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Teething

Definition
Teething is sequential appearance of milk as well as permanent teeth. New teeth erupt continually from age 6 months to 3 years. Between ages 6 and 12, children lose milk teeth, which are replaced with permanent teeth.

Problems faced during teething

  • Excess saliva production and drooling.
  • Pain. (This cannot be proved, but 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:

  • Fever; infection.
  • Personality or sleep disturbance. These problems occur coincidentally; there is no cause-and-effect relationship.
  • May be associated with loose stools.

Other:

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.

There is a tendency in mothers to blame any abnormality in children on teething. This at times results in neglecting important symptoms.

Possible Complications

  • If not cared for properly, baby teeth may decay and need filling.
  • Teething may be misdiagnosed as a fever-causing illness.

How to relieve teething discomfort?

General Measures

  • 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 teeth 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.

Medication
Medicine usually is not necessary for teething discomfort. Don't use tooth powder, ointment or cream to relieve discomfort.

Contact Your Doctor

  • The 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.