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One tooth. Two tooth. Red tooth. Blue tooth.

One tooth. Two tooth. Red tooth. Blue tooth.
By Emilee Peeples Milling

Teeth timetable

Typically, when a child is born, teeth are not visible in his mouth. Teeth are amazing because they begin forming in the jaws when the infant is only six weeks in utero. Although children do not have teeth present, it does not mean they do not have oral health issues. A baby faces many transitions after birth. Learning to eat from the mouth and not an umbilical cord is the first challenge to tackle. By three months old, he or she will begin drooling profusely. While drooling can be attributed to teething, new teeth are often not the source at this stage. Typically, the first tooth erupts around the age of six months, and you can expect that to begin with the bottom middle teeth.

Twenty baby teeth.

That’s what you get.

Ten top teeth, and the bottom, there’s ten.

That is exactly how many teeth you will get in.

 

Teething or not?

The difficult thing about teething is that infants cannot verbally express what they are feeling. Can it cause a fever? The child can have an elevated temperature when a tooth is erupting but never over 100.4°F, which would indicate the child has an illness. Local pediatrician, Dr. Amanda Penny says, “Frequently parents call my office stating their infant is pulling on his or her ears. Babies pull on their ears at times when they are teething. An office visit is usually warranted to discern the cause of the ear pain. Over the phone, I cannot tell if the ear discomfort is caused by infection or referred pain from teething.” Can it cause diarrhea or vomiting? No, and if your child experiences either of these symptoms, it is unrelated to the teeth. Can it cause discomfort and fussiness? Yes, but not always. In dental school, I learned the only thing 100 percent associated with teething is… teeth will appear.

When your child starts to drool,

And becomes fussy at school,

He may be sad, or mad, or bad.

Teeth may be coming through the gum pad.

 

Teething Remedies that Work

In today’s world, we have access to many things that can alleviate teething discomfort. Firstly, there are toys and teethers: the banana teething toothbrush, Sophie the Giraffe, and teething toys that can be frozen. There are a million different products. Many of these are safe for kids to use. One affordable option is to use a washcloth. Try soaking a corner of a washcloth in water, then freeze it and have your baby chew on it. You can try using warm water instead. Sometimes a combination of the two can be helpful. Another great option is to freeze some breastmilk or fruit puree in an ice cube tray and place it in a Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder.

Secondly, there is the ultra-glam, quite popular, albeit controversial, amber teething jewelry. The science behind the amber jewelry is that the baby’s body temperature warms the resin, which in turn releases succinic acid to be absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream to relieve teething inflammation. Succinic acid is FDA approved and used in arthritic creams. There is not enough scientific research to support the validity of the mechanism of action of the teething necklaces. Texas Children’s Hospital conducted a study and found succinic acid is not released from amber until it reaches 392° F, which is significantly warmer than body temperature at 98.6 °F. Although the FDA has approved succinic acid, they released the following statement: “Children should not use teething jewelry, which can lead to choking or strangulation.”

Thirdly, there is the medication category. Teething gels and tablets are not recommended because many contain benzocaine or belladonna which can reach toxic levels for infants quickly. When my kids suffer from what I suspect is teething pain, I reach for Tylenol or Motrin.

Whether it be jewelry,

Toys or teethers,

Massage or medication,

I hope this aids in your teething desperation.

 

Emilee Peeples Milling received her doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry in 2014 and graduated from the University of Florida. Following graduation, she returned to her hometown Jackson to join Young and Milling Pediatric Dentistry. Find her at team@simmonsyoung.com or visit www.simmonsyoung.com.

 

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