Thursday, April 19, 2012

Deciduous Teeth

A few weeks ago Lillian started getting her deciduous teeth (also called baby teeth or milk teeth) which made her a little more irritable than usual—thank goodness for children's ibuprofen and teething toys! [1][2] First her lower right incisor (I believe a dentist would call it 'P') came in. Then her upper right incisor ('E'). And recently her lower left incisor ('O') erupted. Armed with these little guys she's now capable of demolishing graham crackers, slices of apple, and…fingers.

Her lower right incisor (photograph on the left) and her upper right incisor (photograph on the right). Her lower left incisor is still small enough (and Lillian is wiggly enough) that it's pretty much impossible to photograph.

I think they're pretty easy to spot, but in case you had a hard time finding them, here are the same photos with arrows pointing to Lillian's teeth.


[1] Before modern medicine, teething was considered a possible cause of death because so many children died during the first few years of life—the same time when teething was taking place. See

[2] Some parents put a numbing ointment, called Oragel, on their babies' gums when they start to teeth. You should not do this without consulting your pediatrician first! There is a risk that your baby will react to the benzocaine (the active ingredient in Oragel) and develop a condition called methemoglobinemia. Methemoglobinemia happens when the hemoglobin in your red blood cells is chemically altered in such a way that they can no longer bind oxygen. In extreme cases this can lead to asphyxiation. Benzocaine increases the likelihood of this condition in people who are genetically predisposed. Read more from the AAAP (here; .pdf) and the FDA (here). On a side note, if you've ever heard of people in Kentucky who were blue due to inbreeding, it was because of this same condition (methemoglobinemia). Though in their case it was due strictly to genetics, not the use of Oragel. See

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