Should Your Child See a Doctor?
Is this your child's symptom?
- Questions about teething
- Teething is the normal process of new teeth working their way through the gums
- Teeth come in between 6 and 24 months of age
- Caution: At least one tooth should be seen before using this care guide
Proven Symptoms of Teething
Teething has been researched in-depth. Kids who are teething are little different from kids who are not teething. Here are the main symptoms that have been proven:
- Drooling. Increased spit and drooling.
- Rash. Face rash from drooling. The drool contains little bits of food that are irritating to the skin.
- Chewing. Increased need to chew on things.
- Gum Pain. Gum pain is mild and not always present. May be due to mouth germs getting into the new break in the gum. Most often, your baby just acts a little more fussy. There's not enough discomfort to cause crying. It also doesn't hurt enough to cause sleep problems.
False Symptoms of Teething
- Teething does not cause fever, diarrhea, diaper rash or runny nose.
- It does not cause a lot of crying.
- It does not cause your baby to be more prone to getting sick.
- Caution about Fevers. Blaming teething for fevers can lead to a delay in seeking care for infections. Examples are ear and urinary tract infections. Another example is meningitis.
- There are 2 reasons why infections start between 6 and 12 months of age. One is the loss of antibodies transferred to baby from the mother at birth. The other is the developmental milestone of chewing on everything.
- Caution about Crying. Blaming teething for crying can lead to a delay of care for other illnesses. Examples are ear infections or other causes of pain.
When to Call for Teething
Call Doctor Now or Go to ER
- Your child looks or acts very sick
Call Doctor During Office Hours
- You think your child needs to be seen
- You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home
Estimated Urgent Care Wait Times
These are estimated wait times for each Urgent Care clinic. Wait times are typically longest during the first hour we are open and may not be reflected immediately in the online wait time. Traffic and wait times may be affected by local events or bridge closures. Please check current traffic conditions and advisory alerts on the Seattle Department of Transportation website.
Wait times may also vary depending on the severity of the illnesses we are treating. If your child’s illness or injury is life-threating, call 911.
Care Advice for Teething
- What You Should Know About Teething:
- Teething is a natural process.
- It's harmless and it may cause a little gum pain.
- The main symptoms of teething are drooling and rubbing the gums.
- It does not cause fever or crying. If these are present, look for another cause.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Gum Massage:
- Find the irritated or swollen gum.
- Rub it with your clean finger for 2 minutes.
- Do this as often as needed.
- Putting pressure on the sore gum can decrease pain.
- Age over 12 months. You can use a piece of ice wrapped in a wet cloth to rub the gum.
- Teething Rings Teethers:
- Babies rub their own sore gums by chewing on smooth, hard objects.
- Offer a teething ring, pacifier or wet washcloth that has been chilled. Chill these items in the fridge. Do not use items frozen in the freezer.
- Age over 12 months. A piece of chilled banana may help.
- Do not use hard foods that could cause choking. An example is a raw carrot.
- Do not use ice or popsicles that could cause frostbite of the gums.
- Cup Feeding:
- If your baby refuses nipple feedings, try a cup.
- A spoon or syringe can also be used for a short time as needed.
- Pain Medicine:
- Pain medicines usually are not needed for the mild discomfort of teething.
- Fussiness often gets better with gum massage. If not, you can give an acetaminophen product such as Tylenol. If age over 6 months, another choice is an ibuprofen product such as Advil. Just do this for one or two days. Reason: Frequent use can cause liver or kidney damage.
- Teething Gels: Not Advised
- You can get special teething gels without a prescription.
- Most have benzocaine in them. They are not approved by the FDA until after 2 years old.
- Reason: Benzocaine can cause choking, bluish skin and allergic reactions.
- Also, teething gels only give brief pain relief.
- Gum massage works much better.
- What to Expect:
- Most often, teething does not cause any symptoms.
- If your child is having some discomfort, it should pass in 2 or 3 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Crying occurs
- Fever occurs
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Last Reviewed: 09/01/2012
Last Revised: 09/01/2012
Copyright 1994-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.