What to do for Teething

Teething gets blamed for more problems than it causes. In my experience, the average age for the first tooth erupting is about 9 months. This is different than the ages that I have seen reported in other sources. Other than a baby who is born with a tooth, the earliest first tooth I have ever seen was 4 months of age. That is rare. Usually early teething starts at 6 months of age. Many babies don’t get any teeth until after 12 months.
Babies begin putting things in their mouths, chewing and drooling at 4 months. This is independent of teething and is called the oral stage of development.
It can take days to weeks for a tooth to erupt. It is painful and causes an increase in drooling, mildly elevated temperature of less than 100F, maybe a runny nose and ear pulling.
Tylenol and Ibuprofen are the best treatments for teething pain. Chewing on teething rings can help. Cold teething rings feel good on painful gums also. Frozen items to chew should be avoided because they can and have caused frostbite in babies. I do not recommend “teething drops” other than the pain relievers listed already. I do not know of any benefit from them. Pain relievers can be continued for days or weeks.
Once a baby has teeth, they should see a Dentist. Pediatric Dentists will examine a baby at any age and discuss proper tooth care. Adult Dentists usually won’t see children until they are at least 2 years old.
Teeth continue to erupt until about 15-18 months, before there is a break. If you are not sure if the symptoms are from teething, you can have the baby examined for other causes, such as an ear infection.

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