How to Make Teething Less Painful for Babies

Our Dental Blog | Child Dentistry | 09.16.2019

Your baby goes through many changes in a short period of time. It can be overwhelming learning to read their cues so you can keep them comfortable and happy. When it comes to teething, it can be frustrating for both you and your baby. You will probably start to see signs your baby is teething at around four to seven months. Even parents who have had more than one child will find teething a bit of a mystery. This is because every baby experiences teething differently. Although it will be a bit stressful surviving the teething process, you can make things easier for yourself and your baby with these simple tips.

Recognizing the Signs of Teething

Teething is painful. Babies show signs of discomfort for several reasons, which means you might not recognize teething as the culprit at first. However, as the symptoms progress, it will become apparent that they are teething. Here is what to look for:

  • Swollen gums
  • Fussiness
  • A mild fever (38.3 degrees or lower)
  • Increased drooling
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Gnawing action
  • Teeth emerging from the gum line
  • Pulling on their ears
  • Rubbing their face
  • Additional signs of teething

There are other signs that some babies might show in addition to the more common ones. In this case, you might be worried that your baby is ill as there are odd symptoms associated with teething, including:

  • Face rash: This is caused when your baby is producing excess drool. It can be irritating to their skin and develop a rash.
  • Diarrhea: Drooling can also cause diarrhea, as they are swallowing the drool.
  • Blood blisters on the gums: these can be a little scary to see, but they are common as the teeth are breaking through the gums.
  • Swollen lymph nodes: The fever that can occur during teething often comes with swollen lymph nodes.

Although these symptoms can be associated with teething, you should see your doctor to rule out other illnesses if you are worried.

Relief from Teething Pain

Your baby will more than likely become very cranky when teething. This is because it can be painful. Even mild pain is something your baby will not understand and, therefore, it can really make them miserable. You can try these tips to help relieve the pain:

  • Gum massage: Gently massaging your baby’s gums with your clean finger can help soothe their pain. A little pressure is all that is needed. Be careful because if the tooth has already come through, it can be sharper than you expect!
  • Chilled teething ring: Your child will naturally have the urge to chew and gnaw on things. Offering them a teething ring can help. You can place the teething ring in the fridge to add coolness when they chew. We don’t recommend using the teethers that contain liquid as they can burst. Also, make sure you only place the teethers in the fridge, not the freezer, as the freezer will make the ring too cold.
  • Cold treats: It can be discouraging when your baby isn’t interested in food when teething. They are going to form an aversion to warm foods during this time in most cases. What you can do to help both alleviate discomfort and encourage eating is to offer them cold treats. Cold apple wedges are nice for them to eat and also gnaw on to ease discomfort. Cold water in a sippy cup with ice is also relieving. Just make sure to use a sippy cup so they can’t choke on the ice.
  • Playful distractions: Keeping your baby occupied will help keep their mind off the pain. Offer them toys, take a walk to the park, or find ways to play with them and make them laugh.
  • Lots of cuddles: Although some children might be too cranky for cuddles, you can try holding them and cuddling them to provide some comfort.

Dealing with Drooling

As mentioned, your baby will be drooling excessively when teething. You’ll want to keep a good supply of clean bibs handy during the teething months. This will keep them comfortable and also help avoid rashes from the endless dampness around their face and neck. Gently wipe or pat your baby’s face dry to avoid irritation. Rubbing too much can be more irritating to the rash, so always be gentle and pat dry.

Does my baby need to see a doctor when teething?

It is always best to see your doctor to rule out other possible issues such as cold, flu, or ear infections which share many of the symptoms of teething. We recommend a doctor’s visit when you see the following additional symptoms:

  • A fever over 38.3 degrees
  • Rash over other parts of the body
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting

When to see the Dentist

You can visit our office as soon as your baby cuts their first tooth. At Treehouse Dental Care, we like to see our young patients prior to their first birthday. Although this might seem early, we want children to develop a comfortable rapport with our team as soon as possible. When children are familiar with their dentist, they will be more comfortable as they get older and the exams become more thorough. This will help them form healthy relationships with their dentist and develop strong oral hygiene habits.

Although teething can prove to be a trying time for both baby and parents, just remember it is only temporary. The good news is that all the fussiness and discomfort won’t be remembered by your child.

These tips will help keep your baby more comfortable and, hopefully, reduce your stress as parents. By arranging a dental appointment with our team as each new tooth appears, you will also be setting them on the path to dental health for life.

If your baby has cut their first tooth, click here to set up their first appointment.

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