3rd South Dental

Help! My child lost a tooth!

Child looks at lost milk tooth

Help! My child lost a tooth!

Whether it be through physical activity, eating or any other natural methods, children are bound to lose teeth. This is especially the case when you child is young enough to still be losing their milk teeth and there permanent teeth are slowly erupting through their gums. However, it can happen that your child or teenage loses a permanent tooth. In either situation, it is important as a parent to know what to do and what to expect in either of these circumstances, so you can make the correct decisions and keep your child calm.

Milk teeth:

Children normally start to lose their milk teeth around 5 or 6 years of age. This is why most dentists or orthodontists encourage parents to bring their children in around the age of 7, so they can assess if a child’s permanent teeth are growing correctly. During this time, your child may want to play with their loose milk teeth. This is a normal reaction and it is safe to wiggle loose milk teeth, however, pulling or tugging on the tooth should be discouraged. Pulling on the tooth can cause damage to the gums and can risk infection.

If a tooth is knocked or falls out, there may be some blood. As a parent, you can use a sterile wipe/ baby wipe to gently wipe the blood away from the spot where the tooth was. You can also get your child to rinse their mouth out with salt water, as this is another way to clean out the blood and sterilize the gum area. If this does not stop the bleeding, a sterile gauze or cool tea bag can be placed at the bleeding site.

Once the bleeding has stopped and your child is still feeling some discomfort, anti-inflammatory medication can be taken to reduce any swelling, and a topical anesthetic can also be applied to numb the area.

You should still visit your dentist to ensure there is no further damage to your child’s teeth, and that the permanent tooth underneath was not impacted in any way.

The experience of losing a milk tooth is a great opportunity to enforce good dental hygiene habits in your children and educate them about the importance of looking after their permanent teeth.

Permanent teeth:

Seeing your child lose a permanent tooth can be a heart-stopping moment, but it is important to know how to react in such a situation to prevent serious damage to your child’s teeth. The knocked out tooth needs to be found, cleaned and gently pushed back into the socket. The site will bleed and a blood clot will form that will not allow the tooth to be re-inserted. If it can not be re-inserted, the tooth should be cleaned and placed in cold milk or saliva. You should take your child to the dentist immediately so that they can re-insert the tooth or make sure the tooth was inserted correctly.

If the permanent tooth is lost or the tooth was only badly chipped or cracked and did not fall out completely, there are many cosmetic dentistry options that can fix or replace the tooth and restore your child’s smile and confidence. Your dentist will be able to assist you in both cases, so it is essential that you get to your dentist’s offices. Most offices do allow for emergency appointments, so do not hesitate to call your dentist after hours or over a weekend.