Surviving the One-Year Teething Molars

Just as you thought you were home free, here come the one-year teething molars to disrupt everyone’s sleep patterns all over again.  The molars, usually the third set of four teeth (teeth 9 to 12, respectively) are often the most difficult teeth for some kids.  This is both because they take so long to come in for some kids and because many kids are more aware of pain by their first year when they come.  But don’t worry, mom and dad, you will get through it.

One-Year Teething Molars Basics

Don’t let the name worry you, they don’t always come in at exactly the first birthday.  Often they will wait to make a late entrance as much as 9 months after you blew out that single little birthday candle.  Sometimes though, it will seem like they called it the one-year teething molars because of how long they seem to take coming in.  This is because they are not as aerodynamic as the other teeth that have come in up until now.  The molars are round teeth, so when they erupt they have a lot more gum to push out of the way.  Don’t worry though; they will do it over time.

Signs your Kid is Getting One-Year Molars

Some lucky parents don’t even realize their kids are getting their molars until one day they look and see them in the back of their kids’ mouths.  Some children just are not that sensitive to this eruption of back teeth (or perhaps the parents just don’t notice the signs).  For most of us, however, we will definitely start to notice the signs.  Here’s what to look out for:

Typically, as part of your child’s preparation for his or her first year teething, molars call up the saliva deposits to help.  Excess spit is the first sign of immanent teething.  Molars will follow soon afterwards.  So if baby is suddenly starting to drool more than you are used to, start looking to the back of the gum line for those sprouting molars.

By now, your baby is getting a good sense of the geography of her own body and is able to identify more than two or three kinds of sensations, so it is likely she will show signs of feeling the changes going on in her mouth.  You might notice your son, for instance, reaching his hand into his mouth as if he is trying to reach something.  Or, your daughter might put her hand on the outside of her mouth at about the spot on her jaw where you would expect molars to arise.

This discomfort may have some negative effects for dietary habits.  Children that showed no aversion to chomping at crackers may now suddenly hold back or seem to lose interest in harder foods.  This is a clear sign that they are feeling discomfort.  This discomfort may even extend to drinks both since the sippy cup is like a hard object and because sometimes the actual suction it takes to sip sometimes increases the sensation around the incoming molars.  Not to mention that the acidic juice itself may cause them discomfort.

Even less welcome are the sudden changes in sleeping patterns.  You may have had your child sleeping through the night for a couple of months and almost have forgotten the long sleepless nights of the early days.  Now your one year old is waking in the middle of the night crying.  Its enough to bring you to tears for your lost nights of sleep, but not to worry, it is only a passing phase.

You also might find that your one year old has a couple of symptoms of sickness.  A slight fever of a degree or two above normal is common during teething.  Molars also cause diarrhea sometimes.  Why?  The explanation seems to be that the excess saliva your baby produces works its way through to his or her little bottom as well, believe it or not.

These are all part of the normal teething process.  If anything seems amiss, however, always follow your instinct and give your pediatrician a call.