Topic Overview

If your baby is
teething, you may have questions that many other
parents ask.

  • Are my baby’s symptoms caused by teething? When teething, many babies drool. Teething happens during the
    same time that babies are putting “everything” into their mouths. (Your baby is
    going through the oral discovery phase of development.) Drooling can cause a
    rash on the chin, face, or chest. Some babies can also seem cranky during
    teething. This is likely because of soreness, swelling, and tenderness around
    the gums of the erupting tooth. Babies may bite on their fingers or toys to
    help relieve the pressure in the gums. They may also refuse to eat and drink
    because of mouth soreness. These symptoms usually begin about 3 to 5 days
    before a tooth erupts, and they disappear as soon as the tooth breaks through
    the gum. Other babies do not show any signs of discomfort from teething. Teething may cause a mild increase in your child’s temperature. But if the temperature is higher
    than 100.4°F (38°C), look for symptoms that may be related to an infection or illness. Severe or ongoing symptoms
    should be closely watched and discussed with your doctor.
  • Why are my baby’s teeth not coming in as expected?
    Some babies’ teeth erupt later than average or in an unusual pattern. Often
    this is a result of a normal developmental variation. Sometimes delays or
    irregular eruption patterns are caused by minor problems, such as another tooth
    in the path of an erupting tooth, not enough space in the jaw, or failure of a
    tooth to break through the gum (impaction). A delay in eruption, absence of
    teeth, or crooked teeth may also be related to a birth defect of the mouth or
    jaw, such as
    cleft palate. In very rare cases, a baby does not
    develop primary teeth at all. If your 18-month-old has not had any teeth erupt,
    talk with your doctor.
  • What if my baby loses a baby tooth because of an injury? Early loss of a primary tooth may delay or
    speed up the eruption of a permanent tooth. If the primary tooth loss occurs
    long before the expected eruption of the permanent tooth, a dentist may need to
    place a spacer in the child’s mouth. If a spacer is not used, teeth on each
    side may tip into the space, causing an impaction.
  • Why does my child have a double row of teeth? A secondary (permanent) tooth coming
    in behind a primary (baby) tooth may result in a double row of teeth. This
    usually is not a problem. But permanent teeth may come in crooked if the child
    has a small upper or lower jaw that doesn’t provide enough room for all the
  • What if my child has a small jaw? Although many
    children with a small upper or lower jaw have enough space for all their
    primary teeth, they may not have enough room in their mouth for all 32
    permanent teeth. This can lead to crooked teeth. Discuss this concern with your
    doctor or dentist.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD – Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas M. Bailey, MD – Family Medicine

Current as ofMay 4, 2017