A child's first tooth usually erupts by 6 months of age, and a complete set of 20 deciduous teeth usually develops by 2½ years of age.
Before a tooth erupts, the child may cry, be fussy, and sleep and eat poorly. During tooth eruption Tooth Eruption Times Teething is the process of tooth eruption through the gums. A child's first tooth usually erupts by 6 months of age, and a complete set of 20 deciduous teeth usually develops by 2½ years of... read more , the child may drool, have red and tender gums, and chew constantly on objects such as toys and crib rails. Teething does not cause fever Fever in Infants and Children Normal body temperature varies from person to person and throughout the day. Normal body temperature is highest in children who are preschool aged. Several studies have documented that peak... read more .
Tooth Eruption Times
Age at Eruption*
Deciduous (20 total)
Lower central incisors
Upper central incisors
Upper lateral incisors
Lower lateral incisors
Permanent (32 total)
* Varies greatly.
† Molars are numbered from the front to the back of the mouth (see figure Identifying the teeth Identifying the teeth Malocclusion is abnormal contact between the maxillary and mandibular teeth. (See also Evaluation of the Dental Patient.) This photo shows misalignment between upper and lower teeth as the jaw... read more ).
Children who have fever and who are especially fussy should be evaluated for a viral or bacterial infection, because these symptoms are not caused by teething.
Teething infants get some relief from chewing on hard (eg, teething biscuits) or cold objects (eg, firm rubber or gel-containing teething rings). Massaging the child's gums with or without ice also may help. Children may be treated with weight-based doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Teething gels are not recommended because they are not any more effective than other measures, and some contain benzocaine. Benzocaine can rarely cause methemoglobinemia.