I could tell it was coming. Forewarned by my son Roy's excessive drooling and nighttime fussiness, I put myself on Tooth Patrol. While cuddling with him each morning, I'd slide my index finger along his gums, as baby-smooth as the rest of him, in anticipation of that first jagged little milestone. One day, a couple of weeks into his seventh month, I finally felt something hard. Right there, on the bottom: a tooth!
The tooth buds actually start forming as early as six weeks in utero. When you eat a well-rounded diet and take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy to help your baby's body grow healthy and strong, you're doing the same for his future smile, says Jeannie Beauchamp, D.D.S., a pediatric dentist in Clarksville, Tennessee. After a baby is born, his tooth buds are busy developing into teeth, which gradually emerge through the jaw and eventually to the gum's surface.
Having teeth changes your little one's interaction with her environment. Suddenly, you've got a biter on your hands—and soon after that, a chewer. This new territory brings lots of questions about tooth development and teething discomfort. With the help of our pediatric dental experts, we've rounded up answers to your biggest tooth concerns.