I’m trying to decide if we should visit a pediatric dentist or try to continue treating my kiddo at home. Jake just turned two in August and I’m pretty sure his two-year molars are coming in. He’s normally a cheerful little guy, but lately he’s been grouchy and downright inconsolable at times. We’re seeing issues similar to what happened when he was teething… a bit of drooling, more middle-of-the-night wake-ups, and constant chewing on just about everything. Sometimes he sits around 99.0°F, though a time or two I caught him at a little over 101.0°F. Tylenol always brings it back down and helps him settle in again though.
He isn’t really agreeable when I try to look, but I’m fairly certain I caught a glimpse of white coming in on the bottom left a few days ago. This has been going on for about two weeks at this point, though, so I’m starting to worry. At the same time, the poor little guy is pretty miserable right now. I’d hate to subject him to an exam if it isn’t necessary. Should it be checked out or should I keep treating it at home?
You’re probably right in that this is pain related to cutting teeth, but it’s a good idea to book the appointment anyway. Let’s break it down though.
The First Pediatric Dentist Visit Should Happen When a Child’s First Teeth Arrive
Lots of parents don’t realize this unless the pediatrician tells them, but little ones should see a family or pediatric dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges. It’s an opportunity for a professional to assess development and catch any potential issues early, plus give you guidance on what to expect and how to care for your little one’s teeth. The actual exam is typically very quick and kids tolerate it well, especially if Mom or Dad is there and is upbeat. Based on this alone, it’s a good idea for Jake to be seen.
Most of the Symptoms You Describe Sound “Normal”
Lower molars typically make an appearance around 23-31 months and upper molars follow around 25-33 months. Usually, it’s a few days to a week of fussing per tooth, so it’s not abnormal for it to continue a couple of weeks as the lowers are coming in. Common symptoms include:
- Waking up at night or worsening symptoms at night
- Chewing on clothing, hands, and objects
- Visibly sore or red gums
- Low-grade fever of around 99.0°F taken rectally
The Higher Fever is Worrisome
Your kiddo has a higher fever than what’s normally seen when children cut teeth. It may indicate he’s fighting off a viral infection or has something else going on. For that reason, it’s a good idea to touch base with your pediatrician.
You Should Also Be Able to Visually Assess
You absolutely must work with Jake to get a good look at what’s happening in his mouth. Sometimes parents get around contrary kiddos by being silly, singing, making funny noises, sticking out their tongues, etc. to see if the little one will respond in kind. At this stage, you should also be brushing his teeth a couple of times a day for him—you can’t do that effectively if you can’t see. So, that’s something for the two of you to work on together sooner rather than later.
Tips for Teething
Again, you should touch base with a pediatric dentist and pediatrician, but in the meantime, you can continue using traditional teething relief methods such as:
- Distracting the child with fun activities
- Offering teething rings designed for chewing
- Giving the child a washcloth soaked in ice water
- Using pain relievers if approved by the doctor
Hope this helps. Best of luck to you and Jake!
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Raymond Bolt, a general dentist providing pediatric dentistry services in Auburn, AL.