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Teething a Second Time: When the Development of Adult Teeth Causes Discomfort

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The idea of living tissue within your body being dissolved sounds like something out of a horror movie, but this is precisely what happens when permanent, adult teeth develop. As adult teeth begin to erupt from the gums, their vertical growth essentially dissolves the root structure which anchors the deciduous, baby teeth above them. The deciduous teeth then become loose before detaching entirely, making space for the emergence of the permanent tooth. The discomfort involved when those deciduous teeth first appeared is known as teething, and it's something that most children experience. But can the experience be repeated when adult teeth erupt from the gums? Is it possible to have to go through teething twice?

Teething Returns

The emergence of adult teeth can result in symptoms akin to the initial teething process which was experienced when your child was younger. Your child's subsequent development can make any secondary teething symptoms seem less acute, as you're able to discuss the issue with them, as opposed to attempting to explain the process to a baby. Your child can hopefully detail their discomfort, as in the severity of any pain, as well as where in their mouth it might be centred.

Managing the Discomfort

If your child experiences what seems like teething a second time around, your approach will generally only require repeating you had to do the first time. This involves changes to their diet (with an emphasis on soft foods which will not strain their teeth), as well as pain relief. This pain relief will generally be ibuprofen, which manages discomfort while also having anti-inflammatory agents to minimise any swelling. This discomfort should quickly fade. But what if it doesn't?

When Emergency Action is Required

If your child's discomfort intensifies and comes with additional symptoms, such as overt swelling, a fever, or pain that radiates outwards from the gums to encompass the entire jaw, this is a sign that something is amiss and that the adult teeth perhaps aren't emerging as they should. Don't hesitate to see an emergency dentist so that the necessary action can be taken. This will involve pain relief, and the dentist might opt to perform an x-ray to chart the precise position of the emerging teeth. Severe discomfort can indicate a misalignment of the developing tooth (essentially causing it to exert excessive force upon the surrounding tissues), and orthodontics might be necessary once the tooth has developed.

Some discomfort can be expected when permanent teeth develop, and yet there's a distinction between this fairly standard (yet unpleasant) process, and severe discomfort which requires rapid, professional intervention.