Dentists recommend taking your child to their first dental appointment within six months of getting their first tooth or by 1 year old. Kids can start getting teeth as early as 4 months old, starting with the front teeth. Typically, the front bottom teeth come in first, but each kid is different & it’s nothing to worry about if the teeth arrive in a different order.
Those first teeth can be difficult for both parents & child, but knowing what to expect can make it a little easier.
Teething can be very uncomfortable & even painful. Children typically experience symptoms a few days to a week before & after the teeth break through the gums (also known as “cutting” or “erupting”). That’s up to two weeks of discomfort.
Common symptoms include drooling, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, irritability & slight increase in body temperature. While you may have heard that fever is common with teething, if your child has a temperature above 101, it’s more likely they have something else going on. Always consult your pediatrician if your child has a fever.
It’s tough to watch a child struggle, but thankfully there are many ways to relieve their teething symptoms. Chewing can put soothing pressure on their gums. The safest teethers you can buy are solid rubber or silicone ones. Avoid amber beads, plastic objects & fluid-filled teethers. Or, a fantastic budget-friendly option is a clean, wet or frozen washcloth.
There are also some gel soothing products, which can be effective for some children. However, the FDA recommends parents avoid products containing benzocaine, which is a numbing agent, for children under 2.
Once those teeth break through the gums & your child is feeling more comfortable again, it’s time to find a pediatric dentist. Your child’s first dental visit will be more of an informational meet & greet. It’s important to start building a dental home for your kid. Plus, your child’s dentist will be able to give you advice on brushing your child’s new teeth, which can be a different experience for each kid.