Because you don’t speak drool, here’s a guide to teething symptoms.
Yes, the teething period can be a challenge. Yes, there’ll be moments where you wonder if anyone has ever survived this. And yes, this too shall all pass.
(There are certain cases where teething comes and goes without any drama whatsoever. If this is your life, um, silence is a virtue, okay?)
When it comes to teething symptoms, the more you know about what to expect, the easier the journey is going to be.
So when do babies start teething and what are the symptoms? Let’s take a look.
In this article: 📝
- Life with your teething baby
- Symptoms of teething
- Things that are not symptoms of baby teething
- How long do teething symptoms last?
Life with your teething baby
Cutting teeth is a painstaking process. Sharp objects launching through tender little gums? Wowzer. Definite recipe for pain.
But sometimes it’s not so easy to tell if your baby is teething or if they’re being fussy for some other reason. They can’t exactly tell you, “Hey mom, my gums hurt!”
Basically, you have to do a lot of detective work, and we’re going to help you do it. (Having a group of moms around while you go through this can be a game-changer. Peanut can help you out with that.)
Symptoms of teething
So do babies get sick when teething? They can, yes—but it’s all quite confusing. Some teething symptoms might look like cold symptoms, and vice versa.
These are some of the more common teething symptoms (and some things that might help):
Drooling: Everywhere, all the time, a lot. More drooling means more bacteria on the skin from the saliva. This can cause a rash on their cheeks, mouth, and even as far down as their necks. So, as much as possible, keep things dry. If a serious rash develops, chat with your healthcare provider about what creams can be of use.
Biting: They might want to put absolutely anything and everything into their mouths and have a good chew. This is where teething toys come in really handy. They are generally made from silicone, rubber, or wood and come in all shapes and sizes.
Fussing: Look, we all get fussy when we have dental pain, so fair enough. If they’re in a lot of pain, chat with your doctor about medication to give them. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen might be in order, but best to check in first. Also, know what another amazing antidote to fussiness is? Cuddles. Now that’s a prescription we can all get behind.
Rubbing: That gum pain may cause your little one to rub their cheeks. This may be more pronounced when it comes to molar eruptions. (Yup, that stage of the game can be a doozy.) A nice little gum massage with clean fingers can go a long way.
Coughing: All that saliva sometimes goes the wrong way and wants to come up again. So this is a tricky one: when is it a teething cough, and when is it a cough that means something else? The reality is, it’s pretty hard to tell. If you’re worried, give your doctor a shout.
Pulling: If you’ve noticed your baby pulling their ears, this could be because of the discomfort their teething is causing them. It can also be an ear infection, so best to call your doctor and rule that out.
If you’re worried about any symptoms that feel concerning to you, trust your instincts. Chat with your healthcare provider. If nothing else, peace of mind goes a long way.
They’re also not too keen on teething necklaces and bracelets. The hazards far outweigh the benefits. Choking, strangulation, mouth injury, and infection—yeah, just not worth the risk.
Things that are not symptoms of baby teething
If your baby has these symptoms, definitely call your doctor. These are not common teething symptoms:
- High fever. If your baby is younger than three months, any sort of fever is worth raising the alarm bells. If they are older than three months, a fever over 102℉ (38.9℃) is cause for concern. Any fever that doesn’t come down after a day or two should also be checked out by a doctor.
- Serious stomach trouble. If your baby has diarrhea or is vomiting, give your doctor a shout.
➡️ Learn more about teething fever.
How long do teething symptoms last?
Per tooth? Only about eight days.
For the entire teething journey to be over? About two and a half to three years.
On average, babies start teething at around six months. By about three years old, they’ll be grinning at you with a mouthful of baby teeth.
The teething period happens a little something like this:
Lateral incisors (on either side of the central incisors) come in somewhere between eight and 16 months.
Primary molars (towards the back) come in somewhere between 13 and 18 months.
Canines (between the molars and the incisors) come in somewhere between 16 and 23 months.
Second molars (at the back) come in somewhere between 23 and 33 months. Be warned: this can be the most trying of all the phases.
Now, because nothing to do with mamahood is straightforward, more than one tooth can come out at once. Of course, this can cause some extra drama for everyone and up the ante on whatever symptoms they’re experiencing.
And finally, here’s your friendly reminder to pop some serious self-care into your schedule if you haven’t done so already. Breathing exercises, journaling, chatting with friends—these are not luxuries. You are absolutely allowed to take the time.
Good luck, mama.
More on baby teething:
When Do Babies Start Teething?
What is a Baby Teeth Chart and How Does it Work?
How Long Does Teething Last?
12 Easy Baby Teething Remedies
Can Teething Cause Vomiting?
How To Soothe A Teething Baby At Night
A Quick Guide to Teething Poop & Diarrhea