Expert Advice for Parents, from the First Tooth to Adult Molars

Expert Advice for Parents, from the First Tooth to Adult Molars

Before your baby’s first tooth to their last, going to the dentist should be a priority in every child’s — and parent’s — life. Here are some tidbits about the teething experience and where to go as your kids grow into their adult molars.

Let the Drool Begin
Dr. Jeffrey Berlin, a pediatric dentist at Celeste Myers Dental Clinic, Akron Children’s Hospital’s newly opened full-service pediatric dental clinic, says the teething process typically begins around age 6 months.

Teething symptoms can include drooling fussiness, irritability, sleep or eating issues.

Berlin says some methods to help soothe baby include massaging the gums (with clean hands), cold teething rings or washcloths.

While several national brands of teething gels offer relief for teething pain, Berlin suggests parents avoid these gels.

There are a number of reasons, he explains, mainly  because the gels contain local anesthetics such as benzocaine, which can cause numbing in the throat if swallowed or could lead to an accidental overdose.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended consumers stop use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels. They are analyzing adverse events reported to the agency, including seizures in infants and children who were given these products.

While fever often is reported with teething, Berlin says it could be attributed to other causes in the immune system, such as a reaction to an introduction of new foods or catching a virus.

He suggests parents speak to their child’s pediatrician about pain medicine before administering to infants and children.

Once your child’s baby teeth are in, they usually begin to fall out around age 6, which is also when the first permanent molars grow in. Typically between ages 10-12, the last of the baby teeth are lost and kids are growing in more of their adult teeth, Berlin notes.

Seek Dentists Early
You don’t have to wait to see all your child’s baby teeth before taking them to the dentist.

Berlin says the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child establish a dental home within six months of the first tooth eruption and no later than age 12 months.

Parents also will be able to learn things they can do at home to help their child practice good dental health during this early intervention.

“The concept of (finding a dentist) is stressed by our Academy so it creates an ongoing relationship between providers, parents and the child,” he says, adding the child will feel more comfortable with each dental visit while preventing oral disease for the future.

For more information on Celeste Myers Dental Clinic at Akron Children’s Hospital, visit

About the author

Angela Gartner is the editor at Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine. She previously served as editor for family and general interest magazines in the region. As a journalist, her articles and columns have appeared in newspapers and other publications including The News-Herald, Sun Newspapers as well as the Chicago Tribune. She grew up in Northeast Ohio and is a mom of two boys. The whole family is busy each weekend with sports and finding new happenings around the region. She loves reading books, being a board member at the Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and taking the family dog, a Scottish Terrier named Jagger, on his walks.

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