Did you read Arwen’s post on teething this weekend? She had good timing, because I’ve been trying to remind myself I need to note somewhere Paul cut his first tooth last Wednesday (January 19th). For reference, he turned 7 months yesterday (January 23rd). With Meg, I had a little “first year” calendar with milestone stickers. I hope I wrote down when she got her first tooth! (Or maybe it’s on the blog? I started it when she was…let’s see…8 months, so probably not.)
Teething in babies has always annoyed me, because there’s no way to know if it’s actually the cause of discomfort. If they’re super cranky, then cut a tooth, who knows if that was the cause? If Tylenol helps, who’s to say they weren’t mildly ill and in pain somewhere other than their mouth? What if they have teething pain AND are cranky from a wonder week/developmental leap/ear infection/pink eye?
Per Arwen, her doctor said “studies have found that parents often attribute symptoms to teething when their children are not actually cutting teeth. He hypothesized the symptoms are probably caused by developmental leaps or by mild viral infections.”
I agree teething is overused as an explanation for cranky/drooling/chewing babies. I don’t, however, think teething is never the cause of discomfort. Sure, most of the time someone says “that baby must be teething!” something else is actually going on. But, like I said in my comment (verbatim), Paul really seems like his gums hurt. Chewing on teething rings helps a lot, as does Tylenol, so I think there's got to be something going on with his gums. Also, I've always thought teething pain doesn't necessarily correlate to when the teeth break though - just when they're moving through the gums.
Some commenters essentially said they remember pain associated with teeth coming in and/or their older children have complained of mouth pain as they got molars, but the pain wasn’t necessarily the worst (or even present) at the time the teeth broke through the gums. I don’t remember having any pain either with wisdom teeth or molars. It makes me very curious as to whether my teeth hurt as a baby. Of course, sometimes my gums hurt “for no reason” and I forget about it when it goes away. Does that happen to you? I know they hurt like crazy when I had braces/headgear and have always assumed that’s what babies felt. (Which means I felt really really bad for them.) Just talking about braces makes my mouth ache. It does make more sense, though, to compare teething as a baby to getting my wisdom teeth as opposed to braces. I wonder if some babies never have tooth-related pain?