Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Teething is the normal process of new teeth working their
way through the gums. Your baby's first tooth may appear
any time between the time he is 3 months to 1 year old.
Most children have completely painless teething. The only
symptoms are increased saliva, drooling, and a desire to
chew on things. Teething occasionally causes some mild gum
pain, but it doesn't interfere with sleep. The degree of
discomfort varies from child to child. Your child won't be
miserable. When the back teeth (molars) come through (age 6
to 12 years), the overlying gum may become bruised and
swollen. This is harmless and temporary.
Because teeth erupt almost continuously from 6 months to
2 years of age, many unrelated illnesses are blamed on
teething. Fevers are also common during this time because
after the age of 6 months, infants lose the natural
protection provided by their mothers' antibodies.
DEVELOPMENT OF BABY TEETH
Your baby's teeth will usually erupt in the following order:
- 2 lower incisors
- 4 upper incisors
- 2 lower incisors and all 4 first molars
- 4 canines
- 4 second molars.
- Gum massage
Find the irritated or swollen gum. Massage it with your
finger for 2 minutes. Do this as often as necessary.
You may also massage the gum with a piece of ice.
- Teething rings
Your baby's way of massaging his gums is to chew on a
smooth, hard object. Solid teething rings and ones with
liquid in the center (as long as it's purified water)
are fine. Most children like them cold. A wet
washcloth or banana chilled in the freezer for
10 minutes will please many infants. Avoid ice,
Popsicles, or other frozen objects that could cause
frostbite of the gums. Also avoid hard foods that he
might choke on (like raw carrots). Teething biscuits
Avoid salty or acid foods. Your baby probably will
enjoy sucking on a nipple, but if he complains, use a
cup for fluids temporarily.
If the pain increases, give acetaminophen orally for
1 day. Special teething gels are unnecessary. Many
teething gels contain benzocaine, which can cause an
allergic reaction. If you want to use a gel, do not
apply it more than four times a day.
- Common myths about teething
- Teething does not cause fever, sleep problems,
diarrhea, diaper rash, or lowered resistance to any
infection. It probably doesn't cause crying. If
your baby develops fever while teething, the fever is
caused by something else.
- Don't tie a teething ring around your baby's neck.
It could catch on something and strangle your child.
Attach it to your baby's clothing with a
CALL YOUR CHILD'S PHYSICIAN DURING OFFICE HOURS IF:
- Your child develops a fever over 101 degrees F, or
38.3 degrees C.
- Your child develops crying that doesn't have a cause.
- You have other questions or concerns.