Teething

Symptom Definition

  • New primary teeth are seen working their way through the gums
  • Teeth come in between 6 and 24 months of age
  • Main symptoms are increased saliva, drooling and desire to chew on things
  • Occasional symptoms: mild gum pain. Not enough to cause crying or interfere with sleep.
  • Does not cause fever (rarely gets to 101°F), diarrhea, diaper rash or lowered resistance to infection
  • Caution: Blaming teething for fevers can lead to a delayed diagnosis of ear infections, urinary tract infections, meningitis and other infections

See More Appropriate Topic

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  • Your child looks or acts very sick

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If

  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • You have other questions or concerns

Parent Care at Home If

  • This is normal teething and you don't think your child needs to be seen

Home Care Advice for Teething

  1. Reassurance: Teething is a natural process. It's harmless and it causes little if any pain. It doesn't cause fever or crying.
  2. Gum Massage: Find the irritated or swollen gum. Massage it with your finger for 2 minutes. Do this as often as necessary. You may use a piece of ice wrapped in a wet cloth to massage the gum.
  3. Teething Rings or Teething Biscuits:
  4. Infants massage their own gums by chewing on smooth, hard objects.
    • Offer a teething ring or wet washcloth that has been chilled in the refrigerator, but not frozen in the freezer. A piece of chilled banana may help.
    • Avoid hard foods that could cause choking (e.g., raw carrots).
    • Avoid ice or Popsicles that could cause frostbite of the gums.
  5. Cup Feeding: If your infant refuses nipple feedings, use a cup temporarily.
  6. Pain Medicine: If the pain increases, give acetaminophen orally for 1 day. (Special teething gels are unnecessary. If you want to use one, don't apply it more than 4 times a day. Reason: risk of overdosage)
  7. Call Your Doctor If
    • Develops unexplained crying
    • Develops fever > 101°F (38.4°C)
    • Your child becomes worse