The sensations a baby experiences during teething likely aren't very pleasant. After all, having sharp chewing instruments gradually push through your gums is a good reason to be cranky. So what can parents do to facilitate the process?

One tool to soothe a teether is a teething ring. Make sure the one you provide to your baby is approved by the government. Ideally, it should be kept cool.

Tylenol® drops and Tempra® can also be taken, as directed. But avoid teething gels - they have anesthetic embedded in them that can be dangerous.

While crying and irritability are fairly common for a teething baby, parents often mistakenly attribute other symptoms to teething, such as diarrhea or fever. Medical professionals have not made a connection between either of these symptoms and teething, so if your child has these symptoms, consult a physician.

Tooth development occurs at varying rates, but in general, babies have about 12 teeth by a year and a half, and all their pearly whites are usually in place by the age of 3.

Dentists encourage parents to care for the baby's teeth as soon as they form. You can use a wash cloth or wet gauze to clean the teeth, and once the spaces between the teeth provide enough room for a toothbrush, the baby should be ready for brushing. However, brushing with toothpaste is not advisable until the child is at an age where they won't swallow the toothpaste.

Trips to the dentist should start 6 months after the appearance of the first teeth or when the baby is a year old, whichever comes first.

While assessing the overall state of the baby's dental hygiene, dentists are also checking for something known as "nursing bottle caries," generally in the upper teeth. These are cavities that usually develop as a result of parents putting their babies to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Because these drinks have sugar in them, babies may be damaging their teeth by drinking them.

If possible, it is better to not put your baby to bed with a bottle; if that isn't possible, dentists urge parents to fill the bottle with water, which has fluoride in it and does not pose the same risks as juice or milk.