Attending to your child’s dental hygiene begins as soon as the first tooth begins erupting above the gum line. Teething can occur as soon as three months old, and in rare cases, begins shortly after birth. Usually, the first teeth to erupt above the gum are the bottom teeth- the central incisors. The average time for this to occur is around six months old, although this could vary greatly. Your child will continue teething until the age of three, or until all twenty of the milk teeth appear.
This is a very stressful period for your baby, especially with the first four teeth. The gums are extremely sensitive and your baby has not yet built up a tolerance for teething pain. Common symptoms of teething are swollen gums, irritability, appetite loss and drooling. Many teething babies have difficulty sleeping at night without the distractions that make teething pain less noticeable.
Las Vegas Dentist Teething Remedies
Teething babies tend to bite and chew on anything they can put into their mouths. The pressure eases the pain and helps the teeth break through the gum tissue. There are several things you can do to ease your baby’s discomfort; massaging the gums gently with your fingers, running a cold spoon along the gums, or giving the baby a cold, wet wash cloth to chew on will all help reduce the swelling and allow the baby’s teeth to break through.
Many parents give their baby a pacifier or teething ring during this uncomfortable time period. While they effectively ease the pain, there are some things you should remember if you are choosing this route. Prolonged use can cause pacifiers and teething rings to break apart if they are made in fused together pieces. The broken piece can become lodged in the throat, causing choking. If you buy your baby a pacifier or teething ring, make sure it was made as a solid piece.
Chilled teething rings are very soothing, but be careful that you don’t leave it in the freezer too long! A frozen teething ring becomes too hard, capable of bruising and damaging your baby’s gums and even of causing frost bite. In between chewing sessions, wash the teething ring thoroughly and place it in a spot where it will stay clean.
Pacify without a Pacifier!
Pacifiers should be used with caution, says your Las Vegas dentist. Allowing your baby to habitually suck on a pacifier can cause problems such as crooked teeth and built up bacteria in the mouth, in the same manner as habitual thumb sucking. Begin discouraging thumb sucking early, by gently removing the hand from the mouth as the baby falls asleep, and minimize the use of the pacifier to relief of teething pain.
When giving a baby a pacifier, examine it routinely for any sign of wear or breakage. If the pacifier begins to look frayed, throw it away and buy a new one. Do not sweeten the pacifier with sugar, or other sweetened liquids. Sugar and fermentable liquids from pacifiers and baby bottles are the leading cause of early childhood caries.
There are many over the counter remedies for teething pain, but do not try any of them before consulting your pediatrician first. If you live in Las Vegas, check with your pediatric dentist to give your baby early dental hygiene and strong, healthy teeth.
Chad Greenway wrote this article about Las Vegas Dentists for, you guessed it, a Las Vegas Dentist. See Dr. Stephen Delisle today for all your dental needs.