Looking for clues
If you suspect your child is teething, one way to check is to carefully examine his or her gums. Infants have a horizontal line across their top and bottom gums. When those lines disappear, it could be a sign that the gums are swelling to accommodate new teeth. If your baby still has the line across the gums, teeth are probably not about to pop.
The arrival of new teeth is a development that varies really widely across children (the first tooth can arrive , but it does not need to impact other development at all. Babies with teeth can continue to breastfeed, and babies still waiting for their first chompers can enjoy almost all foods with their gums only.
It seems like almost any unpleasant symptom can be blamed on new teeth -- for more on this, see this article. The research-based evidence is that symptoms occur only in the few days immediately before and after a tooth breaks through the gums and are relatively minor.
Symptoms can include increased sucking/biting on toys and hands, disturbed sleep, excess drool, loss of appetite, or occasionally a low-grade fever. It is always difficult to see your child uncomfortable, but remember this is a normal process and it won't last forever.
During the day, you can comfort your teething baby with distraction and teething objects. Try freezing a cold washcloth for her to chew on. Some mesh teething bags (like this one) let babies gnaw safely on cold or frozen fruit or even ice cubes.
At night, it can be more difficult to soothe your baby. The discomfort is not necessarily worse at this time, but perhaps more noticeable to you and the baby since it is a time for sleep, not distraction. You may consider using over-the-counter pain relievers, but please consult your pediatrician before beginning any new medication.
Caring for new teeth
It is never too soon to start good oral hygiene. At the earliest stages, tooth brushing is less about cleaning and more about the daily routine. You don't need to introduce toothpaste; a wet, soft child-sized brush will be fine. Let your baby play with her toothbrush, perhaps while watching you brush your teeth.
Most children do not need to visit a dentist until they are about three years old, but your dentist or pediatrician may recommend something specific, so check in with them when you're able to.o edit.