How Long Before You See Teeth Once Teething Symptoms Start?

Teething baby
Young baby with finger in his mouth. (Image: Eric Jean-Louis/iStock/Getty Images)

The appearance of a baby's first tooth is an important milestone for both children and parents. Teething may be accompanied by a variety of symptoms that leave your baby feeling miserable. Once you first notice these teething symptoms, you may wonder how long it will be before a tooth breaks through. While there is no definite answer to how long teething will last, understanding the process can help you ease teething discomfort.

Teething

The time when teething begins varies widely. Most babies are 4 to 7 months old when the first tooth appears, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Some little ones may have to wait until they reach 15 months of age. Watch your baby's lower gum when you suspect he is teething. His first tooth will most likely be one of the bottom front teeth.

Teething Symptoms

A variety of unpleasant symptoms are attributed to teething. A baby who is teething may start drooling more, resulting in a rash or irritated skin on her chin. She may become irritable, clingy and want to bite or chew on things more than usual. She may pull on her ears, act like her mouth hurts or wake up more often in the night. Her cheeks may flush pink, and she may develop diarrhea or a slight fever. The most reliable signs that she is teething are red, swollen gums, a spot of blood where a tooth is trying to break through and the outline of the erupting tooth in her gum.

Questionable Teething Symptoms

Teething symptoms can confuse parents because most may be caused by an ailment other than teething. Around 3 months of age, babies naturally begin drooling and chewing on things. At this age, they begin producing more saliva and gain the muscle control to easily get their hands and objects into their mouth. If your baby pulls on her ears, has diarrhea or runs a fever -- especially if it is higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit -- call your child's physician to rule out possible illness. Teething does not typically lead to a temperature higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, states the AAP.

Appearance of First Tooth

Symptoms that indicate a tooth is emerging usually last no more than three days, according to registered nurse Rowena Bennett. Baby teeth form before birth and spend months gradually moving to the surface of the gums. Most of this process is painless. Discomfort from teething only happens -- if it happens at all -- at the time when the tooth is ready to break through the gum. When possible teething symptoms last more than a few days, assume that they may be caused by something other than teething and have your baby's pediatrician check out any worrisome symptoms.

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