Signs of Teething Molars

By Erica Loop
If your child is teething molars, your child may be cranky, may fuss during feedings or may refuse to eat.
If your child is teething molars, your child may be cranky, may fuss during feedings or may refuse to eat.

Your toddler is having another crying jag. This time, however, it’s not just the terrible twos getting the best of her. Between 13 and 33 months, your toddler is getting her first and second molars, according to the American Dental Association. If she’s extra cranky, pulling at her face or irritable for no reason, you might be seeing signs that your tot is teething.

Low-Grade Fever

If your child has a slight fever but doesn’t seem sick, the pain might be from his molars coming in. A low-grade fever – under 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit – may accompany teething, notes HealthyChildren. Keep in mind, however, that a temp higher than a low-grade fever is likely a sign of something not related to teething molars. If your child's temperature continues to rise, then the culprit isn't his erupting teeth.

Crying and Pain

Crying for no apparent reason isn’t uncommon in babies and toddlers. Your tot doesn’t have the words to express how she’s feeling. This means that crying is sometimes the only way she can communicate with you. She might be hungry, frustrated, tired or in pain.

If you’ve gone through the usual suspects, and your child is in the age range for teething, this pain might be her molars coming in. Typically, the first upper molars erupt between 13 and 19 months; the first lower molars between 14 and 18 months; the second lower molars start coming in between 25 and 33 months; and second lower molars show up between 23 and 31 months.

Molars are larger than other teeth, making them much more painful when they break through the gums. You may notice an upswing in the amount of or in the intensity of your child’s crying during this time.

Constant Drooling

If it seems like your baby's mouth is a non-stop hose, then she's probably teething her molars. Drooling more than normal is often a sign of teething, notes Ask Dr. Sears. This may cause a rash to appear along his chin and down the side of his face.

Sensitive Gums

Toddlers may also have noticeably swollen gums that are sensitive to the touch. You may notice your toddler biting or chewing on everything, as she tries to ease the pain in her sensitive gums. Some babies take the opposite approach, however, and refuse foods when their molars are breaking through.

Symptoms of Illness

Some symptoms of molar eruption may mimic illness. A cough from the additional saliva that teething causes or any diarrhea are two signs that might make you think he’s sick. If your baby is drooling like a faucet and then coughing, then teething is the most likely cause.

Some scientific debate exists over whether diarrhea is actually a symptom of teething, because it is possible that tummy troubles could happen at the same time as teething. In a 2012 study, 8 percent of teething tots had diarrhea while drooling. This percentage is lower than other symptoms. For example, 16 percent of 1,110 children in the study’s sample had fever while teething and 12 percent drooled.

If your baby has a fever over 101 F, is lethargic, dehydrated or doesn’t seem like himself, call the doctor. Only a professional can help you discern between teething and something more serious.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.