I have an 8 1/2 month old who keeps getting fevers, but we can’t find a reason why. He’s fussy and his lower gums are swollen. Can teething cause fevers? If you don’t mind a second question, a friend of ours said we need to cut his gums to make room for the teeth. That sounds dangerous to me, but this is our first child so we don’t really know what we’re doing.
Dear Laura Anne,
You have good instincts. Please don’t cut your baby’s gums or sign him up for surgery. As the root of the tooth grows, it causes pressure on the gums and eventually they erupt. If you cut the gums to erupt the teeth prematurely, the roots will not be completely developed, which could lead to them not having the support they need in order to stay in place.
As to fevers, sometimes teething can cause a mild fever. There are other symptoms as well. You’ve already mentioned fussiness. You may also see your child drool, have difficulty sleeping, and even a decrease in his appetite. You can treat this with some children’s Tylenol in appropriate doses. There is also a Baby Oragel you can rub on his gums, which will temporarily numb the gums.
An Exception to Opening the Gums
Though you never want to open the gums for baby teeth, there could be a time when referring to your child’s adult teeth erupting that some assistance may be required. If you notice that your son’s adult teeth are coming in, but the baby teeth are not loose enough to be removed, that is the time to get some dental assistance.
Otherwise, the baby teeth will deflect the adult teeth and lead to the need for orthodontics when he is older. Don’t try to do this yourself. See your pediatric dentist to have the baby teeth removed if that occurs.
This blog is brought to you by East Cobb Dentist Dr. Cristi Cheek.