Teething Pain

My child is teething and he is in a lot of pain. Tylenol has not helped and Zilactin can only be used four times a day. Please give me some ways to alleviate severe teething pain.


There are several ways to alleviate the pain and discomfort of teething. Teething rings, systemic analgesics and topical anesthetics can all offer relief. Distraction techniques may also be helpful for minor pain.

Chilled teething rings are beneficial because the coldness provides a numbing effect. Once the tooth erupts, parents should avoid using liquid-filled teething rings, as the new teeth can puncture them. Do not tie the teething ring around your baby's neck. If you give your baby something to chew, make sure it is large and does not pose a choking hazard. Rubbing the gums with a clean finger, wet gauze, or cool spoon may also provide pain relief.

Systemic analgesics are very effective pain relievers. Parents should use baby acetaminophen (Tylenol) or baby ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). If acetominophen is not providing relief, try ibuprofen. Ibuprofen has an anti-inflammatory component, whereas acetaminophen does not. If any inflammation is present, ibuprofen will work more effectively. Never give your child aspirin. If the discomfort is keeping your baby (and you) awake, a sedative elixir may help. Please discuss this with your pediatrician and follow instructions carefully.

Topical anesthetics available in medicines such as BabyOrajel and Zilactin baby, can be helpful. Both of these products contain benzocaine as the active ingredient. Benzocaine acts as a surface numbing agent. Benzocaine is the same topical anesthetic many dentists use prior to giving an injection. Zilactin baby contains 10% benzocaine and contains no saccharine or alcohol. BabyOrajel Teething Pain Medication comes in Regular Gel which contains 7.5% benzocaine and a Nighttime Formula Gel with added pain reliever. BabyOrajel is also alcohol-free. Parents should never place alcohol in any form on baby's gums as alcohol can be dangerous for infants.

Comforting or distracting your baby can be helpful too. Rocking and creating a change of scenery by walking or driving around will distract your baby. Playing with various toys and singing songs may also help.

It is important to distinguish between normal teething symptoms and signs of illness. You should call your pediatrician if your baby has a fever lasting more than 48 hours or if it is higher than 100 degrees. Do the same if your baby has diarrhea, vomiting, appears lethargic, or has serious sleep problems. Cold symptoms, persistent fever and grabbing at the side of the face may indicate an ear infection. If pain continues past seven consecutive days, you should consult your pediatrician to rule out other conditions which may be causing or contributing to the discomfort.

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