5 Stages of Teething

Teething can be a challenging time for both the parents and the child. Familiarizing yourself with the changes that are taking place in your baby’s mouth means you will be better prepared to ease their discomfort during the painful stages of teething. Here are the five stages of teething and tips on how to make each transition less painless.

Stage 1
0 to 6 months

Babies are born with 20 primary teeth—commonly referred to as “milk teeth”—nestled in the jawbones beneath their gums. In some babies, teething discomfort can begin even before the 6-month mark.

Stage 2
6 to 8 months

The lower and upper front teeth (incisors) begin to emerge, and the uneven parts of the tooth may start to push against the gums, creating painful pressure. You may notice that your baby begins to chew on toys or other objects and suck on their finger to alleviate pressure. There also may be an increase in drool.

Here are some tips for this stage:

  1. Massage your baby’s gums with a clean finger or a clean, damp gauze to alleviate pressure and pain
  2. Provide a baby bottle filled with water for your child to suck on. Don’t use milk or juice: Sucking on sugary beverages will promote tooth decay (yes, even in babies!)
  3. Give your baby a teething ring, which has a variety of raised surfaces, from soft to tough, that not only provide a gum massage but speed up the eruption of new teeth. Chilling the teething ring in the fridge is also helpful.
  4. Keep a bib on your baby so you can conveniently wipe away drool. Drool buildup can cause a painful rash to form around the baby’s mouth.

Stage 3
10 to 14 months

At this stage, the primary molars, which are located in the back of the mouth, will begin to erupt. The Stage 2 signs and symptoms will become more pronounced, and there may even be a loss in appetite and presence of fever and diarrhea. Both the parent and the baby might lose some sleep. If the discomfort isn’t eased by the above methods, we may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Stage 4
16 to 22 months

The canine teeth—located between the top and bottom molars and incisors—come in during this stage. Follow the same recommendations.

Stage 5
25 to 33 months

During the stage, your baby’s largest teeth (molars) will begin to emerge. This is often the most painful stage of teething and finding the best solution may be a matter of trial and error. Try giving your baby a hard vegetable to chew on (think carrot stick or peeled apple slice). Not only are these treats healthy but they will help to alleviate pressure on the gums. Be sure to watch your child carefully for signs of choking when providing these types of foods.