I love to shop and I am partial to shoes, perhaps because they come in pairs!? A bit like our children's teeth! Most come in pairs however some dont. I'ts a unique process for every baby. On average i'ts around six months that they start to appear, so let's take things in order of how they happen!
The first to break through tend to be the bottom pair central, usually just a few months before the top central pair. These are called 'Incisors'. These teeth are knife like and assist in cutting through food! Perfect timing for weaning! But there are another four Incisors still to come and usually one arrives at each side of the bottom two central teeth, followed by one either side of the top two central teeth.
Next up are the 'Pre-Molars' usually they show up for the party around 12- 18 months, they have eight of these bad boys to break through (two of these are what is commonly refered to as canines or fangs! The Pre-Molars job is grinding food. The pre molars are quirky and although still come in pairs they skip a space. So miss the fang and then two teeth on each side at the bottom and the same at the top. After that the other 'pre-molars' or the fang type canines fill in the gaps top and bottom.
Finally the biggest of the bad boys come! The Second Molars, these are slow and don't start making an appearance until around 20-24 months. These lads also help crush and grind food. Now, let's take a guess, how do you think they arrive... yup, in pairs again! Two in the bottom one on either side and two in the top one on either side. So by the time your baby has grown up and is a two year old, they will have a wonderful set of 20 teeth (8 Incisors, 8 Pre-Molars and 4 Second Molars). If you want to see this visually click here
So what causes all the pain?
It's mainly from all the pressure exerted on the gum tissue in the mouth, otherwise known as the 'Periodontal Membrane'. This membrane contains blood vessels and sensory nerve endings which stimulate pain and touch. Understandably this pressure and pushing can cause swelling of the gums. For more about symptoms look at The Tooth of it all. This is why a baby's first instinct when teething is to chomp and bite down on everything. This helps relieve the pressure and can assist the teeth in breaking through. Gumigems® are great for this, as are many other teething aids.
While this process happens, the gums start to produce excess saliva, this is supposed to help them by lubricating the tender gums. Drooling brings with it another set of issues! Soggy tops and rashes on the chin and the neck. The best thing is to try and keep the skin as dry as possible and tops dry by using a bib!