Child’s Teeth

How to Tell if Your Child is Teething

What is Teething?

Teething is the process that babies go through when the first set of teeth begins to break through their gums. When children are teething, it’s often a scary experience for them, since they don’t know how to tell you it hurts and ask what is happening to them. Most children begin teething around 6 months old and this process can last until they are about three years old. Teething is a natural process that every human goes through and is necessary to development.

Children who are teething do not always act the same. Some parents do not even know their child has a tooth until they see it or hear it hit a spoon.  While one child may alter his behavior drastically, the next child may not. Most children exhibit some kind of symptom, even if it’s as simple as being a little fussier than usual. Parents can learn to pay attention to some of the symptoms to stay ahead of the game.

Behavior for Teething Children

If you have a fairly calm, easy going child who suddenly gets crabby or fussy, that might be a sign of teething. Keep an eye on their mouth for a few days and see if anything surfaces. Most teeth come in within a few days of the symptoms. Some children will simply be tired and slightly crabby showing they are uncomfortable but unable to express why. If your child screams and cries for seemingly no reason, chances are it may be teething.

Physical Signs of Teething

There are a few physical symptoms that children might exhibit as a result of the discomfort they feel. Some children will want to chew on something, such as their fingers or something soft. Doctors feel this is a way to help relieve the pressure they feel along their gums.

Another possible symptom may be drooling. Drooling can cause some other issues, such as a mild rash on their face. This is a sign of discomfort because it may hurt them to swallow or use their mouth.

Children may stop eating or drinking or both due to discomfort in their mouths. Eating especially may cause extra pain in their mouth. Children who exhibit this symptom should be monitored closely to avoid dehydration.

Most symptoms are mild and almost immediately disappear once the tooth breaks the surface and the pain and pressure are relieved. Watch their mouth carefully and know that the symptoms will come back with the next tooth that tries to break free. If the symptoms are more severe, see your pediatrician for help on making your child more comfortable.

Research has found that teeth appear in roughly the same order across the board. The two lower front teeth, then the upper front teeth come in first. Then the lower lateral incisors come in, followed by the first molars, the canines and then the last of the molars. Most children have all 20 teeth by age 3. There are things parents can do to help children be more comfortable while teething and paying attention to the signs is very important.

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