Is your baby cranky because of teething? Is a tooth really coming in? Are you delaying sleep training because of teeth? I believe teething is one of life's greatest mysteries.
You could make your child wear a soggy bib for eternity- no tooth. Your baby could be drooling like a Saint Bernard, and you are sure a tooth is imminent. You may think your baby is getting a tooth now, and see no sign of a tooth for a year!
You could also think your baby is not teething, then out of the blue, five teeth appear, and you feel like a crappy parent that did not even notice your toothless baby was not so toothless anymore.
Pediatricians cannot always give you a definite answer. Mothers-in-law are not to be trusted about teeth and remember what it was like when their kids were babies :) It is just hard to tell. It is a bit of a guessing game.
Some signs are pretty obvious - like a bump or a swollen gum, but that is not always the case. Once those little razor-like bumps cut through, your baby is typically more at ease.
You will want to manage your child's teething pain, but sometimes it can feel like you are giving pain meds around the clock with no proof that you need to do so. They are tricky, those teeth.
I would like to invent a tooth scanner so parents could get a definitive answer about teeth. We can send a man to the moon over fifty years ago, but somehow a teething detector is beyond our control.
Teething looks like being overtired. Overtired looks like reflux. Reflux looks like teething. It is often hard to decipher what your child's fussiness is all about. I call it "Fussy Soup."
Most of the parents who thought their kids were teething just needed to do some fantastic sleep work, and then they saw the light. Fix one thing at a time. This way, you can eliminate that culprit from Fussy Soup.
If your baby is typically cranky, make sure to discuss that with your pediatrician to rule out any medical conditions. You would hate to miss an ear infection or painful constipation. If you are your child's timekeeper, then uptime is typically a happy time, and downtime is sleeping.
Remember that your baby will be teething for over two years! Make sure that you are not delaying teaching sleep because that infamous tooth is coming because guess what? Another is coming soon enough.
Start sleep work when you are pretty sure there is not a tooth on the verge or if you do, make sure to discuss pain meds with your Doctor and how to handle keeping your baby comfortable.