Signs of Teething in a 3-Month-Old Baby

close up view of a mother bottle feeding her baby (6-12 months)
Signs of Teething in a 3-Month-Old Baby (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Most babies cut their first teeth at about six months; only 1 percent cut their first tooth before 4 months. Parents and pediatricians alike often attribute mild transient symptoms such as irritability to teething, even if teeth don't appear for months afterwards. Many babies do have mild symptoms when teething, but parents should rule out other illnesses before blaming potentially serious symptoms such as diarrhea on teething.

Irritability

a young caucasian mother has her baby examined and admired by a male pediatricain
Ask your pediatrician before giving a three-month-old acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve his discomfort. (Image: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Teething infants may be more fussy and irritable than usual because of discomfort in the gum above the about-to-erupt tooth. Irritability often begins around four days before the tooth erupts and continue approximately three days after the emergence of the tooth. If your baby is irritable and you can feel the tooth under the gum, if the area looks bumpy, or if the tip of the tooth appears, teething might be causing his irritability. Ask your pediatrician before giving a three-month-old acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve his discomfort. Teething does not cause inconsolable crying. If your baby is extremely irritable, call the pediatrician.

Increased Drooling

sad baby
When your baby's tooth is about to emerge, he may produce more drool than usual. (Image: archikatia/iStock/Getty Images)

When your baby's tooth is about to emerge, he may produce more drool than usual. Although drooling is a normal part of an infant's development, it sometimes increases with the teething phase. Excessive drool may cause a baby to develop a rash on his chest, neck and chin. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the susceptible areas helps prevent rashes from developing. Some babies also develop reddened cheeks, unrelated to drooling, while teething.

Swollen Gums

As teeth begin to push up through your baby's gums, you may notice swelling, redness and possibly even bruising on the gums. To relieve the discomfort, try massaging over her gums with a clean finger or a cool, damp washcloth; the pressure will temporarily ease the pain. Teething gels applied directly to the gums can also help relieve pain, but read labels carefully and ask your pediatrician first if the product suggests not using the gel on a 3-month-old infant. Overuse of gels containing topical 2 percent lidocaine can cause seizures, the pediatric textbook, "The 5-Minute Pediatric Consult" warns.

Fever

Child thermometer
teething baby's swollen gums may provoke a mild fever. (Image: ia_64/iStock/Getty Images)

Although a significant increase in body temperature likely has little to do with teething, a teething baby's swollen gums may provoke a mild fever. Fever greater than 100.6 F is not associated with teething. Any fever in a 3-month-old requires medical investigation, even if he's teething. Talk to your baby's pediatrician to rule out more serious causes of fever.

Diarrhea

Family in kitchen with laptop
Call your pediatrician promptly any time your baby develops diarrhea, whether he's teething or not. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Parents often attribute a bout of diarrhea to teething. Teething may cause loose stools but generally does not cause diarrhea. A parent's perception that diarrhea caused by teething is benign, however, could have harmful consequences, a "Western Journal of Medicine" article published in 2000 cautions. Dehydration can occur from diarrhea, no matter what the cause, particularly in an infant as young as 3 months. Call your pediatrician promptly any time your baby develops diarrhea, whether he's teething or not.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.