Teething is a Pain. Literally.

Teething baby: lower right incisor broken through.

When my babies get their first teeth they somehow cease to be babies.  That yummy, toothless smile, so delightful and winsome, becomes older, more experienced.  It brings with it the promise of solid food, cruising and toddlerhood.

Also sleep deprivation.  Lots of sleep deprivation.

Just after my baby started sleeping beautifully, blissfully through the night, BAM.  Tooth city!  Well, at least I think it’s teething.  Here are the symptoms:

  • Gnawing on things (like my fingers.  He already has two teeth, so, ow!)
  • Pulling on his ears (did you know that teething pain can feel like ear pain?  Yowza!)
  • Drooling (it’s like a waterfall over here)
  • Congestion (a cruel side effect, if you ask me)
  • Interrupted sleep (an even crueler side effect for all of us)
  • Kvetchiness (poor kiddo)

So, even though I see all these  classic signs of teething (at least according to Dr. Sears), because I don’t see the outline of a little tooth, I still halfway think I’m making it up.  That little voice inside my head keeps saying

“What if he just has an ear infection?  What if it’s a double ear infection?  What if, what if, WHAT IF?!?!”

I would simply go to the doctor, but our insurance doesn’t start until August 1st (fun fun), and my suggestion that I trail my husband to work and get him to covertly use one of the hospital’s otoscopes was shot down (I though it was a good plan).  Also, we both think it’s teething.

So, I’ve been doing some of what is recommended for teething:

  • Giving him cold things to chew on (so proud/amazed that I actually keep the teething rings in the fridge)
  • Acetaminophen (that’s Tylenol’s “other” name)
  • Cuddling and affection (the poor little guy is in pain.  So sad)
  • Davening (okay, not exactly recommended on WebMD, but I think it’s pretty effective

When doing a little research for teething relief, I stumbled across some natural and homeopathic remedies.  I found this link to amber necklaces – no, not to chew on, to wear.  For the baby.  Has anyone ever done this?  Or known anyone who did it?  I am highly skeptical here, and I’m into that kind of stuff.  Well, kinda.

What would you do in my situation?  Go to the emergency room and wait for a doctor to look in his ears?  Try to track down a pediatrician at home and cajole them into using their otoscope?  Buy our own otoscope on ebay?

Please advise.


image via Wikipedia

8 thoughts on “Teething is a Pain. Literally.

  1. We’ve learned that pulling on ears is one of the LEAST reliable signs of an ear infection. There is a device you can use at home, it’s supposed to measure fluid levels in the ear by sending a high-pitched “ping” (think sonar) down the ear canal. Depending on the returning frequency, it can determine how much fluid. The more fluid, the more likely an ear infection. I don’t own one, but from the reviews on Amazon, it sounds interesting, and probably worth purchasing since my daughter has had 6 ear infections in 18 months…

    We also learned that teeth can come in in stages, so there may not be visible signs of teeth coming, but it could be moving beneath the surface. It causes the same symptoms, a similar degree of pain, but the tooth doesn’t actually emerge until a later teething episode (THAT’S cruel). We’ve had a few of these “mock”-teething episodes, where nothing actually came out, no ear infection, but all the misery.

    Good luck! If your doctor ok’s it, we found that Motrin (ibuprofin) worked much much better than Tylenol. Also, it lasts for longer in the baby’s system so there are fewer doses, hence it’s a bit cheaper and less of a fight (if your baby minds medication). For me, it helped to remind myself that my baby hasn’t turned into a screaming raving monster intent on destroying my sanity, it’s just a byproduct of her pain. Makes me feel less… attacked and more able to focus on making her feel better.

  2. Oy, I always say my kids teethed for months before they ever got a tooth. I never used the amber necklace, but a good friend (not IRL, but still…) used one for her two boys and swears by.

    Other than non-stop nursing (yay, fun for mommy), I also found that Motrin is far better than Tylenol. Giving my kids like Tylenol is like giving them M&Ms. It does nothing for the tooth pain.

    I hope all is going well with the new place!

  3. Oish, I dont think I am looking forward to this :( How old were the boys when they got their first tooth…just so I can kinda prepare myself..maybe..oy vey sounds terrible. Maybe if I hide under my blanky it will go away by itself? LOL

  4. Good to know about the Motrin. Funny, Motrin also works better for my headaches than Tylenol.

    Sheyna, my first got his first tooth around 3.5 months (that’s on the early side), and RLM got his first around 5.5 months, which is more on par. I think 6 months is the “average,” though it varies with each child (like everything with parenting!). Let me know if the hiding under the blanket thing works, ;)

  5. I would also recommend Ibuprofen over tylenol for any baby over 6 months (unless he has a medical condition which precludes its use). Babies under six months can only have tylenol. I would not run to the ER, personally, in this situation. If it is an ear infection, then ibuprofen will most likely dull most of the pain, and an ear infection can *technically* clear up on its own. Clearly, if you had a doc available though to look at it, it couldn’t hurt. But there will be a much greater hurt when you look at the ER bill that comes in the mail!!!!!

  6. Oiy! Hope you get over this stage quickly! It’s not easy and every baby goes through it. It hurts, they cry…and hopefully soon he will get all his teeth in!!

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