I would say that among every other dental topic, the questions I get asked most from my other mom friends is in regards to the dreaded teething phase. I certainly know a thing or two about the topic and have seen several children (my own included) in the thick of the teething phase yet I will just come right out and say that there is no one EASY answer. However, like most things, the more you know about something the better prepared you can be for it. So today I will answer a few of the most common questions that I get asked about as a pediatric dentist.
Do Babies Get Runny Noses And Fevers When Teething?
Call it an old wives tale, a myth, or just personal experience - but I am sure if you are a parent someone has told you that when your baby teeths they will get a fever, runny nose, and diarrhea. While this may very well be true - it is likely not what you think. The reason why many children get these types of cold and flu like symptoms is not because of their erupting teeth, it is because of what they are doing during this teething phase. Think about it.... what does every little babe do when they are having discomfort with those pesky teeth? They stick their hands, and just about any other item they can get their little fingers around into their mouths! Add to this the young age of a child and the fact that they have not been exposed to a lot of germs in their young lives and what do you get??? You get viruses my friends! So while teething itself is not likely the cause of your little one's fever, runny nose, and diarrhea (and associated diaper rash), it is likely a byproduct of the attempt to relieve those symptoms.
Is Teething Pain Worse In The Evening?
Anther common questions is why teething pain and discomfort is worse during the night time hours. This is actually quite typical with any sickness or injury with anyone - symptoms are usually worse at night. The reason for this? At nighttime our bodies are finally allowed to relax and unwind and we are free of all the daytime distractions and noise. This means that your mind and your body actually have time to pick up on the signals of pain and discomfort that otherwise may have gotten overlooked during the day due to those distractions. So rest assured, the pain is not "greater" during these hours, it is just more noticeable as your child has a chance to unwind distraction free - providing some love and cuddles may provide enough gentle distraction to bypass this!
Can A Baby's Lateral Incisors Come In First?
And yet another common question is always phrased in terms of what order teeth come into the mouth and if it is "not normal" for certain teeth to become before others. While I will say that there is a common order of tooth eruption [central incisors, lateral incisors, first molars, canines, second molars], there are also children who get their teeth in outside of this natural order. This is not necessarily concerning as long as the other teeth make their way in eventually. If you have a family history of missing teeth or of any skin or nail conditions it may be worth a visit to a pediatric dentist early on to discuss way to detect if their are any issues with the eruption of the teeth.
How Long Does Teething Last?
In general, every single child is different in regards to several things - including when they get their teeth in, when they loose their teeth, how much discomfort they have with teething, and how long the teething phase lasts. Some children will get several teeth in quickly all at once, while others (like my dear girls) will take weeks to months of discomfort to erupt one single tooth! Just remember, at the end of the day teething is just a phase, just a blip on the radar when compared to all of the wonderful days, weeks, months, and years you will have with your child. Just hold them close, love on them, and help them to pass through the phase as gently as possible!
Looking for tips and tricks to help with the teething years? Head over to the Orange County Moms Blog where I had the honor of contributing some of my knowledge in a blog post titled: 6 Teething Tricks To Try When You Need A Lifeline
Dr. Mikaeya Kalantari has been a practicing pediatric dentist for over 7 years working in both the children's hospital setting and private practice. She has had a wealth of experience treating children of all ages, and medical conditions. When it comes to serving children, she feels the importance of communication between the dentist and parent can not be emphasized enough. Dr. Kalantari practices in her family owned dental office in Mission Viejo, California.