When will my Baby’s Teeth Erupt, and how should I take care of these primary teeth?

Parents wondering how many teeth their children should have is a common question received at Pediatric Dental Center. We are going to fill-in those missing gaps, and answer your “toothy” questions.

Newborns are not born with pearly white smiles. When they start to smile, they have a very gummy grin. The crowns of the 20 primary teeth are almost completely formed, and are hidden from view below the gumline in the infant’s jawbone. It is important to wipe the baby’s gums with a wet washcloth or clean gauze pad after each feeding.

During the first 2½ years of life, the primary teeth gradually start to erupt. The upper and lower front teeth called the central incisors erupt first, and this begins as early as six months after birth. By the time children are three years old, most have a full set of primary teeth. A full set of primary teeth includes 20 teeth in all – 10 upper teeth and 10 lower teeth.

How can I ease the soreness caused by teething?

Once the teething process begins, the child may have sore or tender gums. Rubbing his or her gums with a cool clean wet washcloth may help ease the soreness. A sterile chilled teething ring may also help relieve the tenderness of the gums. If these tips do not work and your child is still uncomfortable while teething, consult your pediatrician.

It’s recommended to avoid gels or creams with benzocaine to sore gums in children younger than two years old. Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that has caused serious reactions in a small number of children. For more information, visit the Food and Drug Admnistration website at www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm306062.htm