Baby teething is a major baby development milestone. The timetable of teething is different for each baby, although the vast majority will begin the teething process around the same age and the appearance of teeth will usually follow a certain order.
The appearance of milk teeth is the precursor to weaning; a physical manifestation of a child's burgeoning independence. Most children sail through the whole process but for some it can be a distressing and painful time. Many parents can feel helpless and somewhat taken by surprise when their baby begins to cut its first teeth. Understanding the physical changes and anticipating when, and how, is the key to helping your baby.
Stage 1. Teething discomfort can start well before teeth even come through – your baby is born with a set of 20 teeth hidden beneath the gums. Just before they erupt you should be able to feel the indentations of the teeth by running your finger along your baby's gums.
Stage 2. Usually, when your baby is between seven to twelve months old, the first four front teeth erupt through the gums. These teeth are called the incisors. It is usually the upper two teeth that emerge first. Although they look cute, and make every parents heart flutter when seen for the first time, they can hurt as they come through.
Stage 3. The appearance of the first molars usually takes place when the child is between thirteen and nineteen months old. The first molars sit just behind the canine teeth.
Stage 4. Somewhere between sixteen to twenty-two months of age, the canine teeth emerge – however, the first molar teeth can appear before the canines.
Stage 5. The second molars are just about always the last to emerge. This occurs around twenty-five to thirty-three months of age. These are the largest of the teeth; some children find the emergence of these to be the most painful.
During each stage of teething your baby will want different aids in soothing its discomfort. Cooling hot gums during stage one is a great relief, whereas finding the best object to chomp down on is preferred for the remaining stages. To ease hot gums you can purchase teething gels or simply give your child a pacifier or ring that has been cooled in the fridge. If you want to give your child a nursing ring to ease discomfort, you may need to purchase different types for each stage of teething. You can easily find these in most baby retail stores. Read the back of the packaging to tell if the ring is suitable for your child's teething needs – during early teething you'll want a teething ring that your child can chew its front teeth on, but during the final stages of teething, you'll want to purchase one that is most suitable for the back teeth.
Finally, your child will be in possession of all its teeth and you can then rest easy. Or can you? Just when your child has got all its milk teeth (deciduous teeth) it will start losing them again, to be replaced by adult teeth. The first teeth to fall out are usually the front four teeth; this starts around the child's sixth to eight birthday. The rest of the other teeth fall out in pretty much the same order as the appeared; front teeth first, second molars last.