Help! My Baby is Teething
It’s that wonderful time in babyhood when both parent and child are driven to insanity by the pain: teething.
You may have some concerns about the topic if your child has yet to reach that stage. Here’s what you need to know.
When Does Teething Start?
The first teeth (usually the bottom front two teeth) show up around six months of age. If your baby was born premature, then the first teeth might take more than a year to show up. Genetics also play a role - if a baby’s parents had delayed smile development then chances are good that they will, too.
Some babies get their first teeth as early as three months. There isn’t a set time for these things, but if you’re worried about your child being too early or too late, see a dentist.
The teething process tends to happen gradually until your child gets their full set of baby teeth around age two.
Teething Woes for Baby
Babies can’t tell us that they have teeth coming in. They don’t understand it, themselves! All they know is that their gums are not comfortable.
Every baby expresses their discomfort in different ways. A few lucky babies don’t seem bothered by the process, at all. But most babies display one or more of the following symptoms:
● Drooling ● Chewing on whatever they find ● Irritability ● Swollen gums ● Difficulty sleeping ● Rubbing at their face or ears
You need to know that colds, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea are not symptoms of teething, despite what many parents believe. If your child becomes seriously ill, take them to see a doctor instead of waiting for the illness to pass under the belief it’s caused by teething - it’s not.
No Medication! Warns the FDA
In the past, parents have reached for teething products in full faith that they provide relief for sore gums.
But in a recent FDA warning, parents were warned to stay away from benzocaine-containing teething products. Benzocaine can cause a rare but serious condition called methemoglobinemia. That’s a condition where the blood cannot successfully deliver oxygen to body tissues.
While illness from benzocaine use is very rare, infants tend to be at higher risk for complications than adults. Additionally, such teething products aren’t considered that effective since a topical product immediately washes away with saliva.
Benzocaine-based teething products just don’t have enough benefit to justify the risk.
What You Can Do to Relieve Teething Pain
The best thing for your baby’s sore gums happens to be completely safe and free - your finger!
Rubbing baby’s gums with a clean finger is usually the safest and most soothing way to get him or her some relief. Your child may also enjoy frozen teething rings, but be careful when choosing one as some can be dangerously hard. You don’t want your child scratching up their gums and adding to their discomfort.
Another good chewing alternative is to soak a clean washcloth in clean water, wring it out thoroughly, and put it in the freezer. Your child will love sucking and chewing on the chilly soft fabric.
Pediatric Dental Checkups in Tacoma, WA
Your child should have his or her very first dental appointment by the time their first tooth arrives. Even if your baby still hasn’t gotten any teeth by the time they reach a year old they still need to have an appointment.
Your baby’s appointment is the perfect opportunity for a family dentist like Dr. Duke Bui to check for the signs of healthy smile development. As the parent you’ll learn what potential problems to look out for and get more tips on maintaining safe oral hygiene for your child.
What other questions do you have about your baby’s oral health?
Call Duke N. Bui, DDS, PS - Family Dentistry today to plan a visit.