Pediatric dentists see patients from birth to (typically) age twenty-one. In one chair there may be a college age teen who needs his wisdom teeth removed, and in the next, an eight month old with new teeth just coming in. It is important to have the first visit to the dentist by age one (or within six months after the first tooth erupts) to establish preventive strategies and make sure dental development is progressing normally.
What concerns many parents are the teething problems associated with the erupting baby teeth. As the new tooth gets closer to the surface, the gum thins out and you often can see the new tooth bulging right under the thin gum tissue. Eventually, the gum opens up and the gentile eruptive force of the new tooth moves the tooth up into the mouth.
Honestly, it varies a lot from child to child. Typically, you might expect the first baby tooth to come in around 6 months of age (see this Dental Growth and Development Chart from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry), however it is not uncommon to see children getting their teeth in as early as three months or children who are one year of age who don’t have their first tooth yet. And believe it or not, there are actually some children born with a tooth already!
The first tooth to come in is typically a lower front incisor. After that, the order varies with the front four upper and lower teeth coming in first, then the first molars in the back around one year of age or so. Again, this is different between children. If you are concerned about any delay, please call MacKoul Pediatrics Cape Coral or contact your pediatric dentist.
Most of the time (and with any luck) babies will not fuss or complain much when cutting their teeth. There are, however, times when there are definite signs of teething discomfort. Many children will begin to drool more than usual. It’s normal for babies to put things in their mouth while exploring new textures, but they may want to chew objects a little more than usual to massage the sore gum areas. They may also become grumpy or more agitated than usual — or even run a slight fever. Mild diarrhea the day the tooth comes in is not unusual, either. Constant or severe diarrhea is not normal and should be evaluated by your pediatrician here at MacKoul.
We caution parents to not be too quick to blame a high fever on teething. New teeth erupting can definitely cause a slightly elevated temperature, however a fever of one hundred or higher should always be looked at with concern as young children are also susceptible to a myriad of other conditions that can also cause a fever. Ear infections are a very common cause of high fevers in babies, for example. In fact, there are many other infections and conditions that can cause a baby to drool, complain and have a high fever, so consult your pediatrician at MacKoul if the fever gets high, or if you are just not sure.
We suggest using cold teething rings or something soft (and safe) so they can chew and help themselves feel better. Over the counter remedies may help as well. Teething tablets are a common go-to for many parents faced with a screaming, teething child. They are all natural and safe to use and have been anecdotally shown to relieve a child’s pain. Another option is the use of Baby Oragel, although there is some choking concerns regarding the use of creams containing benzocaine, a topical anesthetic that numbs the immediate area when placed on the gums. While we have not seen any definitive study that would cause any concern, it would still be best to err on the side of caution and use it in a limited fashion. Place a small amount on the gums where the tooth is erupting to provide temporary relief. Tylenol is OK in appropriate dosages if the child is particularly grumpy or has a low-grade fever — but again, do not dismiss a high fever as just teething and be sure to consult your pediatrician at MacKoul Pediatrics Cape Coral before administering any medications.
MacKoul Pediatrics is an amazing local pediatrics office in Cape Coral, FL where caring, compassionate doctors and nurses work with you to keep your children as healthy as possible. MacKoul cares for children from birth to college age, from Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond.
September 14, 2016