Dealing with a knocked out baby tooth is a different process to dealing with a knocked out adult tooth, and it's important to know the correct process if such a thing was to happen to your child. At face value, a knocked out baby tooth might not seem like a major concern, since an adult tooth will eventually take its place. There can be some complications that you need to be aware of to ensure your child's long term dental health.
Reinsertion is Not Possible
A baby tooth can be knocked out for the same reasons as an adult tooth. It might be that a blow to the head has caused the tooth to break off. You might have heard that a knocked out adult tooth can be reinserted, if it can be located, cleaned, and ideally placed back into its socket until such time as an emergency dentist can perform an examination. Do not attempt this process with a knocked out baby tooth. You will not know the state of the adult tooth that might be developing underneath it, about to begin its slow eruption from the gum. Placing a baby tooth back into its socket has the potential to damage the still delicate adult tooth beneath it. This also means that a baby tooth cannot be reinserted by your dentist.
An Examination is Necessary
Even if the break appears to be a clean one, you should still see a dentist as soon as possible. While it might be necessary that your child lives with a gap in their smile for a longer period than if the baby tooth was to fall out of its own accord, an examination will still be necessary. You cannot say with certainty that the break was entirely clean and you dentist will need to ensure that there are no remaining fragments of the baby tooth. An x-ray might be necessary at this stage, which can also identify if there has been any damage to your child's jawbone as a result of the injury that led to the tooth loss. Any fragments will need to be removed to ensure the smooth emergence of the adult tooth.
If a baby tooth is knocked out, your dentist might request that they see your child with greater regularity. The angle of the baby tooth traditionally acts as a guide for the adult tooth that is growing beneath it, and your dentist will need to ensure that the tooth emerges at the correct angle without the usual guide. In some cases, orthodontic spacers (generally used for braces) will be needed to guide the development of the tooth.
A knocked out baby tooth can be a cause for alarm, although with some minor treatment and care, you can ensure that the development of your child's adult teeth will not be adversely affected.Share
10 October 2017
I have worked as a school nurse for decades. Children come to me with all sorts of scrapes and bumps and bruises. Black eyes from playing football, sprained wrists from falling off the monkey bars and stomachaches from too many sweets are common complaints. However, the issue that seems to cause the greatest angst is tooth problems. Sometimes a child will have a second tooth knocked out when playing sport and parents arrive in tears. At other times, children come to my office crying because their friends are teasing them about teeth that are discoloured or stick out. I take an active interest in the latest dental news so that I can give parents and children comfort and advice. I have included some of my collected wisdom on these pages. Perhaps this information can help you understand some options when faced with a dental problem. Thank you for reading.