Teething is a typical part of infancy. While the timing of teething can vary, discomfort and pain can cause irritability, and parents or caregivers may be unsure how to soothe their children.

Understanding how to recognize the symptoms of teething and distinguish them from other ailments can be helpful.

This article discusses the timing of tooth eruption and shedding, teething symptoms, and teething remedies.

Illustration showing the timeline of baby teethShare on Pinterest
Illustration by Diego Sabogal

A child usually has 20 baby teeth, which start to come through at about 6 months of age. They fall out, or shed, at various times throughout childhood. By age 21, all 32 permanent teeth have usually appeared.

Below is a breakdown of when each type of tooth erupts in infancy and the use of the teeth.

Type of toothTypical age tooth eruptsUse of tooth
upper central incisor8–12 monthssharp incisors that help to bite into food and cut into pieces
upper lateral incisor 9–13 monthsas above
upper canine (cuspid)16–22 monthssharp teeth to help tear food
first upper molar13–19 monthslarge, flat molars to help chew and grind food
second upper molar25–33 monthsas above
lower central incisor6–10 monthssharp incisors that help bite into food and cut into pieces
lower lateral incisor10–16 monthsas above
lower canine (cuspid)17–23 monthssharp teeth to help tear food
first lower molar14–18 monthslarge, flat molars to help chew and grind food
second lower molar 23–31 months as above

For most children, teething begins at 4–7 months.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), potential symptoms of teething may include:

  • low-level fever
  • drooling
  • an urge to chew
  • irritability

A 2016 review also identifies gum irritation as a sign of tooth eruption.

One 2020 study involving 200 parents found they all held misconceptions about the teething process, misattributing unrelated symptoms to teething such as fever, diarrhea, and sleep issues.

People should consider talking with a doctor or pediatrician about whether an infant is teething as expected.

According to one 2019 study, commonly recommended teething pain remedies include pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and rubber teething rings.

The FDA advises against using certain teething products due to potential harm. Instead, parents and caregivers should manually rub a child’s gums with a clean finger and teething rings made of firm rubber.

Teething remedies that may pose a risk to children include teething jewelry with small parts or those made of materials other than rubber or hard plastic. Teeth creams and gels, such as Orajel, are also not safe for infants.

Learn more about remedies for teething pain.

Baby teeth usually begin to fall out — shed — around 6 years.

Most children have almost all of their adult teeth by age 13. Wisdom teeth may appear during a person’s adolescence, young adulthood, or not at all. A child’s teeth fall out at different ages according to the following breakdown.

Type of toothTypical age tooth sheds
upper central incisor6–7 years
upper lateral incisor 7–8 years
upper canine (cuspid)10–12 years
first upper molar9–11 years
second upper molar10–12 years
lower central incisor6–7 years
lower lateral incisor7–8 years
lower canine (cuspid)9–12 years
first lower molar9–11 years
second lower molar10–12 years

While most children have most of their adult teeth in place by age 13, the wisdom teeth can take some time to erupt. Sometimes, teeth can become impacted and stuck under the gums. This is especially common with wisdom teeth.

A parent or caregiver should take a child for regular dental checkups to ensure there are no issues with teeth growth or shedding.

Adequate oral hygiene is also essential — even for children who may still be shedding their baby teeth. The American Dental Association recommends:

  • brushing infant teeth as soon as they erupt with a tiny, rice-grain amount of fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay
  • brushing teeth twice a day
  • using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for those aged 3–6 years
  • cleaning between teeth with floss when multiple teeth that can touch each other grow in

Infants should have their first dental visit after their tooth erupts and no later than their first birthday.

Baby teeth typically start to grow during infancy at around 4–7 months. However, the exact timing may vary depending on the child.

Common symptoms include irritability, gum irritation, the urge to gnaw on hard objects, and drooling.

Safe and effective teething remedies include providing a child with hard rubber teething rings or manually rubbing a child’s gums to soothe irritation.

People should consider talking with a doctor or pediatrician about whether an infant is teething as expected.