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Why is teething painful?

Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrics

Teething is painful because the tooth has to push through the skin in order to come out. Even though we chew with our teeth, teeth really are not very sharp. In addition, the process can take a while.

Try giving your child something cold to chew on. If symptoms are too bad, you can even give a dose of Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) is better than acetaminophen (Tylenol) because it decreases inflammation.

You will often see bulging of the gums at the site where your baby's tooth is going to erupt. You may see it one day, but not the next day, because the teeth actually go up and down underneath the gums several times before they pop through, which is why it is such a painful process for a lot of infants.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.