Basics of Baby Teething Symptoms and Remedies for Dads

By Mathew Miller, Sharon Perkins

Dads peer into their infants’ mouths looking for teeth like gold miners sifting through the silt for nuggets of gold. When it comes to teeth, the best thing you can do is relax. All children, with very few exceptions, get teeth eventually, and prying your kid’s mouth open to search for a pearly white doesn’t make them come in any faster.

Keeping in mind that these guidelines have many exceptions, you generally can expect teeth to appear in this order and at these times:

  • The first tooth appears between four and seven months.

  • The two lower middle teeth usually come in first.

  • The two upper middle teeth follow next.

  • The back teeth are the last to come, usually around age 2; you probably won’t be all that excited by new teeth by then and may not even notice.

  • By age 3, your child will have 20 teeth, 10 on each level.

After you get over the thrill of finding a new tooth, you may be consumed with ways to ease the discomfort of teething. Although alcohol, an old-fashioned remedy for easing the pain of teething, shouldn’t be applied to baby’s gums, it may help to apply it to yours. You can decrease teething discomfort in your baby with the following:

  • Pain medication such as infant’s Tylenol or ibuprofen

  • Teething gels applied to the gums

  • Chilled teething rings or other items for baby to bite down on

  • Teething tablets, which are popular, over-the-counter mixtures of homeopathic medications — clear these with your baby’s doctor before using them

Teething doesn’t normally cause a fever higher than 100 degrees, so a fever still needs investigation, even if your baby is breaking in a full set of choppers all at once. (Not likely, by the way — teeth tend to trickle in in groups of no more than two at a time.) Teething can, however, cause the following:

  • Biting on everything within reach

  • Difficulty nursing or taking a bottle

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Drooling

  • Irritability

  • Swollen gums

Whether teething causes diarrhea, vomiting, and rashes other than the rashes associated with constant drooling is debatable. Kids can get sick while teething, so don’t assume that teething is responsible for sudden signs of illness.