Teething is the process by which an infant's first teeth (the deciduous teeth, often called "baby teeth" or "milk teeth") sequentially appear by emerging through the gums, typically arriving in pairs. Teething usually begins between six and eight months. It can take several years for all 20 teeth to complete the tooth eruption. Though the process of teething is sometimes referred to as "cutting teeth", when teeth emerge through the gums they do not cut through the flesh. Instead, hormones are released within the body that cause some cells in the gums to die and separate, allowing the teeth to come through.
Teething may cause a slightly elevated temperature, but not rising into the fever range, 100–101 °F (37.8–38.3 °C). Higher temperatures during teething are due to some form of infection, such as a herpes virus, initial infection of which is extremely widespread among children of teething age.
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When your baby's first tooth shows up, you might be taken by surprise ("Ow! Was that just a bite?"), or you might just finally understand what all those teething signs - drooling, night waking, crabbiness - were about. Every baby experiences teething differently: Some have virtually no symptoms, while others experience teething pain for months.
Teething can be a long drawn-out process for your baby (and you). In fact, the move from that gummy grin to a mouthful of gleaming teeth can take your baby his first three years to complete.