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Teething

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Does this describe your child's symptoms?

 

Definition

  • Questions about teething, the normal process of new primary teeth working their way through the gums

  • Teeth come in between 6 and 24 months of age

  • Caution: At least one tooth should be visible before using this topic

Symptoms

  • Main symptoms are increased saliva, drooling and desire to chew on things.

  • Occasional symptoms: mild gum pain.  Usually, not enough to cause crying or interfere with sleep.

  • Does not cause fever, diarrhea, diaper rash, ill appearance or lowered resistance to infection.

  • Caution: Blaming teething for fevers can lead to a delayed diagnosis of ear infections, urinary tract infections, meningitis and other infections.

  • Caution: Blaming teething for crying can lead to a delayed diagnosis of ear infections or other causes of pain.

  • There are 2 reasons for the onset of infections between 6 and 12 months of age: The loss of transplacental antibodies and the developmental milestone of chewing on everything.

If not, see these topics

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When to Call Your Doctor

call now

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  • Your child looks or acts very sick

call within 24 hours

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If

  • You think your child needs to be seen

  • You have other questions or concerns

home care

Parent Care at Home If

  • Normal teething and you don't think your child needs to be seen

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HOME CARE ADVICE FOR TEETHING

  1. Reassurance:  

    • Teething is a natural process.  

    • It's harmless and it may cause a little gum pain.

    • It doesn't cause fever or crying. If present, look for another cause.

  2. Gum Massage:  

    • Find the irritated or swollen gum.  

    • Massage it with your finger for 2 minutes.  

    • Do this as often as necessary.  

    • Putting pressure on the sore gum can reduce pain.

    • Age over 12 months: You may use a piece of ice wrapped in a wet cloth to massage the gum.

  3. Teething Rings:

    • Infants massage their own sore gums by chewing on smooth, hard objects.

    • Offer a teething ring, pacifier or wet washcloth that has been chilled in the refrigerator, but not frozen in the freezer.  

    • Age over 12 months: A piece of chilled banana may help.

    • Avoid hard foods that could cause choking (e.g., raw carrots).

    • Avoid ice or popsicles that could cause frostbite of the gums.

  4. Cup Feeding:  If your infant refuses nipple feedings, use a cup, spoon or syringe temporarily.

  5. Pain Medicine: If the pain increases, give acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) orally for 1 day. Special teething gels are not recommended (FDA 2011). They can cause allergic reactions, choking or bluish skin.

  6. Call Your Doctor If:

    • Develops unexplained crying

    • Develops fever

    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.

© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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