Deciduous(baby) teeth erupt from 4 to 36 months. The attributed symptoms are enormous and include agitation, diarrhoea, colic, excessive salivation, fever, rash, malaise, respiratory problems. The list is endless. BUT There is weak evidence for pain and no evidence to support the systemic symptoms which are attributed to teething. Most recent studies show that these signs and symptoms are due to other co-incidental causes. There is an amazing lack of symptoms and sign associated with the eruption of the adult teeth so why are the deciduous teeth any different? The eruption occurs through bone remodelling which is not painful. The only cause and effect that I can see would be that as the new teeth come into the mouth there is an increase in the type and the bacterial loading that a baby is exposed to and this may therefore result in a viral or bacterial fever or malaise. To my knowledge this has not be proven.
A multitude of drugs and non-drug therapies exist to combat pain which is attributed to teething. These include paracetamol(Panadol), ibuprofen(Nurofen), aspirin(Bonjela, oral-sed), anaestheics such as lignocaine(EMLA, SM-33) and benzocaine. There are also sedatives such as Phenergan. Some of these mixtures contain sugar and/or alcohol and should be avoided. Herron Bay Teething Gel, Oral-Sed Jel, Seda-Gel, Applicaine Drops, Curash Family Oral Pain Relieving Gel and Bonjela. All medications should be used with caution as the side effects far out weigh the potential benefits especially with over use. If analgesics are used they should be used to treat the symptoms occurring (fever, malaise) and not just because teething restlessness is suspected. The use of other strategies such as cold compresses, rusks, pacifiers and alcohol are generally unnecessary but may have a slight placebo effect and make parents feel better about the whole process. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions ☺