Why I Think The Canines Are The Worst Teeth To Cut
When we talk about teething (and yes, I do talk about it an awful lot!) we quite often hear how bad certain ones are and people usually go straight to the molars. Yes, I agree that the molars are bad and yep they do seem to rumble for a long time which can cause a lot of upset before they actually rear their ugly heads BUT for me, the canines are the worst teeth to cut and this is why.
Now, I think the positioning of the upper canines could well be the biggest problem. If you look closely you’ll see that not only are these canines located at the front of the mouth, they are also very close to the line of the nose, to the cheek and in a direct line up to the ear. Which is precisely why the pain spreads.
With both of my boys, the first sign of a canine coming is seeing them start to rub their noses very often. This seems to be because as that pain shoots through the gum, it also shoots up the face. Obviously, this is just me observing what my children have done and how they have reacted to these teeth erupting but considering it has happened with both of them, I do wonder if any of you guys have also noticed this sign?
Not only can the pain shoot up the face, I have also seen it travel up to the cheek and then up to ear too which for me, makes the canines the most painful teeth.
Another factor is the shape of these teeth. Prior to the canines, you’ve seen the small square incisors come and usually the pre-molars, which yes are fatter in size but actually tend to come through quite quickly. The canines are cone-shaped and due to this, they take longer to fully push through. They are also long so they have further to travel in order to reach their final position. Just imagine that sharp point then that widening area coming through… god, kinda reminds you of how childbirth goes!
The Time It Takes
As I mentioned above, these seem to take the longest time to fully erupt which means your child is in pain for that little bit longer. For me, it has felt as though it will never end when the canines are coming and those extra days can feel like months!
Not Much Helps
After going through such a tough teething process with Jake, I learnt what worked, what didn’t and eventually found a combination of products that eased his pain with most of his erupting teeth. I followed the same pattern with William and have found it has all worked for him too, however, nothing has fully tackled that pain caused by the canines in either of them. Not Nurofen, not teething granules, not teething gel, not amber. Yes, all of these can help by taking the edge off but I think where the pain travels to different areas, the pain relief just isn’t strong enough to remedy all of it.
William is currently 18 months and his canines are just coming through now. Jake was an earlier teether and probably got his around 11/12 months BUT with both of them their understanding and awareness of what was happening to them was there and I think this can really have an effect when it comes to pain. A baby getting their first teeth isn’t always quite so fussed because their needs usually consist of cuddles and milk and getting off for a nap. An older baby/toddler can communicate with you in their own way, they are aware that their mouth is what hurts and they can project this at you by screaming, crying and demanding. They look to you for help and they can often become far more clingy, more whiney and needier. They want you to take this pain away and when it doesn’t go, they become more upset.
Because your child now has teeth and is weaned, they are very used to eating a variety of foods with a wide range of textures. The top incisors are used for biting and those pre-molars are used for grinding it up. With the canines coming (especially on the top) the food often rubs in this area which can be very sensitive and which will then cause further pain. You may find that your child will steer clear of the likes of biscuits or toast when they are suffering but will welcome cold cucumber, yoghurts and plenty of milk. If you are still breastfeeding you may find that they latch on far more often for the comfort (speaking from experience!!)
I’ve always found that the pain caused by the canines cutting results in even less sleep than normal because laying down applies pressure to their ears and face which can increase that pain and make your child wake or struggle to go off. Classic signs are crying or screaming (wow, William has screamed with these ones) and staring, like really staring into space and their eyes just not closing. It’s like they just can’t relax due to the discomfort and so keep themselves awake with it. I’ve found that co-sleeping has really helped us this week as has giving the medicines that usually work on teething problems at least half an hour before bedtime to give them all time to work.
So there we have it, plenty of reasons why canines are the worst teeth to cut and why I cannot wait for it all to be over.
Have you experienced any of these teething signs before?
If you need some teething tips please check out some of these other posts:
13 Natural Teething Remedies to Help Your Baby
The Perfect Bedtime Routine for Your Teething Baby
What’s in my Teething Essentials Kit?
What Order Do Babies Teeth Come Through?
And for full information on teething, symptoms, remedies etc you can also purchase my book here.
Pin for later:
If you enjoyed this post you can follow more of our life, opinions and antics over on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Plus feel free to come and join in with my parenting group ‘From One Parent to Another’ on Facebook.
If you’d like to contact me you can either leave me a comment or drop me a line via my contact me page.
For other topics similar to this one check out these suggestions below…
31 thoughts on “Why I Think The Canines Are The Worst Teeth To Cut”
Great post and spot on! Very comforting at 1240am with a restless cosleeping toddler
Great observation! This article is giving me relief from wondering what’s going on with my 20 month old. You’ve pretty much described everything I’m going through! Glad to hear her symptoms are nothing out of the ordinary and this too shall pass :).
