TEETHING (Cutting Teeth; Tooth Eruption)
(Cutting Teeth; Tooth Eruption)
DESCRIPTIONTeething is the sequential appearance of baby teeth and adult teeth. New teeth erupt continually from age 6 months to 3 years. Between ages 6 and 12, children lose baby teeth, which are replaced with adult teeth. The mouth, teeth, and gums are involved. Cutting teeth often causes discomfort to babies and children.
Appropriate health care includes:
Home care for teething discomfort.
Dentist's treatment (complications only).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSExcess saliva production and drooling.
Pain. (This symptom cannot be proved, but it probably does occur.)
Blood or blood blisters at the site of tooth eruption (rarely). This usually requires no treatment.
Signs & Symptoms not related to teething:
Personality or sleep disturbance. These problems are most likely occurring concurrently; there is no cause-and-effect relationship.
Normal physiological development.
Teething problems are not related to any known risk factor.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCETeething problems cannot be prevented, but your child's symptoms can be relieved.
The sequence of normal tooth eruption in children is:
First teeth (lower front teeth) at about 6 months, sooner in girls than boys.
First adult teeth at about age 6.
Bicuspids (side teeth) between ages 10 and 12.
Permanent molars at about age 12.
MEDICAL TESTSYour own observation of teething symptoms.
If not cared for properly, baby teeth may decay and need filling.
Teething may be misdiagnosed as a fever-causing illness.
Your child's teething discomfort can be partially relieved.
Rub the child's gums with your finger; this is very comforting.
Freeze a coarse washcloth and allow the child to chew it.
Offer the child a teething biscuit or teething ring (you may chill it).
Don't use any imported, fluid-filled teething rings--even if they are less expensive. The liquid inside may be contaminated.
Clean new teeth with a cotton swab and water if you notice any collection of tartar. Otherwise, wait until the child is 2 or 3 years old before brushing teeth regularly. By this age, children want to imitate parents by brushing teeth.
Begin regular dental visits at age 2 or 3.
At age 5, explain to the child that losing baby teeth is normal. This prevents the child from becoming concerned when tooth loss begins.
MEDICATIONMedicine usually is not necessary for teething discomfort. Don't use tooth powder, ointment, or cream to relieve your child's discomfort.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
Children may find biting apples and other firm foods uncomfortable when teeth are loose. Try to maintain a full, well-balanced diet for your child.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child's temperature rises above normal.
Signs of infection, such as pain, pus, excessive swelling, or very red gums, occur at the site of the erupting tooth.