Taking a bite out of teething pain

Well it’s about time.  Mary finally is getting some teeth.  She’s 16+ months old.  I have to admit – I love her toothless grin.  But we can’t keep cutting up her food into itty bitty pieces forever – right?

I know she is in so much pain and discomfort but I’ve heard a lot about the dangers of Baby Orajel and the key ingredient in it – benzocaine.

So I’ve talk with our pharmacist, Stacy Roehrs, about her advice for the throbbing gums.

According to Stacy, the FDA is recommending benzocaine not be given to children under the age of 2 except under the supervision of a health care professional.

The use of benzocaine gels can lead to a rare but serious condition called methemoglobinemia.  Methemoglobinemia is a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried in the blood is greatly reduced.  In severe cases this can lead to death. This condition can occur after using benzocaine just one time or after several uses.

So what is a concerned mother to do?

Here are a few suggestions from Stacy and Dayton Children’s:

•    Use a teething ring chilled in the refrigerator
•    Gently rub or massage the infant’s gums with your finger.
•    Give baby a clean frozen washcloth for chewing.
•    Infant Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be useful for nighttime pain.

If you are using benzocaine for your baby’s teething pain (under a doctor’s supervision) or for an older child’s mouth pain, be aware of the symptoms that something could be wrong:

•    pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips and nail beds
•    shortness of breath
•    fatigue
•    confusion
•    headache
•    light-headedness
•    rapid heart rate

I know I’m probably like many parents, we just want a quick fix to make the pain go away.  Unfortunately, it’s not that easy! I guess I’ll be loading up on the teething rings!


  1. Reply
    Bridget June 20, 2012

    Wow! thank you for the information! I never knew anything about the teething medications. I will be sure to avoid them now. 

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