Teething - The eruption and cutting of teeth especially the primary teeth.
Teething can be a very difficult time for parents and child. The child will experience some level of discomfort and most parents cannot bear to see their children hurting at all. Not to mention the possible loss of sleep for baby and parents.
By age 2 and 1/2 most children have all 20 of their primary teeth. During the process of teeth erupting into the mouth, your child may experience some signs and symptoms. These can include the following:
-Excessive Drooling. Many babies drool so much during the teething process that it is hard to even begin to keep them dry. Teething stimulates drooling and it begins for most babies at about 10 weeks of age.
-Rash on cheeks or chin. The rash development is linked to excessive drooling. If your baby is drooling excessively, they may develop a dry skin rash around the mouth, and on their chin due to contact with the excessive saliva. Drying the skin around the mouth frequently will help prevent the rash. Use of a gentle skin cream will help moisturize the rash, helping it to heal faster.
-Coughing. Sometimes the drool will make babies cough for no apparent reason. The baby is actually gagging a little on the excessive drool. The baby should be monitored if this persists and also check to ensure there are no other signs or symptoms of cold, allergies, or flu present.
-Chewing or Biting. As the teeth begin to push through the gums it can cause some discomfort for the baby. Babies learn very quickly that counter pressure will sooth that discomfort. That is why they enjoy chewing on things, especially cold, around this time. This can also be a tough time for mom if she is breast feeding.
-Discomfort or Pain. Every baby will be affected differently. Some experience terrible pain and others barely anything. The first teeth to erupt usually cause the most pain or discomfort. Most babies eventually get used to the pain or discomfort and it is not as severe after the initial tooth eruptions.
-Irritability. Babies will become irritable during this time as their sleep is affected by chronic discomforts. The same could be said for some parents!
-Refusing to Feed or Eat. The suction of feeding can cause babies discomfort during this time. Teething babies sometimes become fussy about feedings and become even angrier when they get hungrier and hungrier. Talk to your pediatrician about possibly offering solid foods to baby during this time if they are not already on them. The chewing will relieve some of the discomfort.
-Development of Diarrhea. This has caused some division among pediatricians but some parents report the development of diarrhea during the teething process. Either way it is important to keep your baby hydrated during the teething process. Speak to your pediatrician if the diarrhea persists.
-Development of a Low grade fever. The fever is believed to be due to the inflammatory process in the body. As the teeth erupt, the babies gum tissue becomes inflamed and this inflammation can sometimes produce a low grade fever (less than 101 degrees F). Treat as you would any other low grade fever but if it persists call your doctor.
-Poor Sleeping Habits. The teething process does not only happen during the day, it can spill over into the evenings. The teething discomfort can disrupt nap time as well as night time sleeping.
-Gum Hematoma. Teething can cause bleeding under the gum tissue, which looks like a bluish lump. It is not anything to be worried about and can heal faster with the help of a cold compress.
-Ear pulling; cheek rubbing. Teething babies may tug on their ears or rub their cheeks or chin. The reason for this is that these areas all share the same nerve pathways. Discomfort in the mouth can travel to other areas in and around the face. Be on the lookout for an ear infection as well. Babies who have ear infections have similar symptoms.
There are some things parents can do to make their babies feel better. They include:
-Chewing. As mentioned earlier, chewing soothes teething babies. Some good choices might be rubber teething rings and rattles for them to chew on. Another good option is a frozen, wet washcloth to let them chew on. Our babies liked cold, peeled carrots, they are large, impossible to swallow or chew, but taste good and are not too hard. The cold will relieve the discomfort.
-Rubbing. Your finger rubbed firmly on baby’s gums, or a wet washcloth, can provide the same soothing counter pressure. Your baby may not like it at first because it might initially hurt, but the counter pressure will bring relief.
-Pain relief. If all of the above do not work to relieve the teething discomfort you may want to turn to some sort of pain relief. Acetominophen (Tylenol) is an excellent choice, but as always, check with your pediatrician before using any medications. Some people like to use topical numbing agents, like Anbesol, but babies tend to get very upset with the feeling it gives.
Teething can be a difficult time for both parents and baby, but armed with good educational information, you can get through it as easily as possible. Follow the tips from your dentist and above to keep you and your baby happy and comfortable.