Teething: Is a Fever with Molars Normal?

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Children's first baby teeth typically appear when they're between 6 and 10 months old. As they get older, more teeth slowly appear. The first and second sets of molars are usually the last eight teeth to appear in a child's mouth. The first molars can emerge when children are between 13 and 19 months of age, while the second molars erupt later, when children are between 23 and 33 months of age. This can be a hard time for both children and parents, especially when a teething child suddenly develops a fever. But is a fever with molars normal?

Frequent Symptoms of Teething

Teething isn't a pleasant time for babies, so it's normal for them to be a bit uncomfortable. The American Dental Association reassures parents that irritability, fussiness, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, and drooling are normal parts of teething. Your child may have experienced some or all of those symptoms when their front teeth came in. For some children,  molar eruption can be more uncomfortable. That's because the molars have a larger and duller surface area than the other teeth, so it can hurt as they move through the gums.

Fevers With Molars

You may have heard from other parents that it's normal for babies to have a fever when their molars come in. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explains that while a very slight increase in temperature can occur with teeth erupting, true fevers aren't caused by teething. If your child's temperature reaches 100.4°F (38°C) while their molars are coming in, they could have an unrelated medical condition that needs treatment.

When to Get Medical Attention for a Fever

Not every fever with molars requires medical attention, the AAP reassures. The severity of the fever and other symptoms can help you determine what to do. If your child's temperature is 104°F (40°C) or higher, call a doctor right away. If your child has other symptoms of illness in addition to a fever, like diarrhea, vomiting, an unexplained rash or a severe headache, you should also call a doctor. A fever also warrants medical attention in cases where children seem unusually drowsy or dizzy.

A fever can also be cause for concern if it doesn't go away on its own. If your child is younger than 2 years, call their doctor for fevers that last more than 24 hours. For children who are 2 years or older, call their doctor for fevers that last more than three days. While children can experience unpleasant symptoms during teething, a true fever isn't one of them. If your child spikes a fever when their molars are coming in, they may be ill and need medical attention.

Teething can be stressful, especially when your child's molars are coming in. The crankiness and pain may feel like they last forever, but you'll be rewarded with your little one's beautiful new smile in no time!

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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  • Dental visit
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