Last Sat on the day of our big move, Dana registered a higher than usual temperature. We were initially very worried as there was an outbreak of HMFD in her pre-school but it turned out that she was teething!
For few days that ensued, our Princess kept complaining of pain in her mouth (esp near the right cheek area) so we presumed her molars were erupting. Some of these symptoms presented themselves – irritability, loss of appetite, gumming and sucking and sleepless nights where she’ll wake up crying due to the pain. It was a stressful period as we were clueless how to ease her discomfort except to give her some chilled carrot and cucumber strips to chew on. Thankfully, the fever was brought down swiftly by the Panadol and Ibufen and the pain subsided yesterday with Dana’s back to her normal cheery self 🙂
Our baby’s 1st set of Teeth
I believe this chart is extremely useful for 1st time parents like us. It names the teeth and the approximate schedules of each set of teeth so we know what to expect and how to seek help (if necessary). It is normal for a baby’s first tooth to appear at any age up to 12 months. In the majority of cases, teething starts at around 4-6 months with the eruption of the lower central incisors (see diagram). A new tooth usually appears about once a month and most children have a full set of 20 primary (milk) teeth by 2 ½ years.
What causes Teething Pain?
Teething pain results from pressure exerted on the gums from the tooth below. Just before each tooth pushes through, the gum above it reddens, swells and is tender to touch. The eruption of each tooth is uncomfortable for many babies, causing pain and a few minor symptoms for 2 to 3 days.
What are the Symptoms of Toddler Teething?
Most parents find that problems associated with teething improve after their baby’s first few teeth have broken through. Then, just after his first birthday, the dreaded symptoms return:
• red and swollen gums
• red flushed cheek or face
• ear rubbing on the same side as the erupting tooth
• sleepless nights
• loss of appetite
• gum rubbing, biting or sucking
• general unhappiness
The reason is likely to be the arrival of his molars, the large teeth at the back of the mouth. Big and blunt, these teeth can take a while to push through, causing pain and misery in the meantime. (Plus, once the first teeth are through, the rest of the teeth may erupt in clusters, some on the same day or within five days of each other. Some parents also report that their baby develops a high temperature, loose bowel movements or diarrhoea just before a tooth breaks through but it’s best to consult a doctor if in doubt.
How do we soothe Teething Pains?
Gentle pressure with something cool is often the best way to relieve the pain of teething. You could simply rub his gums with your finger though you need to be a little careful: he may well object to the intrusion and tell you so with a painful bite! Better still give your toddler something else to chew on:
• A peeled, raw carrot straight from the fridge or a frozen stick of cucumber or banana is good for him to chew on and is a useful shape to reach the precise spot that is hurting him. Stay with him when he is eating it, however, to make sure he doesn’t choke on any pieces he bites off.
• A cool dessert spoon or partly-frozen wet cloth to chew on are also useful tools and offer interesting textures to keep him amused. Alternatively, a cool teething ring or dummy may also help.
You may find that your toddler will lose his appetite when he is teething. Chilled foods, like yoghurt or simple fruit purees, will soothe his gums and may be more tempting.
Drinking from a breast or bottle can be a particular problem. Sucking causes more blood to rush to the swollen areas, making them particularly sensitive. Drinking from a cup may be easier for him in the short-term. There will be times, however, when your toddler will reject all of these offerings and at these moments, a cuddle is the best therapy you can supply.