Infant Teething Symptoms and Remedies
Ah, teething. It is one of the most challenging stages of infancy. Many parents look for anything and everything to help ease their pain. There is no way to avoid it, but dealing starts with knowing the symptoms of teething and understanding what is going on behind the scenes (or gums). Having an arsenal of treatments and techniques in your back pocket is a good start!
What is Teething?
Teething is the process of growing teeth, especially your baby’s first teeth, or what are commonly called “milk teeth.” The teeth actually began growing inside the gums when your baby was still in the womb.
As your baby grows, so do the teeth buds that are inside the gums, and they will eventually break out, one or two at a time. It is the process of the teeth breaking through the gums that causes pain. This is when your baby starts experiencing teething symptoms.
If you start noticing unusual symptoms arising, be sure to drop a reputable dentist for a checkup
Your Baby’s Teething Timeline
Most babies will begin experiencing teething between four and seven months old. In some rare cases, the teething may start sooner, but rarely will teething start right after birth.
On the other hand, it is extremely rare for teething to last until the baby is a year old as well. If your baby is starting early or continues teething after seven months, it is probably fine, but you may want to make an appointment with your pediatric dentist just to be safe.
Your baby’s teeth will often come in a specific order as well.
The middle teeth will usually appear first, often the bottom two before the top two. Then, the rest of the teeth along the sides and in the back will start to appear. Finally, the molars at the back of the mouth will come in.
Your baby’s first teeth should be in by age three, and permanent teeth will replace them by the age of six or seven.
Don’t worry if your baby’s teeth aren’t coming in straight. This will usually resolve itself, and your pediatric dentist can advise when you go to your first visit. This should be done within the baby’s first year to ensure that all of the teeth are growing correctly and to prevent issues before they become problems.
Teething is a natural part of infancy, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Although diarrhea and fever can sometimes accompany teething, most experts believe that these are caused by gum inflammation.
Watch out for other symptoms like lethargic behavior, not eating, vomiting, or a temperature of more than 101 degrees (100.5 for 3-month-old and younger). Call your doctor if these symptoms are concerning you.
Common Symptoms of Teething
There are some common symptoms of teething that parents who have been through it will recognize. For new parents, one or two of these symptoms do not necessarily mean that your child is teething, but it is something you may want to consider, particularly if they have several of these symptoms.
You will probably notice that your baby is fussy and irritable before anything else. This means lots of crying for them and a lot of frustration for you.
You can often look at the gums and see if the teeth are coming in or if they are red and swollen. Your baby may also drool because of teething. Your baby may also chew on everything, and refuse to eat because of painful gums.
Sleeping soundly during the teething stage may also be difficult for them.
What you can do for your baby
There are things that you can do to make it easier for your baby to get through the teething stage.
A teething ring is a wonderful tool. Put it in the refrigerator and then give it to your baby to chew on. It will help them reduce their tooth pain. If you don’t have a teething ring, you can also use a washcloth.
Some parents rub aspirin on their baby’s gums, but experts say never to do this because it can lead to a rare, life-threatening condition.
Your baby is going to make it through the teething stage, and you will, too, even though it can sometimes feel like the longest period you’ve ever lived through. Some babies will have more pain than others, just like for some, the period will be longer than for others.
There are no hard-and-fast rules for teething, but if you follow these guidelines, you’ll make it through. If you have any questions, you can always ask your doctor or pediatric dentist for advice, and there are many great websites, forums, and other resources for teething parents online.