I have thought many times in the last few months that babies really should be born with their teeth to save them, and us, all this hassle and crying. My 10 month old is also a slow and painful teether. He's been teething since October and finally cut his third tooth last night. same story - the tooth is right there for what seems like weeks but just won't cut through. It's so frustrating to see them in pain and not be able to make it better.
Here's what works for us - Hyland's teething gel. I give it to him before naps and bedtime. It seems to help and he is excited to get it when he sees the tube. it's homeopathic and no side effects. The other thing that has helped us is herbs to deal with the belly discomfort. They seem to have stronger saliva when they are teething and so everything from their chin to their little bums and everything in between in their digestive systems seems irritated. Chamomile and peppermint were recommended to us. They helped settle his belly. But these aren't the best herbs with homeopathics so I switched to fennel (to settle his tummy) and catnip (recommended by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar as the herb for teething pain. it actually has sedating effects). I make a good strong tea, refrigerate it and then dilute some with water on a daily basis for him to drink. It really seems to help.
aside from this, I just end up comforting him lots for naps and we're up a whole lot at night unfortunately. I've given him ibuprofen this week as he's cutting both top front teeth at once. one's out and hopefully the other is on its way soon.
I keep hanging on to the notion that it gets better as they get used to this whole teething business. here's hoping for all our babies!