Oh my Emma! Thank you for this article! My son is 18 months old now – and I feel like people since he was 4 months old kind of say, “He’s teething AGAIN?” LOL I refer to it constantly because it’s been the biggest obstacle of his childhood so far. He is a curious, sensitive and gentle boy that turns into someone completely different when teeth are coming! He is currently cutting top molars AND eye teeth right now and he has been waking at 3am for 5 days straight :/ Like literally waking up for the day at that time. Any specific advice on pain medication that has worked for you? We try Tylenol but it never seems strong enough to do much. (He’s one of those kids that is never too calmed by medicine BTW – perhaps because he is quite tall and large for his age and maybe the dosage is never enough) Thank you so much! x Ashley
Oh it is so hard and we are just going through the molars right now too. Where about are you? I haven’t heard of Tylenol. In the UK we have Calpol (paracetamol) and Nurofen (an Ibuprofen) but I didn’t find they worked too well. Mine have always worn amber anklets and I have given Nelsons Granules (not sure if you’ve heard of those?) They are homeopathic granules that help to calm and soothe. For natural remedies I have this post: https://emmareed.net/13-natural-teething-remedies-to-help-your-baby/ and for other things I used, I have this post https://emmareed.net/whats-in-my-teething-essentials-kit/
I’m so glad I found this page as you have basically described my daughter and whats shes struggling with.
She has the red bulge for her canines. They have poked through but wow its horrible. Very naggy and restless. Eating on and off. I thought the molars were bad but noooooo
Thanks for sharing as this had made me understand more and worry less.
Oh I am so glad it could help. Everybody always talks about the molars but my youngest is just getting his back big ones and they haven’t caused him much trouble at all in comparison to the canines. I hope she settles soon and is happier once they are fully through xx
I found your article today. I agree that canines are the worst. You’ve really described my daughter, down to the drifting off with a glassy eye stare and waking right back up from the pain. It’s a slog, and I definitely can’t wait until we’re through this!
OH MY GOD a YES. My daughter has been staring so much, which is extra scary because she has epilepsy. Anyway, I’ve been driving myself crazy worrying about these darn canines. Also, her other teeth came in on schedule, but these are late. (22 months old!) Its worse when they’re older.
Thank you for this article. My 22 month old has pretty much stopped eating the past few days. He has been abnormally cranky. Lots of tears from him (and myself). Googling to see what in the world could be happening and stumbled across your article. He is cutting both canine teeth but didn’t think much of it. I thought getting all 4 molars at once was misery but this takes the cake. Hoping it passes soon. Thanks again for the insight.
My daughter is getting both her top canines now it’s been soo hard at first I didn’t know what was going on and now I figured out it’s her teeth , started out with loose stools not eating sleeping a lot to not sleep screaming in the night hot sweats chills , hardest teeth we’ve dealt with for sure …. I ask this article and your message tonight it helped reading so thank you
This article is spot-on with my 16 month-old. He has already cut one canine (on the bottom) and the top two appear to be making their way. He is constantly rubbing his face, especially against something else (I.e., couch, blanket, me). Could cutting the canine also increase biting? My son has just started biting only at daycare and not at home. I’m thinking he is irritable, in pain, and just not getting the individual comfort like he does at home. He never tried to bite when teething before. I’m hoping that once these canines come through, the biting will stop.
Hi, I would most definitely say that biting things can be associated with teething it’s just working out if it is that or just a toddler phase sometimes as they do go through that as well. My 2 year old has just cut his large back molars and he was chewing on all sorts of things and biting his clothes for some relief. Teething can cause such irritability too. Things like Nelsons Granules can help to settle them. Good luck with it.
Certainly not all children are weaned at this age. I agree these are the worst teeth and I’m incredibly grateful we are still breastfeeding in line with the World Health Organisations recommendation of continuing feeding till 2 and beyond as this has been the only thing that has helped.
Hi, This article has really helped ease my mind that we are not alone! My little one has had a horrid week with high temps and irritable nights we have just noticed two canine teeth poke through I have felt so helpless that I feel nothing works with trips to the doctors and finding out she has an ear infection too which would make sense her being in SO much pain with the positioning of the canine teeth which I never even thought of.
