Delayed Teething in Babies: Reasons and Complications

Late Teething in Babies – Causes and Complications

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Krutika Sanghavi (Paediatric & Preventive Dentist)
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A baby’s first tooth usually appears when he is around six months old. But every baby is different, so some may begin teething quite late. Teething refers to the process of milk teeth emerging. While teething has a predictable rhythm, it is not unusual for babies to start teething later than expected. In most cases, the precise cause is unknown. Nonetheless, most late teething instances are harmless and do not require treatment. Your child’s paediatric dentist can assist you in excluding any additional issues that could need care. However, if your child has reached fifteen months of age and shows no signs of teething, it can be a cause for concern.

Video: Late Teething in Babies – Know the Causes and Complications

Also Read: 9 Signs & Symptoms of Teething in Babies

What Is Delayed Teething?

When the first few teeth, also known as baby teeth, milk teeth, or deciduous teeth, appear, your baby is said to be teething. This usually starts to take place when your baby is around six months old. It is not uncommon for a baby’s first tooth to appear only after his first birthday. But some children are late bloomers; such kids may have their first tooth erupt only after 15 months of age, which is known as delayed teething.

Teething Chart

Upper teeth Erupt Shed
Central incisor 8-12 months 6-7 years
Lateral incisor 9-13 months 7-8 years
Canine (cuspid) 16-22 months 10-12 years
First molar 13-19 months 9-11 years
Second molar 25-33 months 10-12 years
—————— —————— ——————
Lower teeth Erupt Shed
Second molar 23-31 months 10-12 years
First molar 14-18 months 9-11 years
Canine (cuspid) 17-23 months 9-12 years
Lateral incisor 10-16 months 7-8 years
Central incisor 6-10 months 6-7 years

Also Read: Natural & Safe Teething Remedies for Baby that Work

Reasons for Late Teething in Babies

Reasons for Late Teething in Babies

Some children are just late bloomers which is why teething can be delayed in their cases. Apart from that, here are a few other reasons for late teething in babies:

1. Hereditary Factors

If delayed teething runs in the family, then it should be no surprise that your child also follows suit. Both your side of the family as well as your spouse’s can be responsible for a delay in the appearance of your child’s first tooth. Ask your parents or relatives if you or they faced the same issue, and if yes, then this could be one of the reasons why your child hasn’t begun to teethe yet.

Also Read: 7 Useful Tips on How to Get A Teething Baby to Sleep

2. Poor Nutrition

If your baby is not getting enough breast milk, or if the formula he consumes is not nutritious enough to meet all his needs, then it will lead to delayed teething. Breast milk contains calcium, and your baby needs this for the growth and development of his teeth and bones. Baby formula usually contains nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamins A, C, and D, that help with the growth and repair of bones and tissues, immunity, and overall development of your child. Calcium is especially important for strong and healthy teeth. But if the baby formula you use does not have all of these nutrients or if your baby is not consuming enough of it, then it could lead to delayed teeth eruption.

Also Read: Baby Teething Fever – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

3. Hypothyroidism and Hypopituitarism

Hypothyroidism is a condition wherein the thyroid glands don’t produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormones for the body to function normally. Hypothyroidism usually affects heart rate, metabolism, and body temperature. If your baby has an underactive thyroid, then it is most likely that he will face a delay in hitting several milestones like walking, teething, and even talking.

Hypopituitarism refers to the decreased secretion of one or more of the eight hormones which are produced by the pituitary gland. It can also lead to several diseases and conditions associated with hormone deficiencies, such as obesity, high cholesterol and so on.

Also Read: 10 Baby Teething Myths & Facts Parents Should Know

4. Fibrosis

Fibrosis is a disorder marked by thick gums that slow down or stop the eruption of the teeth. For some infants, this might delay the eruption of their first teeth.

5. Hormonal Disorders

The development of face structures, particularly the eruption of teeth, may be greatly impacted by issues with the pituitary gland’s hormone, growth hormone, and secretion. Delay in tooth emergence is one of the issues that can result from hypopituitarism, which can cause the pituitary gland to secrete inadequate quantities of growth hormone.

6. Systemic Conditions and Medication Use

Systemic illnesses like sickle cell anaemia could cause a delay. Teething can be delayed by various systemic conditions, including sickle cell anaemia and iron deficiency anaemia. The eruption of teeth may also be hampered by several long-term treatments.

7. Injuries

Any jaw injury could disrupt the tooth buds, postponing the teething process. Fibrosis, which also delays teething, can also result from injuries.

8. Genetic Conditions

Delays in teething may result from genetic abnormalities that damage the baby’s teeth and gums, such as amelogenesis imperfect and dentinogenesis imperfect. Due to genetic factors, premature babies may also be at risk for experiencing delayed tooth emergence.

9. Other Reasons

Delayed teething can also be a part of certain medical conditions or disorders, such as Down’s Syndrome.

Complications of Delayed Teething

  • A major complication of delayed teething is that the child’s permanent teeth might develop in a crooked way if his teeth develop late as a baby.
  • Baby teeth are also required for your baby to be able to chew his food properly. The inability to chew solid foods is another complication of delayed teething.
  • Sometimes, the permanent set of teeth appears along with the delayed baby teeth, leading to the baby having two rows of teeth.
  • Cysts can form around teeth that are impacted or entrenched more frequently. It could be excruciatingly painful and necessitate surgery.
  • Primary teeth serve as stand-ins for permanent teeth. Any problem with baby teeth could affect permanent teeth as well. Primary teeth that erupt too soon may hinder the eruption of permanent teeth, changing their alignment or impacting them.

Also Read: Is Vomiting Normal While Teething in Babies?

Should You Be Concerned If Your Baby Starts Late Teething?

Some infants may start teething as early as four months, while others may wait until ten months. Usually, there is no reason to be alarmed if your baby’s teething is delayed.

When to Consult a Doctor?

Firstly, check with your parents and relatives to make sure that delayed teething does not run in the family. If it doesn’t, and if your baby is more than 15 months old, then you should consult a doctor. Check for other signs like weight gain (when your baby isn’t eating), delayed overall development, abnormal metabolism, and lethargy. A lot of people consider late teething a sign of intelligence, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Sometimes, children with a high IQ are early bloomers, while at other times, they’re late bloomers.


1. How Can You Make Your Baby’s Teeth Come Faster?

Infants’ tooth eruption patterns can be naturally rapid or slow. There is no proven strategy to hasten a baby’s tooth growth. Speak to a paediatric dentist if your baby’s teeth are developing slowly.

2. How Many Teeth Should a 1-Year-Old Child Have?

Most infants may have at least one tooth by turning one. But some people might not have any either.

3. Does a Pacifier Cause Late Teething?

Using a pacifier is mostly harmless for kids and doesn’t cause teething to take longer. However, using filthy pacifiers or using them improperly or excessively can result in infections and wounds that later result in tooth decay, misaligned teeth, and other oral or dental issues for the infant.

Your baby’s teeth coming in late can cause you to worry. Observe your child, and look for abnormal signs like hoarse crying, constipation, or an abnormal heart rate. Go through your family history and keep a note of relatives who started teething late. If your response to all of this is affirmative, your child is probably showing signs of delayed teething. Consult your doctor if this is the case.

Also Read: Baby Teething Remedies

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