Symptoms that develop three to five days before the primary teeth break through the gums are termed as teething symptoms. Teething starts in children any time between three months to twelve months. However, majority of them get their first set of teeth at six months. Lower incisors are the first to emerge. Multiple teeth may also emerge in few babies. Molars cause more pain compared to incisors as they cannot erupt through large surface area.
Few children are born with teeth termed as neonatal teeth. They generally do not cause any danger but they should be removed if they are loose. Loose neonatal teeth may cause choking, disturb the feeding process and also irritate the tongue. Soreness and swelling of gums caused by the emerging teeth makes the child fussier. All children may not suffer with pain or other symptoms during teething.
Generally the symptoms are mild without any serious complications. It is highly recommended to consult physician if the teething symptoms do not subside even after a week or if the symptoms are severe. Commonly observed teething symptoms include:
- Increased biting of toys or fingers so as to obtain relief from pressure in the gums.
- Refusal to take food either solid or liquid as the mouth hurts.
- Few kids start drooling before teething. This generally results in development of rash in the chest, face or chin region.
- Poor intake of food due to loss of appetite. Kids may also be very choosy about the food they take.
- Inflammatory response that develops during teething increased blood flow to the affected area causing red and flushed cheeks.
- Fever less than 102 degrees may be seen in few babies.
- Pulling of ears. This can also be due to ear infection.
- Swollen gums.
- Restlessness and crying.
As believed by many teething and diarrhea are not related. Fever above 102 degrees accompanied by severe diarrhea should not be related to teething and immediate medical attention has to be given.
Teething symptoms : Treatment
Teething symptoms are generally mild and disappear immediately after the teeth shows out of the gums. However, few babies will be quite uncomfortable out of the pain. Diagnosis of teething is generally made through symptoms and physical examination.
- Mild pain reliever can be used to relieve the pain. Pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen at dosage specific to the age of the child can be used. Do not use aspirin.
- Rub the gums in a circular motion with a clean finger for about two minutes. This will give relief to the baby. However, they may not cooperate the first time you start doing it.
- Safe and clean objects such as teething rings can be given for the baby to bite with the gums.
- To prevent skin rashes due to drooling, chin and other areas should be kept dry by using clean dry cloth.
- Different shaped nipple or cup can be used to reduce feeding problems.
Consult the pediatrician before using pain medications or other gels that are applied to gums for relief. Gels generally act by causing the numbness of teeth. But, they may also numb the throat that in turn prevents the gag reflex. As a result the food may enter in to the lungs resulting in unwanted complications. The compound Benzocaine found in majority of the teething gels and sprays causes a serious complication methemoglobinemia that reduces the ability of RBC to transport oxygen. Hence, it is recommended not to use teething gels and sprays. Do not give frozen foods, teething cookies to the child to relieve teething pain as they increase the risk for choking and tooth decay.