John Deer Teething ChainMany parents find the teething process a stressful one, especially for those parents who are going through it for the first time!  They’re unsure what’s considered normal, what they can do, and how long this process lasts.  Below are teething tips every parent should know to get through the teething process.

How do I know if my baby is teething?

There are actually a few telltale signs that can help parents know when their baby is teething. Though not every baby will exhibit all these signs, here some to watch out for. Red and swollen gums is one of the more visual signs that a baby is teething. Their gums may become red and appear irritated, and may appear to be swollen. This is completely normal as a baby’s first teeth are starting to erupt. Many parents notice their baby is much fussier when they’re teething. Understandably, your child is experiencing discomfort and will become more irritable as they experience pain.

It’s very common when a baby starts teething to drool more excessively. If you start to notice increased drooling, keep an eye out for other symptoms listed below; it’s likely that your baby is teething. While this seems unusual, many babies have been known to grab their ears more frequently while teething to try and alleviate the pain they’re feeling. They may also rub their face more often, again to help with the pain. Babies who are teething are looking for relief, which can come with sucking more frequently than normal. They may also appear to bite or chew on almost anything they can. Again, it’s an attempt to relieve their discomfort.  It is said that if we were to be teething, the pain is so great, we would probably need narcotics.

What can be done to ease your baby during the teething process

There are several actions parents can take to help sooth a baby while they’re teething. One action is to gently massage the baby’s gums with a clean finger or soft cloth. This helps circulate blood and can be a way to sooth a baby who is uncomfortable.  You can also try introducing come cold to help alleviate pain. Many parents try putting a wet cloth or teething ring in the refrigerator or freezer until it’s cold (but not too cold!) to the touch. There are a variety of refrigerated teethers available, including some with plastic handles so your baby’s hands won’t get cold. Parents seem to like frozen wash clothes for their babies to chew on, but make sure you rinse them off first, so their tongue doesn’t get stuck.

If your baby is eating solid foods, you might offer something edible for gnawing — such as a peeled and chilled cucumber or carrot. Of course, if your baby is not yet ready for solid foods, don’t try this option. Any time you give a baby something hard to chew on, watch them carefully to avoid a choking hazard.

Sometimes the best way to ease your baby is to distract them until the discomfort has passed. A parent’s touch can go a long way to soothe a baby in pain.

There are over the counter remedies for pain relief as well. If you feel your baby is in a lot of pain, as your pediatric dentist what options are available.

How long does this last?

Most babies get their first tooth at around 6 months, but every baby is different. Teething may appear as early as 3 months or as late as 36 months. Around 6 months, lower incisors start to erupt first typically, and molars are usually the last to erupt, closer to age 3 (even though we call them “2 year molars”). Molars, because of their surface size, tend to cause the most discomfort for babies.  Some parents report that the canines or “eye teeth” are even more painful; it just varies from child to child and parent reporting.

If you’re unsure how to help your baby through the teething process, use these tips and reach out to your pediatric dentist. They can help explain the process, provide suggestions on how to soothe your baby, and overall put your mind at ease.

Parents ask me a lot about the Hyland’s Teething tablets. Please refer to the websites below, since this is a controversial topic.

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm523468.htm

http://www.hylands.com/news/hylands-teething-recall.php

http://www.parenting.com/article/hylands-teething-tablet-recall

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/05/health/fda-teething-tablets-warning/

http://www.snopes.com/2016/10/05/fda-warns-against-the-use-of-homeopathic-teething-tablets-and-gels/