Should I be Worried about Teething?
There’s nothing quite like seeing your sweet baby’s toothless grin smiling up at you. After that first tooth pops out, you can bet it is going to be even more adorable. But getting those new teeth in can be hard on babies – and parents. Learn what to expect.
What is Teething?
Teething is the process of primary teeth erupting in a baby’s mouth. These are the first teeth that a child will have and are more commonly called baby teeth.
When does Teething Usually Start?
Every baby is different. Some may get teeth faster or slower than others. A general rule of thumb is that most babies will begin teething somewhere around 6-months old. Others may not start until closer to a year old or could begin as soon as 3 months. In very rare cases, a baby may be born with a tooth or teeth.
Symptoms of Teething
Unfortunately, teething isn’t usually a pleasant process. The good news is that once a tooth has erupted, the majority of discomfort will be over. Here are some signs that your baby may be teething.
- White gums
- More cranky than normal
- Changes in eating
- Putting hands or toys in mouth
- Difficulty sleeping
- Pulling on ears
What can Help
It’s hard to see your little one hurting. The silver lining is that many babies are usually extra cuddly when they aren’t feeling well. So be sure to snuggle up to your baby as much as possible and enjoy the extra closeness. Here are some other things that can help.
- Teething toys
- Chewing on a cold or frozen washcloth
- Infant Tylenol or Baby Motrin (check with your pediatrician for correct dosage)
- Gently massaging their gums with your finger
- Frozen fruit mesh baby feeders
- Teething biscuits (be mindful of choking hazards and be sure to wipe gums clean after use)
- Silicone toys like Sophie the Giraffe
What NOT to Use
Never put anything in your baby’s mouth that could be a choking hazard. Always monitor your baby when there is a potential choking hazard.
Another old-fashioned treatment for teething that is no longer considered safe is numbing gels, particularly those that contain benzocaine. Although they are still on the market (for adult use only), it’s easy to overdose a small child with these medicines and cause their blood cells to no longer transport oxygen effectively.
Teething jewelry also poses a choking and strangulation risk. Although some parents swear by teething necklaces made from Amber, there isn’t any scientific research to stand behind these products. The bigger risk here is that if the beads come loose, a child may choke. Another concern is that they could potentially strangle themselves with the jewelry. If you decide to try this method, never leave your child unattended while wearing the necklace and never put them to sleep with it on.
When to Call Dentist/Doctor
Generally, teething is uncomfortable, but not harmful. Most parents will tell you that a low-grade fever can accompany teething – although oddly enough, there is no research to back up this claim. Over-the-counter pain medicine, like Tylenol, is generally the first line of defense for particularly painful teething or fever.
Another common symptom that parents describe that has not been proven is diarrhea. While generally not dangerous by itself, always make sure your baby is drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. If diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours, if a rash occurs, or if you suspect your child to be dehydrated, be sure to call your pediatrician. Generally, a dentist will not need to be called about teething. But, always trust your instincts when it comes to your children. If you feel that something is off, you’re never going to inconvenience a dentist or a doctor by calling with your concerns.
Remember that this will Pass
Teething is not pleasant, and there’s just no way around that. Seeing your child teething can be hard and sometimes frustrating. It’s important to remember that this will pass. Generally, teething pain should only last a day or two. Be sure to reach out to a friend, family, or our office if you need any assistance or reassurance that you’re doing a good job. You got this Mom and Dad!