The Whole Tooth

Earful

Why do some kids have a harder time with teething than others?

"When a tooth is getting ready to pop through, it stretches the gum area as tight as a drum," says Dr. Liu. "To some children, that tightness is interpreted by their brain as being painful. For others, it's just like an itch they have to scratch. Different kids just have a different perception of what is and what isn't pain."

My child keeps pulling on his ears. Does this mean his molars are coming in?

"Not necessarily. At about 4 months, children first discover their ears—and after that, some simply like to play with them," says Linda Ciampa, R.N., a nurse at Milford Regional Medical Center, in Massachusetts. "It's also possible that your child could have an illness, such as an ear infection. To play it safe, feel for swollen ridges on the gum line, and take his temperature. If your child has a fever, you should call your pediatrician."

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