The vast majority of kids fly through teeth eruptions with no difficulties, but we often see parents that are concerned about the problems that their little ones are experiencing with teething. I’ve put together some frequently asked questions together with some advice on reducing teething discomfort.
When does the first tooth erupt?
You can typically expect the first tooth to erupt from about 6 months of age but this varies from child to child. Certain children may only show signs of eruption at a year of age, whereas some children are born with their first tooth! The first tooth is usually the lower central incisor followed by a variation in the front four lower and upper incisors and then the molars and canines. Children generally have their full set of primary teeth by the age of 3.
What are normal teething symptoms?
Many babies may go on as normal during their teething period and only display teething symptoms occasionally. Often children will drool more than usual and repeatedly chew on objects to massage their sore gums. They may also display irritability and trouble sleeping during this time.
When should you be concerned?
Teething does not make a baby really sick and any child that is experiencing a high fever or severe diarrhoea should be seen by a doctor. This should not be passed off as just ‘teething’. Young children are vulnerable to a myriad of conditions that can cause a fever, one of which is ear infections. There are many other infections and conditions that can cause a baby to drool, complain and experience a high fever, so consult your paediatrician if the fever is high, or if you are just unsure.
How can you relieve the discomfort?
There are many teething toys and pacifiers on the market and we suggest that you find one that your child is comfortable with as texture preferences vary from child to child. Ensure that the device that you choose is a soft material, if there are already other teeth present, and it is big enough to avoid the danger of choking. Some parents find that fluid containing rings, which have been cooled in the fridge, bring quite a bit of relief. If there are no teething toys nearby, a clean damp washcloth that has been twisted into a pretzel-rod and cooled in the fridge can be used. There are various teething gels available at the pharmacy but be sure to follow their directions as excessive use should be avoided. Do not apply aspirin directly onto the gum as this can cause severe burning of the tissue. Benzocaine containing products are also not recommended for children under 2 years of age, unless prescribed by a healthcare professional. Any Homeopathic teething products that have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety or effectiveness should be avoided at all costs. Finally, it is vital that your child’s gums are kept clean during the eruption phase in order to avoid any infection and to reduce discomfort.