Restless nights, lots of tears, and a whole lot of drooling are all results of one tricky culprit: teething.
Teething is hard on both parents and their kids. While parents hate to watch their baby in pain, there are usually few remedies that bring immediate relief. Often, teething pain can become more prevalent at night, making it difficult for anyone to get sleep.
For parents who want to anticipate teething pains, we have a few recommendations for handling teething troubles. First, we will discuss how to spot teething issues, and then offer our best tested tips for relief.
How to Spot Teething
Often, we get calls from worried parents asking whether or not their child is sick or just teething. Depending upon their age and their symptoms, you can begin to tell when teeth are beginning to erupt and your child starts to feel pain.
Here are the ages when you should expect teething to occur:
- 6 to 12 months, central incisors
- 9 to 12 months, lateral incisors
- 16 to 22 months, cuspids
- 13 to 19 months, first molars
- 25 to 33 months, second molars
Teething tends to be over around three years of age, where all teeth should be in place. However, these symptoms can begin long before a tooth erupts and can bring different levels of pain for every child.
Here are some of the common signs that your baby is experiencing teething pains:
- Swollen gums
- Putting everything into his or her mouth
- Touching face and ears frequently
- Crying, with a grumpy or fussy demeanor
- Not eating
Another common side effect of teething is a low-grade fever. This is usually the biggest cause of alarm for parents, who wonder if their child is teething or experiencing another illness. The quickest way to tell if the fever is teething-related is if the fever is 101 degrees or below. If the fever is above 101 degrees, there is likely a more serious infection that needs to be checked. Make an appointment with your pediatrician if a fever is high and persists.
4 Ways to Help Your Baby During Teething
As parents and pediatricians, we understand that all you want to do is fix any problems your child may be experiencing. While teething is not the easiest growing pain to alleviate, there are a few ways you can help your child feel a little better.
Here are our 4 ways to help your baby while he or she is teething:
With so much pressure happening inside a teething child’s mouth, sometimes a little pressure against tooth eruptions can help sore gums. A common favorite among kids is a rubber teething ring or teething necklaces, which allow your child to bite down and counter some of the pressure they are feeling.
If you do not have one of these items handy, let your child gnaw on a safe, rubber toy. Beware of toys that he or she should not be putting in the mouth; your little one may be grabbing anything to chew on to help the pain!
If all else fails, you can try pressing or rubbing your (clean) fingers onto their gums to help give the pressure needed.
If rubber, room temperature teething rings are not your child’s favorite or they are not offering the right amount of relief, a bit of cold can help cool down the pain.
Like rubber teething rings, cold teething rings can do a world of good. Just keep the rings in the refrigerator (not the freezer, as they can get too hard and can hurt soft gums), and pull them out when needed. If you need a quick fix, you can also give your child a cold, wet washcloth to chew.
Please note: whenever you are giving your child something to chew, please stay nearby to make sure there is no choking or problems with the item.
Any pain reliever you would normally use for your child can also be used for teething pains. Additionally, these medicines can be used to lower any fevers that are paired with teething.
On the market these days, there are plenty of teething tablets and gels. Please listen to our strong words of caution: beware of homeopathic teething tablets and gels. The Food and Drug Administration has warned against the effects of these medications because of traces of belladonna found in these items.
Belladonna can be fatal, and has linked to many issues in children, such as seizures and trouble breathing. If you have questions about medicines to use for teething, we urge you to ask your pediatrician first.
4. Your Pediatrician
As we mentioned in our last point – we are here to help! We know that teething is not just a pain for your child, but for you, too. Lack of sleep, an irritable baby, and no end in sight can feel overwhelming.
Once your child approaches teething age and begins exhibiting symptoms, let’s talk. We can talk about other remedies that might help with your child, or ways that your whole family can cope with the changes teething can bring.
We are here to help you discuss any problems and to find a healthy solution to help your child.
Help for Teething Babies (and Their Parents!)
Now that you know the signs of teething, the ages where new teeth pop up, and how to help your child, we hope you still remember that teething can be unpredictable. Bad moods, fevers, and little sleep can make teething quite a chore. But we are here to remind you – it is only temporary!
If you are feeling the pressure of teething problems with your baby, make an appointment with Pediatrics East today at 901-757-3535.