Do I need to call the doctor?

Teething can usually be handled at home. Contact the doctor if your baby develops a fever, seems particularly uncomfortable, or has other signs or symptoms of illness that could be unrelated to the teething.

How do I care for my baby's new teeth?

Ideally, you've been running a clean, damp washcloth over your baby's gums every day. If not, now's a great time to start. The washcloth can keep bacteria from building up in your baby's mouth. When your baby's first teeth appear, switch to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. Until your child learns to spit — at about age 3 — use a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than the size of a grain of rice.

It's also time to think about regular dental checkups. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend scheduling a child's first dental visit after the first tooth erupts and no later than his or her first birthday. Your baby's teeth and gums will also be examined at well-baby checkups. Remember, regular childhood dental care helps set the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

Apr. 11, 2014 See more In-depth