Oh! The Pain of Teething!

I t’s heartbreaking seeing a little one go through the pain of getting their first teeth.  Not all babies experience pain with their teething but for some it can be akin to a nightmare…endless days of dribbling, irritation and broken sleeps.  Of course, that doesn’t even begin to describe what poor old mum goes through having to nurse baby through their discomfort.

The right remedy will quickly take the pain away, lift and calm baby’s mood and help them sleep.  If teething seems like it is slow and prolonged with the teething taking forever to appear, a well prescribed remedy will help the teeth pop through quicker.

Often teething is an extra stressor on the system and there are normally other signs that the baby is having difficulty with this particular developmental phase.  These other symptoms in particular will often point us in the right direction of the best remedy.  Since we are prescribing on the whole baby’s response to teething the correct remedy will also influence other developmental factors in a positive way as well.  An example of this is when we see a child is not sitting up yet or crawling and also having difficulty in teething.  After the remedy, the child will often catch up very quickly with all developmental phases, sitting up, talking or walking easily (if it is appropriate!).

Common Teething Remedies

  • Chamomilla – This is the most common and widely available teething remedy.  Often you will find it in the combination teething powders and remedies that are available over the counter in health shops and pharmacies.  This remedy will relieve many babies with teething pain but it has a clear symptom picture that you might recognize.  Often baby will want to be carried and not put down.  They will be capricious…that is, they will desire things and then not want them as soon as they are offered.  They will be grizzly, irritable and generally unsettled.  A Chamomilla baby may have one red cheek and also will tend to loose stools that may be greeny and chopped.  If your baby is constipated with teething this is probably not the best remedy, although it may relieve the pain, it will not hasten baby’s teething and they still may seem to struggle for a while.   If you try Chamomilla with your baby and their bottom seems to become excoriated and raw with their stool, then the next remedy may be a better match…
  • Rheum – This remedy is made from rhubarb!  It will have an excoriated bottom because the stools seem to be quite acrid.  This remedy can smell sour…their stool smell sour, their perspiration smells sour and in fact the whole child seems to have a sour smell.  They will perspire a lot, especially around the head.  Baby will be very impatient.  Think of when you eat uncooked rhubarb, it is very sour…translate this into baby’s personality with teething pain and a raw bottom and you have the picture of this remedy exactly!  I don’t give this remedy often, but when it is needed, it works a charm.
  • Calc carb – A teething baby in need of Calc carb has a very easy to recognize look about them and certain definite characteristics.  The baby will often be quite ‘bonny’ even when they are breastfed (although they don’t need to have this look to be prescribed this remedy).  By ‘bonny’ I mean they will be quite solid and chunky and I’ve often seen them with a lovely roundish face.  They will also be constipated.  Now, constipation in homeopathy can mean that they are not necessarily straining but that they are not regularly going on a daily basis.  Their teething is often a little behind or else they seem to teeth forever, loads of dribbling and discomfort for weeks or months, even before a tooth has emerged.  They will sweat on the head at night and have a ravenous appetite, especially for the bottle or milk.  The reason for this according to homeopathic philospophy is that these children are not absorbing their calcium properly, hence the huge appetite for milk and the chunky look!  The problem with this is that then the child cannot form their teeth easily because the calcium is not being assimilated and used properly in the body for the teeth.  In the extreme cases, these babies can lack strength and may be late in rolling or sitting or even standing and walking.  After a good dose of Calc carb, these babies teeth can pop right through with a minimum of discomfort, their appetite becomes more balanced and suddenly the slim down, strengthen up and start to sit or stand where they might not have been before.  Constipation eases.

The right remedy gives baby relief from pain, eases the process of the teeth emerging and often eases other systemic effects of teething such as constipation and earaches and excoriated bottoms.  Of course there are a few other remedies as well that can be prescribed but at the moment these are the most common ones that I come across in my day to day practice.

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