What is Teething?
Teething refers to the process of new teeth rising or erupting through the gums. It can begin in infants as young as 2 months of age, even though the first tooth usually does not appear until about age 6 months of age. Some dentists have noted a family pattern of “early,” “average,” or “late” teethers. Usually, the first tooth to erupt is one of the lower, central incisors. Some children will have a pattern of serial eruption of their teeth. Others will have multiple dental eruptions at the same time. As the tooth penetrates the gums, the area may appear slightly red or swollen over the tooth. Sometimes a fluid-filled area similar to a “blood blister” may be seen over the erupting tooth.
Some teeth may be more sensitive than others when they erupt. The first tooth to erupt may be the most sensitive. Sometimes, the larger molars cause more discomfort due to their larger surface area that can’t “slice” through the gum tissue as an erupting incisor is capable of doing.
Many children have little or no problem with teething, while others may have significant discomfort. Usually, the pain with teething comes and goes and may seem to ease after several minutes.
When To Seek Medical Care:
Because teething is so common and other symptoms such as fever, fussiness, colds, and diarrhea are also common, both conditions may often occur at the same time. Teething may not be causing these symptoms. Other illnesses or disorders (for example, viral infections) are much more likely to be causing fever, fussiness, nasal congestion with cough, and diarrhea. It is important to contact your doctor if these or other symptoms seem concerning to you. Do not assume that they are just from the teething. Teething should not require emergency care. If there is concern that something other than teething may be causing symptoms, contact your health-care provider.