Is my baby teething?
January 3, 2012 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Is my baby teething? He has been a real turd for about a week, restless, irritable, wakeful, etc. He's also drooling and chomping. But are these teeth? I mean the underlined things.

He has all the symptoms of teething, but I expected teeth to come from the top of his gums, not the front. Normally I'd google myself up an answer for this, but I can't find many pictures of teething gums. Turns out it's really hard to take a picture of a teething baby.

Bonus pathetic baby pictures.
posted by that's how you get ants to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
Probably teething, you may be seeing some of the outlines of teeth in there, but it takes a while of them being in the teething stage before the little buggers shoot out. One week of this suggests they are working their way up, but probably won't come out for a bit longer (sorry). Also, you may be hitting some mental development going on as well, mine always was the worst sleeper whenever he was figuring something out (sitting, crawling, etc), and that made him more irritable as well. I'd guess if he's not sick (no ear infections, fever, etc), you've probably got a combo of teething (with no teeth to come out real soon, unfortunately) and mental development. I feel for you, mine got his first teeth and sat up for the first time in the same week, it was a miserable time before that though.
posted by katers890 at 8:26 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Probably. Maybe.

Basically babies are just like this for the first year. If saying it is teething makes everyone feel better about it (because 'an answer' is better than 'no answer'), go with it.

Give him various teething items (buy a few different brands to see what works for him) and if gets really cranky, go for some sort of medicinal pain relief.

All that obsession about finding bumps/teeth coming in is fine and all, but who really knows.

Our best baby friend Dad is a dentist. And thus we all asked him all sorts of teeth questions all the time at that stage, as I recall.

This too shall pass.
posted by k8t at 8:29 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hmm, just as I feared. The reason I ask is because we were previously convinced he was teething but it turned out to be just a regular old baby grump spurt combined with finally figuring out how to get those hands to stay in his mouth.

Thank you, Kates with 8s in their usernames.
posted by that's how you get ants at 8:35 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Possibly. These are a couple of other things that we've figured out as well over the years. For the wakeful/restless thing while sleeping, swaddling has helped a ton, even while teething. Also, we found that for one of our babies, she had acid reflux, which is more common in children than most people realized (my sister's baby had it too). Are there times that your little one gets more restless/cranky, like right after eating?

You might already know these things, but just throwing them out there.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:07 AM on January 3, 2012

I want to answer, but my heart got all melty looking at those pictures.

Okay, well, let me try. It's been a few years since my kids teethed (THANK YOU GOD!) but I do remember it going on foreverrrrrr. Like, they teethed from 4 months on, but no teeth popped out until closer to 10 months (they're identical, so at least they all came out within a day or so of each other.)

Anyway, judging by the looks of his gums, it looks like something might finally be coming in. Hmm. Hard to tell. Too much cuteness in the way.
posted by pyjammy at 9:14 AM on January 3, 2012

The drooling is a pretty good sign, but yes, teething takes forever. It does get better towards the end though.

I think this is why parents save baby teeth; we went through so much misery to get the damn things in, it hurts to throw them away.
posted by emjaybee at 9:38 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd also guess teething - and, you may or may not want to look - but this image of a child's skull with baby teeth and adult teeth from the Hunterian Museum in London was going around the internets not too long ago, and it kind of explains everything. Poor little turd - and you can't even take him back to the baby store to get one who's not teething, can you?
posted by peagood at 10:07 AM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

When in doubt, hand over the freezer-toy teethers. Or broccoli. I'm a big fan of giving teething babies broccoli florets to mash on.
posted by Ys at 10:10 AM on January 3, 2012

Hah, we just asked our pediatrician about our little guy's desire to bite on things at our son's 4 month check-up. Our doc said that the usual 4 month old baby's brain is focused on putting things in his or her mouth as a way of learning about the world at large, and that teething usually comes in a few months. Our doc said that teething toys are nice because they're safe for nomming on, and you can get a variety of hard textures, but other toys will also get chomped on and all drooly.

That said, as with most things baby-timeline related, babies can get their teeth at a range of times, from being born with teeth to getting teeth in at 5+ months old.

Here's a list of symptoms for actual teething:
1. Drooling (which can lead to a facial rash)
2. Gum swelling and sensitivity
3. Irritability or fussiness
4. Biting behavior
5. Refusing food
6. Sleep problems

Dr. Sears suggests cold things, mild pain relievers and teething gels. He also says that the excessive drool that is produced could be swallowed, resulting in mild diarrhea and diaper rash, cough and fever. But that's just one description of what's normal and can be expected, and you can ask your pediatrician for what (s)he expects to see from teething babies, as year a few babies reach the hospital in a serious condition because parents had ascribed what turned out to be symptoms of a serious illness to teething and therefore waited too long before seeking medical help.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:14 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

By the way, that "Hah" was for a very timely question, not intended to be a laugh of contempt.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:15 AM on January 3, 2012

Response by poster: Well, I think he is teething. What we see in his mouth may or may not be teeth, and if they are, they may or may not pop out anytime soon. I'd read online in many places (including webmd) that symptoms only last several days and then the tooth is out. Sounds like that is way optimistic.

As for sleep, we do swaddle and I forgot to mention we were out of town for the holidays so that of course affected his sleep.

As for teethers, he seems totally uninterested. He does love having his gums rubbed and chewing on the edge of his pacifier. I will look into broccoli.

As for that skull, holy crap.

Babies. They are just total mysteries, aren't they?
posted by that's how you get ants at 10:43 AM on January 3, 2012

I think your baby is just cranky because he's too cute. He can't even handle himself being that cute.
posted by marylynn at 10:49 AM on January 3, 2012 [11 favorites]

Response by poster: I don't know, he likes Mirror Baby an awful lot and they're practically identical.
posted by that's how you get ants at 11:13 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

You might see if textured pacifiers like this bring him some relief, too.
posted by juliplease at 12:42 PM on January 3, 2012

My baby's eight months old. She showed classic teething symptoms on and off for the fourth and fifth month. No teeth.
Then no more symptoms at all, and they popped out two months later virtually unnoticed. until she chomped on my hand. Ow!

So what I'm saying is, just because baby's teething doesn't mean you'll be seeing teeth any time soon.

Also, you cannot possibly mistakethe teeth once they are out. Really, it's that obvious.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:38 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, man! My ovaries hurt now. That is one cute baby.

Yes, ditto the above on teething behavior lasting foreeever. My tip is to wet some washcloths, put them in the freezer, and let Mr. Grump chew on them. Replace when melted. Cheap, effective, and safe.
posted by houseofdanie at 2:09 AM on January 4, 2012

Response by poster: Update: Over 9 months later, at the advanced age of 13 months, he FINALLY got a tooth.

For future googlers, the only sure symptom of teething? When he closed his mouth on a metal spoon and we heard a *click*. Everything else was just a baby babying.
posted by that's how you get ants at 6:54 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

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