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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Kids

Time for baby teeth to erupt



I can feel a couple of front teeth coming through in my 4 1/2 month old`s upper and lower gums. How long does it typically take from first appearance of a tooth until the tooth has fully errupted? He is in quite a lot of pain so it would be good to know when this is likely to subside.


Baby teeth come through fairly quickly and shouldn't bother your baby too much. If it seems to be affecting him, you could have him checked at the pediatrician but the doctor will likely tell you that it is all normal progression for the baby.

Teething rings and natural chewing will help the teeth come through the gums. When the teeth come through, it is a great time to lightly start brushing the tooth with a baby toothbrush wetted with water.

Additional Information from Susan Bauchmoyer:

Each child is different and there are possible variables so it is hard to predict how long before the tooth is fully erupted.  But the good news is that we do know that if the area is kept clean, the pain associated with erupting teeth is minimal.

Teething pain is typically associated with inflammation of the gum tissue around the erupting tooth.  Dental plaque contains a great deal of bacteria (even for a 4 year old) and if this bacteria is not brushed away with regular toothbrushing, it causes inflamed, red, swollen possibly bleeding gums.  The eruption itself is not typically painful; it is the health of the surrounding gum tissue.

I would suggest you see a pediatric dentist if you have further questions.  He/she can rule out other problems and can determine if there are factors related to your child's tooth position that may delay eruption.

Best wishes for 2009.

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Response by:

Wendy  J Moore, RDH, EFDA, BS, MS Wendy J Moore, RDH, EFDA, BS, MS
Clinical Associate Professor of Dental Hygiene
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University

Susan   Bauchmoyer, RDH, EFDA,  MS Susan Bauchmoyer, RDH, EFDA, MS
Associate Professor – Clinical, Clinic Director
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University