The Whole Tooth

The right meds

Is it okay to give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to stop pain?

"Ibuprofen should only be used for babies older than 6 months. After that, either medication is fine when given in the correct dose and administered judiciously—but parents should first ask themselves if their child really needs the drug," advises Dr. Liu. "I recommend picking the one your child has done well with and sticking with it. Ibuprofen isn't necessarily more effective because it's known to relieve inflammation as well as pain. What's happening in your child's mouth is primarily irritation."

Can teething cause a fever? How about a diaper rash or diarrhea?

Although some moms swear that their baby has had one or all of these symptoms while teething, it's probably just a coincidence. "There's absolutely no scientific evidence linking fever, diaper rash, or diarrhea with teething," says Dr. Liu.

Nothing seems to make my child's pain go away. Is there anything I can do?

"Teething is a normal physiological experience that takes time to adjust to," says Courtney Chinn, D.D.S., assistant professor at Columbia University's College of Dental Medicine. "Molars are the largest baby teeth, but they cause the least discomfort. That's because by the time a child's last primary teeth come in, she's absorbed in her activities and learning language skills. For now, try to distract her; love and hugs are the best remedies."

Originally published in the April 2011 issue of Parents magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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