Teething: Common Concerns


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. Drooling can cause a rash on the chin, face, or chest.

Some babies may seem cranky when teething. This may be from 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 don't seem to 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.

Why are my baby's teeth not coming in as expected?

Some babies' teeth erupt later than average or in an unusual pattern. This is often normal. 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. If your 18-month-old has not had any teeth erupt, talk with your baby's doctor or dentist.

What if my baby loses a baby tooth because of an injury?

Early loss of a primary tooth may change the eruption of a permanent tooth. It may come in early or late. 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.

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 baby's doctor or dentist.


Current as of: October 24, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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