Is my baby teething or is my baby sick?
Is your child suddenly more irritable than usual? Has trouble eating and sleeping? Our
resident Dentist Dr. Frances Esguerra gives a comprehensive, iwas-praning guide for first-time moms (or beginner dads!) on how to tell if a child is just teething, or is actually suffering from fever or other illness.
How can parents tell the difference between teething symptoms and fever?
Teething generally occurs when the baby is 6 months to age 2. It is a process wherein the tooth come out of the baby’s gums – literally, a small tearing occurs. As the tooth pushed through the gums, it will eventually rupture the sac. If symptoms develop during teething, they usually occur approximately four days before and up to three days after the tooth comes out.
As a result, your baby will really feel irritable due to discomfort and pain.
When the baby is teething, the most common signs and symptoms include excessive drooling and increased chewing. You might notice that your baby wants to bite on any object, or grab anything that they can get hold of, and place it inside their mouth. The teething phase usually lasts a few days at the most.
To soothe your baby, you can use a soft washcloth to massage the area in their mouth where they feel discomfort. Another option is to give them something soothing to chew on, such as a chilled non-gel teething toy or a chilled fruit. You can even make breast milk ice cubes or give them a chilled baby toothbrush to chew on the whole day. Most importantly, give them tender cuddling!
First-time parents usually suspect teething if their baby comes down with a fever. Your doctor would usually prescribe an infant pain reliever such as paracetamol or acetaminophen, which are useful for easing teething pain. So if your baby has a fever and it’s not caused by teething, you can bring them to the pediatrician to be checked since fever occurs if there’s bacteria or an infection.
The whole teething process is usually complete by the age of two to three. Until then, parents must always be aware of whatever their baby is putting inside their mouth, and be observant of anything out of the ordinary.
About The Expert
DR. JOYCELYN FRANCES ESGUERRA, Dentist
Dr. is the dental and oral healthcare expert of Wyeth Nutrition parenTeam. Having run a private clinic for more than 20 years now, Dr. Joycelyn Esguerra has developed an expertise in orthodontics, TMJ orthopedics, cosmetic dentistry, and biological dentistry. As a dentist, her work has included educating patients on oral care, assessing teeth and diagnosing patients' dental conditions, evaluating treatment options and providing treatment plans to patients, and carrying out clinical treatments such as restoring teeth affected by decay and treating gum disease.
Dr. Esguerra received her degree of Doctor of Dental of Medicine from the College of Dentistry at the University of the East in Manila. She also completed a 6-month long comprehensive preceptorship program on Functional Jaw Orthopedics and TMJ Dentistry at the TMJ Integrative Dentistry Academy of the Philippines.
An active member of the medical community, she has served the Mandaluyong City Dental Chapter in various roles, including President, Executive Vice President, and Board of Director. Dr. Esguerra is also part of the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) and the TMJ Integrative Academy of the Philippines.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.