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Toddler Teething Complications

by Barbie Carpenter

Seemingly out of nowhere, your happy, well-rested toddler starts crying uncontrollably, fussing throughout the day or waking up again at night. You might feel like you have an infant again, but all you really have is a teething toddler. During the toddler years, your little one might be experiencing a range of symptoms as his first molars, second molars and canines come in. Find out what to expect as your toddler's smile grows by a few teeth.

Soreness and Swelling

If your suspect your toddler is getting some new teeth, check out his gums -- chances are you might be able to find some signs of teething. The gums may appear swollen and red when teeth are budding just under the gum line, according to Wake Forest Baptist Health. Soreness often accompanies the swelling, and your toddler will experience relief of this irksome symptom, which often appears three to five days before the tooth breaks through, once the tooth appears. The American Academy of Pediatrics explains that this gum pain is usually mild and often does not interfere with sleep.

Chewing

You probably remember when your inquisitive baby investigated every toy, body part or even piece of furniture with her mouth. If you notice your toddler chewing on things again, she might be getting some teeth. The pressure of something on the gums can relieve the pain associated with teething. Your toddler might even bite -- her own fingers or yours -- to relieve some of the pain, reports Wake Forest Baptist Health.

Reduced Appetite

The gum pain associated with teething might result in your toddler not wanting to eat or drink as much as usual. For toddlers who experience significant gum pain, taking a sip of milk or chewing on food can exacerbate the pain. To give your teething toddler the sustenance he needs to thrive, opt for cold foods, which can relieve pain, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Frozen halved grapes and frozen yogurt pops, for example, are ideal toddler-friendly snacks for those sensitive gums.

Drool and Rash

Toddlers who are teething often drool more than usual, which has a few potential complications. According to Ask Dr. Sears, drooling can result in a red, raised rash around your toddler's lips and on her chin. The combination of wet skin, caused by excessive saliva, and sensitive toddler skin can make a rash a common complication of teething. Ask Dr. Sears also notes that the excessive saliva can contribute to diarrhea and diaper rash as well. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics contends that diarrhea is often not associated with teething, so talk to your pediatrician for guidance when your teething toddler experiences diarrhea.

When to Call

Many symptoms of teething are merely bothersome and do not warrant a trip to the pediatrician's office. However, you also don't want your teething toddler to be in pain, and sometimes, you should contact your child's pediatrician. The AAP recommends calling the pediatrician if your teething toddler looks or acts like she is extremely sick. When symptoms go beyond mild soreness and drooling, a call to the pediatrician might be in order as well. The WebMD website states that if symptoms become severe or last for more than a couple of days, you should contact a pediatrician. A cleft palate, small jaw or facial injury can also complicate teething and require a trip to the doctor. In addition, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta recommends contacting your child's pediatrician if teething is accompanied by a fever that is higher than 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.

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