Baby teeth are intended to be lost after a certain age, and adult teeth are then intended to be kept forever. This replacement process (known as dental exfoliation) is exciting for children (especially if the loss of a primary baby tooth results in a few bucks under their pillow, courtesy of the Tooth Fairy). Dental exfoliation is typically an uncomplicated process, and parents tend to share in their child's excitement. However, a parent's excitement can easily turn to alarm when the eruption of the replacement adult tooth seems to be causing their child pain.
An Uneventful Process (For Most Children)
In many cases, the emergence of a permanent adult tooth is uneventful, and this is the ideal outcome. The permanent tooth erupts from your child's gingival tissues and continues to develop vertically until it makes contact with the tooth in the opposing dental arch. This process may not be totally uneventful for all children.
Teething difficulties are generally associated with infants, with the eruption of your child's baby teeth causing physical discomfort. The feeling of highly-mineralized tooth enamel working its way through and then erupting from your child's gums can be uncomfortable. Some children can (unfortunately) expect to repeat this experience when they receive their adult teeth.
Much like the first round of teething, discomfort associated with the eruption of permanent adult teeth includes sore and sensitive gums, headaches, fever, and a general sense of feeling unwell. Although these experiences aren't all that rare with emerging adult teeth, it's still important to have your child assessed by the pediatric dental specialists at your local clinic; just to ensure that there are no other causes for your child's discomfort.
For the most part, you can manage your child's discomfort as you did their original teething troubles. If anything, it may be easier the second time around, as your child now has the language skills to describe their symptoms. Over-the-counter pain medication can be helpful. Ibuprofen is generally a good choice, but you may wish to check with your child's dentist for a specific recommendation. Saltwater rinses can also help to soothe irritated gums, and your child's diet should focus on softer foods. These measures will only need to be temporary, however, your child may periodically experience some minor discomfort until their adult teeth have erupted and reached their final position.
Teething isn't just for infants. It's unfortunate if a child has to experience these less-than-pleasant symptoms a second time around, but much like the first time, these symptoms shouldn't be an ongoing problem.
For more information, contact pediatric dental specialists near you.