Teething and Mamelons
What is Teething?
Teething is what happens when a baby’s first little teeth (aka baby teeth or milk teeth) begin to come through the baby’s gums.
Often, you’ll notice at some point that your baby starts to drool a little bit more than usual and can also be much fussier and sensitive about having anything near their mouth. This is a good sign that teething will begin soon.
While there is no ‘set’ age that teething typically begins, it generally will happen between three and twelve months of age.
How Does Teething Occur?
You’ve probably heard the term ‘cutting their first teeth. This sounds a little bit ominous but is, in fact, simply a way of describing the chemical and hormonal changes that occur in a baby’s gum tissue in preparation for the new teeth to begin coming through. There isn’t actually any ‘cutting’ involved, but rather some cells within the gums will shed or slough off, allowing the new teeth to appear.
As noted, your baby may become fussier than usual when teething is about to begin. This is a tough time for a baby, and a slight fever often occurs during this time. There shouldn’t be anything to worry too much about, but keeping an eye on your baby’s temperature is never a bad thing.
As the teeth emerge, your baby’s gums and facial area may be more sensitive than usual. The following can help soothe your baby’s gums:
- A cool teething ring or other toy that has been placed in the fridge for an hour or so (never use items from the freezer as they could stick to your baby’s skin)
- A cold spoon placed on the baby’s gums or cheeks
- Giving your baby a cool, clean washcloth to chew on
- Gently rubbing your baby’s gums with your finger
- Cool foods such as applesauce, cool juices, yogurt, etc.
- Over the counter teething remedies that can be applied directly to the baby’s gums to provide a numbing effect
- If you are still nursing, this can often help your baby to feel better and fall asleep
The good news about teething is that once a tooth has actually come through, your baby’s symptoms should abate. Another piece of good news is that in most cases, teeth will come in pairs. This will lessen the amount of time your baby will be teething.
What are Mamelons?
As your baby’s new teeth come in, you may notice that they appear to have three tiny little points on the tops of the teeth. These little points are called mamelons.
Mamelons are actually small buds within the gum tissue that form a tooth in its earliest stages. As the tooth grows, the mamelons begin to fuse together. In some cases, they are still slightly visible once a tooth has erupted.
As your child begins eating solid foods and using his or her teeth on harder substances, the mamelons will wear away, and the remaining tooth will have a smooth, uniform surface.