Baby Teething Tips

If you have a teething baby at home, you will probably take all of the tips you can get.  Teething can turn your adorable little angel into a crying, drooling, and completely unpleasant mess.  We hope it helps you to know that teething is a normal process, and it will end soon.

What is Teething?

Teething is the common term used to describe the inflammation and pain babies and toddlers experience as their “new” teeth are coming into the mouth.  Anyone who has had orthodontic treatment knows that tooth movement is uncomfortable at the very least.  For babies, the teeth must push through a solid layer of gum tissue.  The pressure of the teeth under the gums pushing outward just plain hurts.

Sometimes these erupting baby teeth can cause small cysts to develop in the gum tissue before they emerge.  Do not panic if you see a small blood blister on the gums where a new tooth is coming in.  These are quite common.

The discomfort of this process often causes your baby to be cranky and difficult to soothe.  This is because they are in pain and unable to express it.  Some babies will run a fever, and most will drool excessively.  You will probably notice them biting on their fingers, your fingers, or toys in an attempt to relieve the pain.

Why Does it Last SO LONG?

Unfortunately, the baby teeth do not all emerge into the mouth at the same time.  Instead, they come in almost one-at-a-time or in pairs.  This occurs over about an 18-month period of time.  The first baby tooth (usually one of the lower front teeth) typically emerges around six months of age, and the last baby tooth (a second molar) can come in around two years of age or later. 

In addition to that period, you also have the time before the tooth breaks through the gum tissue.  This means you could be seeing the signs of teething long before you ever see a tooth.  If your baby is grumpy, tearful, and gnawing on everything in sight with those front gums any time after three months, he or she is probably teething.

How Can I Help My Teething Baby?

We wish there was one simple way to beat teething and its symptoms, but there is not.  You may need to try multiple techniques or a combination of a few in order to find which ones work for your child. 

Over-the-Counter Medications

Because teething does truly cause inflammation and pain, using over-the-counter pain relievers like Infants’ Tylenol and Infants’ Advil.  It is extremely important that you follow the dosage instructions closely according to the package.  If your child has any health conditions, you should consult with your pediatrician before using these medications.

Most people will find better pain relief results with Advil (generic name Ibuprofen) as opposed to Tylenol because it fights pain and inflammation.  Tylenol does not have anti-inflammatory properties.

Take care with any homeopathic or natural teething remedies, as these are not approved by the FDA.  Before using them, ask your pediatrician which ones are safe for your child.

Teething Rings

Teething rings are small toys made for chewing.  Your child can safely gnaw away at the tough, flexible material without endangering himself.  Most children find relief from applying cold to the sore area, so using a teething ring that you can freeze may provide additional pain relief. 

Other objects can act as “teething rings”, too.  Some parents will freeze a large spoon to give to the child for chewing.  Make sure the object is too large to swallow and of a material that will not break into pieces. 

Specific Soothing Techniques

No one knows your baby better than you do.  You know how to soothe him or her when upset.  Maybe that is nursing or bottle-feeding.  It may be that you can distract your child with play.  During teething, you are probably both unhappy for a while.  Stick together, and you can soothe each other.

More Questions about Teething?

Call Prosper Family Dentistry at 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara, and Dr. Summer.  They can answer any question you have about teething and your child’s incoming teeth.

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