15 Signs Baby's Teething Is Going Horribly Wrong

A woman is slowly adjusting to life as a new Mom. She is getting used to the feeding, changing and baby’s sleep schedule. Baby has hopefully started sleeping the night which has also made things much much easier for Mom. Then boom. It happens. Teething. That dreaded pain that breaks out when teeth are breaking through baby’s gums, (yes, ouch). It is also when baby is uncomfortable and lets Mom and Dad know it.

It's a time when all of Mom's stridently set routines go down the tube, so to speak. Well, not always. Of course, sometimes it goes super smoothly. NOT. Ok, now there are the cases where things do go smoothly for baby and parents and baby are fine with it all, too. It’s just very rare.

Most babies, (and their parents by association), struggle with teething most of the time. It’s difficult to find a comfortable balance in how to handle it, but most parents figure it out. There are pain relievers to help babies cope. There are compresses. There are the teething rings and some fruits like cantaloupe that they can suck on to relieve symptoms of discomfort and pain. But then there are the times when none of these things work and teething just seems to be going horribly wrong.

Nothing is working and baby is just getting increasingly uncomfortable and so are Mom and Dad watching their little one suffer. What can be done? Well, the first thing would be to recognize that teething has gone horribly wrong. Then, that is when Mom and Dad can figure out what steps to take next. Here are 15 signs to know that teething is going horribly wrong:

15 Baby D

Though diarrhea it is not always due to teething and is usually a sign of another virus like gastroenteritis that needs to run its course, it needs the proper treatment too (gastrolyte or other electrolyte solutions are available in the beginning while eventually working baby up to soups, juices then other solids). Sometime the pain of teething could bring on some mild gastrointestinal issues. Baby will feel out of sorts and their body will react with some flu like symptoms.

Still, Mom should always be on the lookout for something more serious than teething issues if this continues over twenty-four hours, or if there are additional tooth issues that could be causing a breakout of discomfort in the system. Regardless, Moms should look for all sorts of connections as to what could be bothering their little one, and if there's any doubt, she should make sure to check with her child’s pediatrician.

14 Extra Teeth

Some children are born with what are called extra teeth or referred to as hyperdontia. This is something that is rare, but when it does occur, it understandably causes A LOT of discomfort and pain for the child. In this oral condition, extra teeth can grow anywhere in a child’s mouth. Though doctors do not know the exact reasons why this condition occurs, it is speculated that it is due to environmental and genetic factors.

Many children born with Gardner’s syndrome, a cleft lip and those who have Down Syndrome more commonly have extra teeth. There is also a higher percentage of males than females who suffer from this. It is important that baby be monitored and that the extra teeth are removed as soon as is safe. Generally, the condition is more visible once the permanent teeth come in and not with baby teeth. However, parents should monitor any kind of mouth discomfort.

13 Tooth Decay

There are lots of reasons why babies’ teeth decay or develop cavities. Some parents know to avoid giving children juice or milk in the bottle before bed, staying away from non-diluted juice as much as possible, and wiping baby’s gums - and later those first little buds with a damp cloth to prevent decay. But many Moms do not know that whether she is breastfeeding or feeding baby formula, the gums need to be wiped or rinsed even during the day. The teeth and gums are very sensitive and need care to grow strong.

It is also good that parents do this to start modeling good dental care for their little ones at a young age. Some babies could genetically be at risk if they were perhaps low birth weight babies, or if there were other health conditions present in the mother or child at baby's birth.

12 Thumb And Finger Sucking

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This one is a little controversial, as there are some camps that say that finger and thumb sucking is a lot safer for baby’s developing gums and teeth than a pacifier. They also say that if baby is uncomfortable, it is easier for them to self-soothe with their own finger than with a pacifier which cannot be left hanging on a string around baby’s neck. The reason is due to the pacifier becoming a potential choking hazard. So, who is right? As it turns out, both have their risks for contributing to problems with tooth development, but parents have to weigh the pros and cons of their child’s teething pain and see if limiting the amount of time baby uses their thumb could help. If they are not excessively drooling or experiencing severe pain, parents may want to let their child get some relief wherever they can.

11 Teeth Grinding

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15% to 33% of children grind their teeth when baby teeth first emerge during teething, and when their permanent teeth are on their way in. Some children will only do it temporarily and eventually stop when the teeth have all come in. The thing is that children generally seem to grind their teeth when sleeping rather than when awake. The reasons doctors speculate that children do this is due to teeth that are improperly aligned, or if they do not have regular contact between their upper and lower teeth.

Sometimes illnesses and medical conditions such as nutritional issues, pinworms, allergies or endocrine disorders can also cause this. Anxiety and stress can also be reasons children do this, just like their adult counterparts. Parents should not worry though, as it is rare that this will permanently damage their children’s tenth. They should consult a dentist if the child experiences pain or discomfort.

10 Gum Disease

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Gum disease is something that could occur from prolonged tooth decay and issues with improper brushing. Though it is rare in preschool children and usually occurs in adolescence and adulthood, up to 35% of children between the ages of 3 to 5 have some form of gingivitis, a periodontal disease that is caused by inflammation or infection of periodontal tissue. If parents notice a strange color in the gums, swelling in the gums, or blood when they are wiping down teeth, they need to consult a children’s dentist to see what next steps they need to take.

It is always important to investigate a child’s pain with a medical care practitioner. In most cases, the gum disease would not be so far advanced as to cause permanent damage. The most important thing is to get the proper dental care help for one’s child to reverse the damage.

