When your baby's first pearly white tooth shows up, along with surprise you must be anxious too. You must know what teething is and the symptoms associated with it to avoid unnecessary apprehensions. Babies are born with all those 20 primary teeth below their gum line. They naturally start to erupt between 6 to 12 months. In some cases, it may appear from as early as 3 months or as late as 14 months depending on many hereditary factors. Likewise how babies experience teething also varies. Some may have nearly no symptoms, while other babies experience teething pain for months. There are some signs for most cases to watch for such as excessive drooling and crankiness-weeks before a tooth actually emerges, while others show no signs at all.
Here's what to expect during teething:
The soreness and swelling of gums at the time of teething makes the kid fussier. Disturbed sleep, irritability, loss of appetite, drooling more than usual, trying to bite, chew and suck on everything, swollen gums and mild fever are the common symptoms.
- Swollen gums: The gum around the erupting tooth becomes reddened, swollen and tender.
- Drooling/dribbling: Teething will stimulate salivation.
- Teething rash: Due to excessive drooling, skin becomes irritated around the mouth and chin resulting in the appearance of mild rashes.
- Fussiness: Some babies show great irritability and wails due to the pain and discomfort. After the early teething experience, most babies eventually get used to what teething feels like and are not quite so disturbed later on.
- Ear pulling and cheek rubbing: The pain from the erupting teeth can radiate to somewhere else like ears, chin and cheeks. Pulling on the ears or rubbing on the cheek is another sign babies show indicating pain.
How to soothe the pain:
- A wet frozen washcloth or teething toy chilled in refrigerator numbs sore gums.
- Gently massage with the clean finger in the area where the tooth is still deep in the gum and hasn't formed a painful bruise and where it's about to erupt.
- Teething pain can simply be soothed by distracting the child from pain by offering a new toy or by giving little extra cuddling.
- Pain relievers can be given in extreme cases only after consultation with your doctor.