Teething (cont.)

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What are the signs and symptoms of teething?

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Teething is generally associated with gum and jaw discomfort as the infant's tooth prepares to erupt through the gum surface. As the tooth moves beneath the surface of the gum tissue, the area may appear slightly red or swollen. 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 larger molars may 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. With the exception of the eruption of the third molars (wisdom teeth), eruption of permanent teeth rarely cause the discomfort associated with eruption of "baby" (primary or deciduous) teeth.

Teething may cause the following symptoms:

  • Increased drooling
  • Restless or decreased sleeping due to gum discomfort
  • Refusal of food due to soreness of the gum region
  • Fussiness that comes and goes
  • Bringing hands to the mouth
  • Mild rash around the mouth due to skin irritation secondary to excessive drooling
  • Rubbing the cheek or ear region as a consequence of referred pain during the eruption of the molars

Importantly, teething is not associated with the following symptoms:

  • Fever (especially over 101 F)
  • Diarrhea, runny nose, and cough
  • Prolonged fussiness
  • Rashes over the body
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/19/2014

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