9 The Pacifier Debate

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Pacifiers have sometimes been blamed for young children’s tooth damage though they have less chance of doing damage than sucking thumbs. With thumb sucking children develop something called an overbite which affects the way the teeth come in. They will usually come in crooked causing all kinds of other issues. The act of sucking on the pacifier is very soothing, and this act causes more saliva to form which acts as an antiseptic for tooth pain.

This is great for baby, but the bad thing though is that extended pacifier use can increase dental problems such as “dental malignment.” This is known as open bite. The longer parents let babies use the pacifier the harder it will be to get baby off it later. This is something for Mom and Dad to think about to find other alternatives to help baby through teething pain.

8 Blood Blisters


Something else that can sometimes occur when little ones are teething are teething or blood blisters. This happens when teeth start to come through the gums and a little bit of bleeding occurs causing what is called a blood blister or cyst, which is like a bruise on the gum. It is bluish in color and will appear in the place where a tooth usually comes out. The good news is that it will usually disappear when the tooth comes through the gum. Usually, no treatment is necessary, unless the baby has the blisters for over a month or so and a tooth has yet to come through. The other thing parents need to remember is not to prick or cut the blister as this could cause an infection in the mouth.

7 Teething Problems

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Teething problems are when pain or discomfort is excessive and baby can’t sleep, eat, or becomes lethargic. Any kind of pain that interferes with their normal level of functioning, and if something like a fever or other symptoms appear, baby could have a virus. This should be investigated by the child’s pediatrician who would be able to refer the parents to the proper channels to help their little one find relief. Symptoms of teething problems are excessive crying, extreme crankiness, loss of appetite, fussing with hands, red skin, mild fever, and excessive drooling. Of course, this could also indicate another kind of virus so this is where parents need to be proactive and if the symptoms are not letting up after 24 hours, they need to consult their child’s pediatrician.

6 Natal Teeth

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Natal teeth are when baby teeth are decayed, missing or have filled surfaces in a baby who is 71 months old or younger. Other terms for natal teeth are “nursing caries”, “baby bottle caries” or “baby tooth decay.” It is not fair that baby bottles are implicated and almost seem to be thought to be the only things causing natal teeth when this is not the case at all. Usually what causes them are a certain patterns of development in how the child’s teeth form in their mouth and an exposure to some form of cariogenic bacteria usually from exposure to bacteria from the mother or primary caregiver. Sometimes it is from bottles or eating utensils that are not sterilized. Parents have to be careful with whatever baby is putting in their mouths.

5 Delayed Teething

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Delayed teething sometimes happens as well in babies. In most cases, it is hereditary, that is, babies who come from families where one or both parents teethed later may go on to have the same patters. The child is considered to be a late teether if they are not teething by the time they are 13 months old. There is usually not cause for concern in most delayed teething cases. It is considered normal for some children to not grow their first tooth until they are 18 months old. However, there are situations where something else could be the culprit, for example poor nutrition. With a child that is malnourished and teething late due to this though, there will be other signs as well that something is wrong. If parents see their child is not gaining weight, seems low on energy, they need to have them evaluated.

4 Early Childhood Caries

Early childhood caries are due to factors that have already been mentioned; bad nutrition, exposure to bacteria in the mouth through putting unsterilized things in the mouth, and in some children where they have other medical care challenges such as special needs children. It is difficult for many special needs children to adequately brush their teeth due to motor delays and sensory sensitivities. This is why it is important to seek medical help if a parent sees their child having difficulty with pain in the mouth. Any kind of problems in the teeth or gums, upon early intervention, can usually be reversed, sparing the child many hours of pain and the parents much of the high cost associated with dental needs. Dental care is painful and expensive if families wait too long, so the sooner they get their child help, the better.

3 Fever Could Strike

As previously mentioned, sometimes a low grade fever accompanies other pain symptoms that babies experience when they are teething. Parents should also look for some loose stools which could accompany it, but it is rare that the fever is solely due to teething pain. It’s important, especially if the fever lasts over 24 hours, that the parents have baby checked for other viruses which they could be suffering for at the same time. Additionally, the fever could be due to baby putting their hands in their mouth so they catch another low grade virus. Parents need to monitor them, and anything they see as not getting better, needs immediate medical attention. It’s important not to panic, and remember that most of the discomfort will pass once the tooth breaks through the gums.

2 Massive Sleep Interruptions

Another culprit that is blamed solely on teething are sleep interruptions. Old wives tales had us believe that every time babies are going through cycles of massive sleep interruptions, teething has to be the reason. That is not the case. Yes, the pain of teething can wake a child up from naps and overnight, but again other factors like viruses or other issues are most likely to blame in the end. It’s important for parents to rule out that teething is not the only or sole reason that their child is waking up before they try various remedies. Children’s Tylenol could do wonders to help soothe the pain and discomfort - and the nighttime one has a built-in sleep aid in there as well. But parents need to make sure nothing else is going on.

1 Extreme Crankiness

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Finally, extreme crankiness is also another sign that is usually a red flag for immense teething pain. It varies from intense crying, to fussing over things that baby normally has no issues with, like eating, sleeping or playing. They may also be pulling at their ears, and just taking a lot longer to calm down from any upset. Of course, this could once again be baby coming down with another virus, so vigilance is required by the parents to rule out other possibilities. No one should jump to the conclusion that it is definitely teething, but it should also not be ruled out just in case. Parents have to be detectives of their little ones and try to connect the behavioural dots to see what is going on.

Sources: BabyCenter.com, Livestrong.com, AboutKidsHealth.com, Healthline.com, Oral Health Group, WebMD.com, SimplyTeeth.com, Parenting.com, CYH, Health Tool

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