Your super-fussy baby might simply be experiencing the painful symptoms associated with teething. Here, you can learn how to identify these symptoms along with the best strategies for pain relief.
Are you wondering when those pearly whites will first start to appear? The majority of babies have their first tooth arrive around the time they are six months old, but your baby’s teeth might appear as soon as they are three months old or even as late as fourteen months old. The timing of the first tooth will greatly depend upon other factors such as how old their parents were when they got their first tooth and whether or not they were a preemie. Preemies typically have their first teeth arrive on the late side. Every baby’s reaction to teething can be very different, too. Some babies show no symptoms at all, while others experience drooling, crankiness and swollen gums weeks before the first tooth appears.
Timeline for the Appearance of Baby Teeth
Usually, infants receive their first teeth in pairs, and these are usually the two on the bottom front. Next, the two top front teeth appear. However, it is very normal for a child to have four bottom teeth and none on the top, or vice versa. Here is a typical tooth timeline:
• 6 months: lower central incisors
• 8 months: upper central incisors
• 10 months: lower and upper lateral incisors
• 14 months: first molars
• 18 months: canines
• 24 months: second molars
Keeping in mind that every baby’s teething process is different, you can expect to notice these possible signs:
A Constant Urge to Chew
Emerging teeth cause pressure in the gums that is relieved by counter pressure. It is also possible that chewing occurs due to the sensation that something is coming through the gums.
Shortly before a tooth pokes through, the gums may be slightly red and swollen. If they appear bruised, your baby may not prefer counter pressure since it can irritated their already inflamed gums.
Excessive saliva is normal for many babies so it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are teething. While there is no way to know for sure if the drool is teething-related, it might be if you notice the other symptoms as well.
Fussiness, Especially at Night
Pain and discomfort will always lead to crankiness. Fussiness due to teething tends to happen more at night for two reasons. First, the teething process occurs more at night since this is when the body repairs and grows. Second, your baby will have fewer distractions while they are sleeping, so any pain that wakes them up is certain to be noticed.
When that first tooth appears, you will notice a small, white bump along the gum line. It might be slightly sharp, and some infants experience a small amount of bleeding at the site of eruption.
The nerves in the face run from the jawline to the ear, and your baby’s ear tugging might not signal an ear infection. Instead, they could be responding to referred pain from teething.
A Change in Eating Habits
For some babies, the counter pressure that comes from their bottle nipple or spoon while eating may lessen the pain so they try to eat more. For others, this causes more pain, and they may refuse their meals. Any changes in your baby’s eating habits may signal a new tooth coming in.
Soothing the Pain
It may take some experimenting to find the pain relief technique that works best for your baby. Some infants enjoy gnawing on a washcloth that has been wet with water and frozen in the freezer. Teethers with different textures can also be of help.
Early Teeth Care Tips!
During the teething process, many babies prefer to chew on their crib rail, which can cause damage to their baby teeth. Use plastic guards to protect those chompers.
When a tooth is still below the gums and it has not caused any bruising, counter pressure can be applied using a clean finger. Simply rub the area to see if it helps ease your baby’s crankiness.
Similar to a headache, teething can cause constant, low-level pain that is frustrating. Distraction from the pain can work wonders during these times. Spend some extra time with your child, cuddle or surprise them with a new toy that can help keep their mind off of teething.
Teething Tricks to Avoid
• Chewing biscuits and other hard foods such as frozen bananas, zwieback crackers and melba toast. Although they can help with the strong urge to chew, they can break into chunks that pose a risk for choking.
• Applying a little brandy on swollen gums. This old home remedy is now known to be unsafe. Even tiny amounts of alcohol are poisonous to babies.
When to Contact a Doctor
Since many of the symptoms of teething can mimic other conditions, you may need to call the doctor if they continue without the appearance of any teeth. Babies who haven’t had their first tooth appear by 15 months may also need to visit a dentist for x-rays to make sure they are developing normally.
You can expect for teething to continue for approximately two years, but don’t worry…it gets less painful as time goes on. No one is certain why this occurs, but experts believe that babies get used to the sensation after their first several teeth erupt. Remember that it is time to brush that precious little tooth as soon as it appears. Just use a fingertip toothbrush or a clean washcloth, and brush it twice a day. Also, never let your baby fall asleep with their bottle since the pooling juice or milk can lead to decay. While the teething process can be tough, keep in mind that it doesn’t last forever, and soon you will be enjoying every moment when you see your baby flash their beautiful smile.