As you enjoy life with your new baby, no doubt you look forward to the many “firsts” that soon follow – the first word, the first time rolling over, and the first steps. Some mothers may be mindful of that first tooth, too, especially if breastfeeding is still part of the picture when it happens. It is quite normal, too, for parents to fret when they feel their child’s teeth aren’t coming in “on schedule.” Fact is, there is no way to predict when the baby teeth will arrive, so you will constantly remain vigilant and look for signs of gum irritation and teething pain. Knowing more about how a baby’s teeth are formed, however, can help you better understand the process.
Typically, a baby’s gums are fully developed and prepared for teeth by the third trimester. Any mother who has breastfed can probably attest to the hardness of the gums, which can cause some discomfort during feeding. Teeth are formed, but are not visible in the jaw until they are ready to come out. That said, there are instances where a baby is born with a tooth exposed – also called a natal tooth. Otherwise, one may normally see signs of teething anywhere from six to twelve months.
Now, if your baby has not had one tooth grow in this time, does it mean there is something wrong? Not necessarily. Growth should not be considered competitive, so don’t feel alarmed if a friend’s child or a niece or nephew appears to develop faster than your baby. It doesn’t mean the other baby will turn out better or smarter, just that he or she got a tooth first.
Once you do see those teeth protruding, however, it is important to install good dental habits while they are young. As the teeth are coming in, you may wish to consult with a pediatric dentist on the best method of oral hygiene. There are products on the market suitable for a young child – you will likely be encouraged to use low-fluoride toothpaste because it is better for young teeth.
Bottom line, your baby’s teeth will come in when they are ready to come in. There is no magic elixir that will hurry the process, but there are solutions to help with teething pain relief. As a pediatric dentist for recommendations if you are not sure what to do. Once they come in, though, be ready to put the Tooth Fairy on call!