Your Infant is Teething: Know the Signs and Symptoms
Teething can be a challenging time for parents and babies, but the true signs and symptoms are often misunderstood. Most infants show signs of discomfort and crankiness when they experience teething as their gums become sensitive and swollen. If your baby has become fussy, gnaws or chews on fingers or fists continuously, or has lost appetite, it may be a sign of teething. The expert family physician at the Century Medical and Dental Center can identify your baby’s signs of teething and what order the baby’s teeth are likely to appear in. The experienced doctors in NY understand the discomfort and pain your baby is going through and soothe them in the best possible ways to make this time easy for them.
Most of the baby’s cut their first tooth when they are about six months old, although signs of teething start well before that. It is a feeling of great joy seeing your baby getting the first tooth, but this is not an easy process, neither for the baby nor for the parents. Teething makes babies grumpy and uncomfortable, which means they are more likely to cry and fuss during this time.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of teething and how to soothe them can help you take good care of your baby during a potentially uncomfortable time.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of teething, how long they may last, what they indicate, and what you can do to ensure your happy, and smiling baby does not turn into a teary and cranky mess.
When Does Teething Begin for Infants?
Teething is a normal developmental stage that involves the process of teeth growing and then breaking through the gums. It is a slow process, and it may take months before you see the first tooth coming out. When it comes to teething, all babies are different, but most babies usually get their first tooth any time during their first year.
Teething usually starts from four to eight months with the lower front teeth and continues till 30 to 36 months till the last set of molars appears. During the teething period, babies can face a lot of symptoms that make them cranky, clingy, and fussier than usual.
Commonly Experienced Symptoms of Teething and How to Soothe Them
Every baby goes through the teething process differently. Some have virtually no symptoms, while others suffer through months of pain and fussiness.
Some common teething symptoms include:
- Disturbed sleep patterns;
- Swelling or inflammation of the gums;
- Loss of appetite;
- Rashes around the mouth;
- Mild temperature;
- Increased biting and gum rubbing;
- Ear rubbing.
Almost 70 to 80% of parents reported these teething symptoms in their babies, but not all infants experience the same symptoms.
It results from the discomfort of the tooth erupting through the gums. It has been reported that the first teeth and molars are the most uncomfortable. Your little one may seem a little fussier and may cry more than usual.
How to soothe your infant
Cuddling the baby is the best way to help them when they are going through a hard time with teething. Every baby can use some cuddle time when they are not feeling well and do not understand what is happening to them. The extra time you spend with your baby can alleviate their pain and give them a feeling of comfort and reassurance.
Teething can stimulate drooling, and many babies drool a lot when they are about to cut a tooth. Experts believe that extra saliva can soothe tender gums. In some cases, excessive drooling can cause a rash around the mouth, cheeks, chin, and neck area. This is due to the accumulation of bacteria on the skin from the saliva.
How to help the baby
Try to keep the mouth, chin, and neck as dry as possible by periodically wiping the area. Applying a simple barrier cream can also help with dry, chapped, and sore skin.
The extra saliva produced during the teething process can lead to occasional cough or gag.
How to help the baby with coughing
If your baby continues to cough or if the cough is followed by high fever and flu or cold symptoms, contact a pediatrician. The high fever with cold and flu symptoms are not related to teething, but it is a sign that your baby is sick.
Biting and chewing
The counter pressure from biting on practically anything can alleviate the pressure under the gums.
How to soothe the baby
Anything cold works great in this condition. You can also get your baby chewing rings, chew beads, and commercial teething toys that relieve their aching gums.
A low-grade fever is defined and caused by infants putting dirty hands in their mouths. In some cases, it may not be teething but for a more severe illness that needs medical attention.
How to help the infant
Using an age-appropriate pain and fever medication is the best option. You should also seek guidance from the pediatrician to keep an eye on the baby’s condition.
Babies rub or pull on their ears when the molars are erupting as it causes pain in the gums. Sometimes, this pain can also travel to the cheek. Pulling or rubbing on ears is also a sign of ear infection.
How to help your infant
Try rubbing and massaging the gums with a clean finger for one to two minutes to ease the discomfort. Contact a doctor if your baby’s condition does not seem to be improving.
Increased saliva produced during teething can cause stool to become slightly loose. It is essential to know that diarrhea can also be a sign of some infection that makes the stools watery. It is necessary to seek medical attention as your infant could be at risk of dehydration if the diarrhea is severe. Diarrhea should not be taken lightly, especially if it is accompanied by vomiting and high fever.
Loss of appetite
Teething is a 24/7 endeavor which means it affects all areas of a baby’s life and most babies face changes in eating and sleeping routines. A child, who is teething, will struggle to nurse or drink from a bottle as sucking is painful to teething gums. If they are older, they may refuse solid foods they loved just before.
Disturbed sleep patterns
Teething pain can also disrupt sleeping patterns. Even babies who slept throughout the night before teething may cry or fret during the night.
Your child’s pediatrician can be a helpful resource for how to soothe the baby during teething. They can advise you on the best ways to use over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and non-medicated teething products that can relieve pain and discomfort.
Teething Symptoms and Cold
Sometimes teething symptoms are mistaken for signs of cold in babies. Research shows that teething begins around six months. It is the same time when an infant’s immunities, which they received from their mother through the placenta, begin to diminish. It means that the infant’s own immune system is developing.
During this time, infants are more vulnerable to minor infections. As the two changes are taking place at the same time, the symptoms of teething can be confused with minor illness or cold and vice versa. It is the reason why only 70 to 80% of parents reported teething problems in their infants. The rest of the parents believed their infant was experiencing symptoms of a cold.
If your little one is showing symptoms like fever, irritability, diarrhea, or any other signs of illness and you are not sure whether it is a result of teething or something else, call your primary care doctor. The experienced and board-certified specialists at the Century Medical and Dental Center help you understand the normal process of teeth working their way through the gums and answer any questions you may have regarding the teething process. The doctor will accurately diagnose what is happening and come up with an effective treatment plan to provide relief to your baby.