Medical Treatments For Teething Problems In Children

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There are three types of medical treatments for teething: topical medications, oral medications, and alternative remedies.

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Topical treatments for teething are liquids or gels rubbed on the gums to soothe them. Their ingredients — such as salicylic acid, lignocaine, tannic acid, menthol, thymol, glycerol, and ethanol — reportedly reduce swelling and pain.

However, there is little data about how well these treatments work. In addition, they work only for a very short time, and it is probably the act of massaging them on the gums that helps the most.


Oral pain relievers come in two main types: acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). “Baby aspirin” is a mis­nomer and should never be given to infants or children.

It has been associated with Reye’s syndrome, an illness involving liver failure and brain disease. There are certainly stronger prescription pain relievers (such as codeine), but teething pain never warrants anything so potent.

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are dosed according to weight. They are both fever reducers and pain relievers. Ibuprofen is also an anti-inflammatory. Both of these medicines are generally considered safe. For children who refuse to take the liquid form of these medicines, they are also available as chewable tablets and even as rectal suppositories. Ask your doctor for more in­formation.


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There are many alternative remedies to treat teething pain. They come in drops, tablets, gels, and solutions. Many herbal remedies work because they have active ingredients that are potent anti-inflammatories, reducing the swelling and pain in the gums much the same way ibuprofen does. Remember that even though these are nonprescription remedies, they are drugs and therefore need to be mentioned when your doctor asks what medication you are giving your child.


What are the possible complications?

Teething is generally uncomplicated. The drool that accompanies it may decrease your child’s appetite because it physically fills the stomach. When it passes through the intestine, it may also make her stools loose. Sometimes excessive drool will cause a rash to break out around the mouth.


Teething can be associated with a fever of 100° to 101°F. This fever occurs when the body releases natural chemicals as the tooth moves through the gum.


Occasionally, teething will cause bleeding. This happens when the gum is very swollen and the tooth erupts through, breaking some tiny blood vessels. The bleeding usually lasts only a few seconds. Blood can also collect underneath the swollen gum and look blue, like a bruise. When the tooth erupts, the blood is released, and the gum returns to normal. Excessive bleeding or oozing that does not stop on its own requires medical attention.