How do I deal with my baby’s painful teething?

My 9-month-old began teething at 6 months. She has 4 teeth. How much longer is this process going to last? Any suggestions for helping with the unbearable pain it seems to create?

The average age for tooth eruption is 6 months; but some normal 4-month-olds may have a tooth, and some normal one-year-olds may have none.

Many babies begin drooling and then gnawing on things many weeks before erupting a tooth. Tooth eruption sometimes may be accompanied by low-grade fever (up to 100 degrees F), excessive drooling and irritability. Other symptoms thought to be caused by teething are likely unrelated. Many babies experience virtually no symptoms with tooth eruption.

For babies who do experience irritability with teething, teething rings, rubbing the gums and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (given by mouth) may provide some relief. Applying topical medications to the surface of the gums provides little sustained relief, since they are washed away in the saliva within minutes of their application.

The full complement of primary (baby) teeth is present by 2 1/2 years of age.

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