month after the bottom two.
Upper and lower lateral incisors - at nine to 12 months your baby can expect four more teeth, one on either side of these central teeth, and these are her lateral incisors.
First molars - these will appear at around 14 months at the top and bottom of your baby’s mouth, leaving a gap between them and her incisors.
Canine teeth - at 18 months these four sharper teeth will emerge in the gaps between the incisors and first molars.
Seconds molars - these will emerge at the back of her mouth at around 26 months.
Remember, the age babies teeth come through varies a lot, but you can expect your little one to have a full set of baby teeth by the time they turn three. If she reaches her first birthday without any teeth emerging, then it’s a good idea to visit your dentist.
Things to soothe teething pains
Some babies might have all these symptoms, while others may sail through without a sign. And some teeth might cause a run of restless nights, while others will pop up one morning without warning. Whichever you find, there are lots of ways that will help your baby when she needs it, from teething rings to gels, and the secret is to experiment and mix and match your methods with each new tooth to find what really works.
To numb your baby’s gums, give her a teether that’s been chilled in the fridge for half an hour. Or if she’s over six months, offer her some cold water in a cup. Depending on her age, feed her chilled fruit purées or pop a chunk of frozen banana or plums in a baby feeder mesh bag for her to gnaw on safely.
When should babies have their milk teeth?
But by the time she’s around two and a half, she’s likely to have her full set of 20 baby teeth. You’ll find that she reacts differently to these teeth types coming through – what soothes an incisor might not work so well on a molar, which is why it’s great to have lots of ways to help your baby. Her front teeth have flatter, thinner edges and tend to slide through her gums so are usually the easiest to cut.
So, although she may grumble with these first teeth, it’s because the discomfort is a new sensation for her. It will take around eight days for the tooth to push through the gum and a few months to continue growing to full size, at a rate of 1mm a month. With some teeth, she might not feel up to feeding, as the suction can make her sore gums feel worse, and if she’s weaning, she might also refuse solid food.
Be persistent as hunger usually wins out, but if she’s reluctant to feed a few days give your doctor or paediatric dentist a call to check everything’s OK. Your baby may also bite to relieve the pressure in her gums, so receiving a nip on your fingers or while you’re breastfeeding can indicate a tooth is well on its way.