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When do the teeth erupt?
The first tooth erupts approximately in the middle of the 7th month. However, sometimes the first tooth appears early in the third month and sometimes it hangs until the end of a year. Tooth eruption usually obeys hereditary order, thus it is possible that it will be same if your or your partner’s teeth erupted early.
What happens during tooth eruption?
Signs of tooth eruption may appear 2-3 months before the teeth becomes visible. These symptoms differ in every child and the opinions about what they are and how much pain they cause also differ in every doctor. However, it is accepted that a baby who is teething may live these experiences:
Salivating: Many babies begin salivating when 2-3 months old. Tooth eruption increases this to be more than the others in some babies.
Redness in the chin or face: In a baby, who is salivating excessively, it is not surprising that redness or fractures may occur due to the irritation caused by constant saliva contact. In order to prevent this, wipe the saliva gently periodically during the day, put a towel under the sheet for it to absorb the saliva during baby’s sleep. When dryness becomes visible in skin, keep the area wet by using a soft skin crème.
Mild cough: Excessive saliva may cause obstruction and coughing from time to time. If your baby does not have symptoms of flu, cold or allergy, there is nothing to be concerned. It is a common condition that babies may keep coughing for getting attention or increasing vocal sounds.
Biting: Biting is not an indication of hostility in this case. A baby with an erupting tooth tries to put everything in the mouth –his/her own hand, mother’s breast, someone else’s finger- and tries to relax the gingival.
Pain: Inflammation occurs under the pressure of an erupting tooth. This condition does not cause any problems while it creates unbearable pain in some. The most problematic teeth are the first tooth and molar teeth eruptions.
Irritability: As the inflammation increases and the sharp edge of a tooth come closer to surface, pain may become constant. Your baby may be as troubled as someone with chronic pain and get away from his/her normal behavior. This irritability may take weeks in some cases.
Refusing to feed: A baby who has an erupting tooth may refuse to be fed. A baby who began eating hard foods may lose interest in these foods for a while. This should not concern you. Because your baby intakes required nutrition from fluid foods and his/her appetite will come back after tooth eruption.
Diarrhea: The connection of diarrhea with tooth eruption is doubtful. Some mothers tell that their babies are having diarrhea every time they have a tooth erupting. Some doctors believe that there is a connection between bowel movements and increased saliva. Some do not want to admit that there is such connection because they believe that some parents may ignore gastrointestinal impairments by linking every diarrhea to teething. Know that your baby may have feces like diarrhea but inform your doctor about diarrheas that last longer than two times.
Fever: Fever is also a debatable symptom which is considered to be related with teething. Due to swelling in gingival, fever below 38 C may accompany to teething. Also if your baby has fever do as you did before and inform your doctor in two days.
Sleeplessness: even the babies who sleep very well at night may begin waking up during teething. Do not try to feed them right away in this case. Try to let him/her sleep back. Waking up at night is also more common during eruption of the first tooth and molar teeth.
Gingival hematoma: Sometimes an erupting tooth may cause gingival bleeding which will seem as a bluish spot. There is no need to be concerned with these hematomas as they get better spontaneously without any medical intervention. Cold compress may reduce the pain and fasten healing.
Pulling the ear, scratching the cheek: Gingival pain may reflect to the ear and cheeks. It should not be forgotten that babies pull their ears when there is an infection of the ear. Consult a doctor if you suspect an infection even if your baby is teething.
What should be done during teething?
There are dozens of tried treatment methods. Some works while some does not. You may try some of these below:
Giving something to chew: Here, the purpose is to relieve the pressure on the gingival rather than to have nutritional value. Therefore, cold things are better. Frozen donuts, a cold banana or carrot, a piece of ice covered in a cloth, a plastic tooth ring. Whatever you give to your baby, stay next to him/her and keep in sitting position.
Something to scratch the teeth: babies may reject due to the pain in the beginning, but it leaves to relief after a while.
Cold drinks: give your baby a bottle of cold water. Try glasses if baby bottle is rejected. Therefore you will also compensate your baby’s need for water and replace it.
Cold foods: Cold peach puree, apple puree, yoghurt may be more attractive to your baby than the foods in room temperature.
Something to ease the pain: If you cannot do anything else, paracetamol will be useful. Consult your doctor for dose adjustment. Do not put anything else on the gingival unless told by your doctor. Alcohol is included in this prohibition.