Can Teething Cause a Fever? When to Go to Urgent Care

A young mother cradles her crying infant.

If you’re up with a teething baby who feels warm to the touch, you might be wondering, “Can teething cause a fever?” According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your baby may have a very slight increase in body temperature whenever they’re growing a new tooth. Still, it’s typically not enough to be considered a fever, which is a rectal temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s essential to understand this minor increase in temperature is likely caused by gum inflammation as their teeth begin to cut through the delicate gum tissues. However, if your child is teething and develops a fever, it’s important to seek medical care to rule out or catch potential illnesses or infections that require treatment.

Teething fever symptoms

A teething fever begins about 1 day before the tooth erupts and goes away within a day or two of the tooth cutting through the gums. It’s not uncommon for a child to have a low-grade fever (less than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) as well as one or more of the following symptoms when teething:

  • Drooling
  • Swollen gums
  • Chewing and biting everything within reach
  • Rubbing around their mouth, cheeks and ears
  • Irritability, especially at night
  • Mouth rash
  • Temporarily decreased appetite

How to care for a teething fever at home

If your baby has a low-grade fever while teething, try these safe, effective at-home strategies to help them feel better:

  • Lukewarm bath
    A relaxing warm bath can help your baby feel better and take their mind off the pain.
  • Massage
    Massage your baby’s body with a warm washcloth to stimulate pain-relieving hormones and feel-good endorphins. You can also massage your baby’s gums with a clean finger to alleviate pain and reduce swelling.
  • Teething toys
    Offer your baby something safe to chew on, like a teething ring, to help alleviate pain. For added comfort and to decrease swelling, cool them down in the refrigerator first.

When to seek urgent care

Here’s where things can get a little complicated because the symptoms of teething and sickness can be hard to differentiate. And when babies are teething, the open wounds in their mouths make them more susceptible to catching viruses like a cold, ear infection, or other illnesses, which can lead to a fever. Visit your child’s pediatrician or a local urgent care center if your teething child has one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Diaper rash
  • Unexplained rash on the body
  • Excessive crying or fussiness
  • Unusual drowsiness

A good rule of thumb for teething children is to seek medical care if their temperature goes higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit or if they have other symptoms of illness.

If your child is struggling with a persistent or severe fever, visit Coastal Urgent Care of Thibodaux for fast, affordable treatment. Our board-certified doctors are skilled and experienced in providing high-quality and compassionate pediatric care for colds, flu, fever, allergies, sore throat, ear pain and several other medical conditions. We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week.