I am so glad it helped teething really can be awful for some children. Good luck with the last few xx
My baby is having his canines erupt at the moment, and after reading this it makes sense why he keeps rubbing his nose and ears… he is only 10 months old, is his second pair of teeth… kinda overachiever lol
Literally in the same boat right now with my 10 month old , she cut her 2 bottom teeth at the same time 2 weeks ago last week her left canine came through and she was cranky and irratable but not for long . Her right canine is coming through now and oh my gosh it has been ROUGH ! High fevers , crying non stop , will NOT go to sleep or take a nap … she doesnt want anyone but me so i exhausted at 11:55 at night coming to google ehat is wrong with her before i lose my mind 🙃
Hi Emma. I am just going trough this teething misery with my baby girl. I cannot wait for it to end, I am so over it. She is a very sensitive baby girl and the teething was awful for us from the beginning. One molar came through but she lost her appetite in the last couple of days, sometimes she is refusing even the breastmilk and had diarrhoea all week. Did you experience these symptoms with your boys as well? Or shell I do something about it. She doesn’t have high temperature or any other flu like symptoms.
With my eldest he certainly did suffer a lot and he had loose stools and would go off food. I would offer yoghurts a lot as these are soft and cool which are soothing but of course I would always advise to keep a close eye and if you really are concerned get her checked out at the doctor just to be on the safe side. Teething granules are fantastic for calming, settling tummies and reducing upset so if you have those give them a go too.
How long did the fussiness last for you? I’m so thankful I found this my son is 10 months and one bottom canine is coming out I can barely see the tip of it. To top it off the tooth next to it is also coming out but a lot quicker than his canine. He had high fevers that thankfully stopped 2 days ago now he’s just fussy and whines a lot not entirely himself yet.
With my first he just could not handle teething all the way through, he hated the pain and was niggly with every eruption. So when the canines came it was awful. Lots of teething granules really helped and I think he settled once that wider part of the tooth pushed through. My second child wasn’t quite so bad with teething but acted in a very similar way with the canines. I think it’s that they are cone-shaped and longer so once they get further out they tend to settle down. I hope it all passes soon for you xx
That’s really Interesting.
My sons canines have all come through but his top left one is only half way through, but it has been out for weeks. However it seems to be causing him agony. His gum is red, he’s biting a lot and he cries out in pain sleeping. He’s just got over a three day fever and been off food but i was wondering if you’d heard of them causing pain when they have been out for weeks, as you mention their shape and long duration to fully emerge. Most articles say they are just painful until they cut through.
Hoping it’s not tooth damage or decay
Hi all, My baby has exactly same symptoms: drooling a lot, irritated with everything, crying a lot, I just can’t recognise my happy baby 🙁 he is so so unsettled, constantly chewing sth and rubbing his eyes, nose, sometimes even rubbing his face over the mattress when doing tummy time.. or over my shoulder and chest when I hold him. My concern is that he is only 4 months old.. And I have checked with the doctor as well -it looks like it’s his canines which are coming first, awful experience since I’m a first time mom.. Anyone had a baby whose canine cut first? Thanks
They can most certainly all come through at different times but then they can also look white in the gums in different areas which can make you think that tooth will come first and then the incisor comes (which is the most common first tooth). A lot of people think the molars rumble at this time, myself included as his gum was very white but his bottom tooth came instead. Teething can be really hard work and if you need more advice do check out my other blogs or my book 🙂
Thank you for this article, my daughter 13 months is cutting 4 canines slowly and this explains her symptoms to a tee. The sleep disturbance is the worst! How long does it last for? Week, 2 weeks, 3, 4? Just need to know for my own sanity! I can see a pointy bit on one thankfully but she seems in so much pain overnight.
Oh bless you, I remember that time so vividly and I’m sorry to say that every child is different so you can’t really put a time scale on it. Just keep up the pain relief and bear in mind that once teething is over it is all so much better!
Thank you for this article! We just went through almost 5 months of ear infections finally got tubes and NOW his canine teeth are coming in and this pain seems to be worse for him than the ear infections. Feel so bad for him but I hope this passes soon. Exhausted mom here 🙁
Thank you so much for this article Emma, I’m so grateful for it.
My 15 year old girl seems to be going this phase at the moment. The first bottom one has fully erupted now, the second is on it way and the tips of the top ones have been visible for weeks but no sign of them erupting yet. The last week my baby has been waking up screaming and begs for dear life to breastfeed, which is surprising as she’s been successfully night weaned for months. I’m shocked as to what might be causing this but I wonder if she needs comforting this way, since I know she’s not hungry. Do you think they canines might have something to do with this? thank you.
Hi, they could well be a problem, teething can bring on a lot of changes especially if they are painful. It does sound like she’s got quite a few coming at once so it may be that this period will be a bit bad but then once they erupt things will go back to normal.
My son had a cat scan 3 weeks ago and the canine’s are very present right under his gums, but still have not popped through yet! He’s been in a pain for a couple weeks now. I can’t wait for them to pop through. Agree with everything you said and see him rubbing his ears often.
I agree so much with you! Thank you for this post!!! It’s very comforting in these little rough patches of toddlerhood 🤍