When baby’s first teeth are preparing to erupt, it can be painful. It can also cause increased fussiness, decreased sleep (for the baby and you), and an overall unhappy kid. Teething not only causes pain, it can also cause increased drooling, constant chewing on fingers or objects, and can even result in a low grade fever. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we have some tips that you can use to help ease the pain and other symptoms.
Adding slight pressure to the irritated areas of the gums can subdue pain and relieve baby, for at least a little while. This is where a teething ring or something similar can come in handy. If you’re not having success with a teether, sometimes all it takes is a clean finger gently pressing on the gums and massaging them- just watch out for those sharp teeth!!
Try taking a wet washcloth, sealing it in a plastic bag, and putting it the freezer for about an hour. Once it’s nice and cold, take the washcloth out of the bag and allow your child to gnaw and munch on it. The fabric will help massage the gums while the cold can help numb the pain. You can also offer a pacifier or teether that’s been in the refrigerator for awhile. Don’t store these items in a freezer as they can become too hard. Lastly, if your baby has started with solid foods, freeze some fruit in a mesh bag and let them chomp away. Again, the pressure and cold will help alleviate some of the pain.
If you’re not having much success with any other options, you may want to consider an over-the-counter pain reliever. There are over-the-counter topical pain relievers (orajel, anbesol, etc) that provide topical numbing and relief. We DO NOT advise that these be used as the FDA recently issued a drug safety review requiring warning labels against use in infants and young children. These medications provide questionable relief since most of it is either swallowed or washed out with the drool. More importantly, overdosage, or excessive use has led to hospitalization with serious medical side effects in some cases. Your baby will be teething on and off for the first 2-3 years of their young life. We advise against using medications to help them tolerate these natural, on-going growing pains.
If your baby is starting to get their first teeth, you may also want to think about setting up their first appointment at our Long Island pediatric dental office. In fact, most of our newest patients are seen for the first time as early as age 1! Give us a call today to talk about your child’s teething and dental needs. We’ll be happy to help get their smiles off to a great start!