Isn't teething just the worst?! Penny showed signs of teething around Thanksgiving, and it took until the week of Christmas for her two front top teeth to finally make their appearance. If I were to use Tylenol, that would've been like a month of giving Tylenol. I don't mind giving it once in awhile if Penny really seems to need it, but I definitely don't want to give it every day for weeks. As far as any benzocaine medications (orajel, anbesol, etc), we avoid those completely with Penny. In April of last year, the FDA published a statement that benzocaine shouldn't be used on children under 2, and I like to be conservative about these things. It also makes me nervous about numbing her throat.
We've used Hylands homeopathic teething gel in the past, and I think it works okay. This time around, I purchased homeopathic chamomilia tablets from our local health food store, and they really seemed to make a difference. They are tiny white tablets that dissolve instantly when placed in the mouth. I gave one tablet four times each day (after consulting with someone knowledgeable about homeopathic medicine) when Penny seemed bothered, and she really seemed to like them (much more so than the tablets). I also made some chamomile pops that Penny loves. Here's the recipe:
Brew chamomile tea, then allow to cool.
Mix 1 part tea with 1 part water and 1 part apple juice. I used organic, 100% apple juice. You probably want to make sure there isn't added sugar. You could substitute another juice, a fruit puree, or whatever your baby likes. The juice is just to make it palatable.
Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze.
I bought one of those mesh feeder tools so that Penny could suck on it like a popsicle. She loves them! You could also freeze them in popsicle molds.