When to Worry About Late Teething: A Helpful Guide for Parents

Late Teething

Teething is a natural milestone in a baby’s development, but it can sometimes cause discomfort and frustration for both parents and little ones. While most babies begin teething around 6 months old, some experience a delay in this process. This article will explore what late teething is, what causes it, and when it’s best to consult a pediatrician or dentist for guidance.


Table of Contents


Normal Teething Timeline

Teething is a crucial developmental milestone in a child’s life, and while the timeline can vary from child to child, there are general patterns that most children follow. Understanding the typical teething timeline can help parents anticipate when their child might experience teething symptoms and what to expect during each stage.

Birth to 3 Months: Pre-Teething Phase

In the first few months, teeth are developing below the gums. Early signs like increased drooling and chewing on objects indicate teething is approaching.

4 to 7 Months: The First Teeth Emerge

The lower central incisors are usually the first to appear, followed by the upper central incisors. Symptoms include gum discomfort, fussiness, and drooling.

8 to 12 Months: More Teeth Come In

The upper and lower lateral incisors emerge, typically giving the baby about six to eight teeth by their first birthday.

13 to 19 Months: Molars Arrive

First molars start to emerge, often causing increased discomfort due to their size and location.

16 to 23 Months: Canines Erupt

Canines, the pointed teeth between incisors and molars, come in, often causing significant discomfort.

23 to 33 Months: Second Molars Emerge

Second molars appear, completing the set of 20 primary teeth by around age three.


What is Late Teething?

Late teething is a term used to describe the delayed eruption of a child’s first tooth beyond the typical age range. While the average age for a baby to get their first tooth is around six months, it’s generally considered within the normal range if the first tooth appears anytime between three to twelve months. However, when a child’s first tooth hasn’t emerged by their first birthday, this situation is often referred to as late teething.


According to a journal, late teething or delayed teething does not represent anything special.  The mechanics of teething still cannot be considered sufficiently clarified, and confidence to approach the existing theories on this issue, which are, in their essence, still hypothetical.


Causes of Late Teething

Several factors can influence the timing of teething, ranging from genetics to a child’s environment. Understanding these causes can help parents and healthcare providers address potential issues and ensure healthy dental development.

Genetic Factors

One of the biggest influences on teething timelines is family history. If parents or siblings experienced late teething, the child may follow a similar pattern. Genes play a significant role in determining the pace of physical development, including when teeth emerge.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Proper nutrition is essential for the development of teeth. Deficiencies in key nutrients can delay tooth eruption. Important nutrients include:

  • Calcium: Builds strong bones and teeth. A lack of calcium can hinder tooth development.
  • Vitamin D: Helps the body absorb calcium effectively. Without enough vitamin D, even with adequate calcium intake, teeth may not form properly.
  • Phosphorus: Works with calcium to strengthen teeth and bones.
  • Vitamin A: Plays a role in forming and maintaining healthy teeth and mouth tissues.

Ensuring a balanced diet that includes these nutrients is critical for timely teething.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can impact teething timelines:

  • Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland can slow down development, including teething. Symptoms in infants may include jaundice, a large tongue, and poor muscle tone.
  • Growth Hormone Deficiency: This condition affects overall growth, which can include delayed dental development.
  • Ectodermal Dysplasia: A group of disorders affecting the development of teeth, hair, nails, and sweat glands. Children with this condition may have missing or delayed teeth.
  • Down Syndrome: Children with Down syndrome may experience delayed tooth eruption as part of broader developmental delays.

Environmental Factors

The environment in which a child grows up can also play a role in their teething timeline:

  • Exposure to Toxins: Exposure to certain environmental toxins, like lead, can negatively impact overall health and development, including teething.
  • Living Conditions: Poor living conditions, such as inadequate housing or lack of access to healthcare, can contribute to delays in physical development.
  • Frequent Illnesses: Frequent or severe illnesses can affect a child’s growth and development, including tooth eruption.


When to Consult a Pediatrician or Dentist

If your child hasn’t started teething by 12 months, it’s advisable to schedule a consultation with a pediatrician or pediatric dentist. Here are some specific situations that may require professional evaluation:

No Teeth by 18 Months

If a child has no teeth by 18 months, it’s a significant delay that warrants a thorough examination. This delay could be a sign of underlying health issues that need to be addressed.

Signs of Other Developmental Delays

Late teething accompanied by other developmental delays, such as late crawling, walking, or speaking, may indicate broader developmental issues. In such cases, a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare provider is essential.

Symptoms of Nutritional Deficiencies

Signs of nutritional deficiencies, such as poor weight gain, pale skin, or lethargy, alongside late teething, should prompt a visit to the doctor. Nutritional deficiencies can affect overall growth and development, including dental health.

Family History of Late Teething

While genetics play a role in teething timelines, if there’s a family history of late teething combined with dental problems or developmental delays, it’s wise to seek medical advice to rule out any hereditary conditions that might affect your child.



While late teething itself may not be a cause for immediate concern, it’s important to understand the potential underlying factors. If your child hasn’t gotten their first tooth by 12 months or you have any concerns about their development, a consultation with a pediatrician or pediatric dentist is recommended. Early intervention can help address any potential issues and ensure your child’s healthy oral development. For expert advice and personalized guidance on your child’s teething journey, consider scheduling an appointment with Eastman Dental Group today.