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Ask a Pediatric Dentist – What if My Child Has a Baby Tooth Knocked Out?
The pediatric dentist knows your child is active, and accidents can happen. You might be unsure what to do if something knocks a baby tooth out. You may think that since the tooth would have eventually fallen out anyway, it is no big deal. Or, you might worry about the impact the lost tooth will have on your child’s oral health. The loss of a tooth can be scary. There are a few things that the pediatric dentist recommends you do in the event of an unexpected loss of your child’s tooth.
Call the pediatric dentist
Baby teeth do not have deep roots like permanent teeth. It is easier to knock a baby tooth loose, and often there is no lasting damage to the surrounding tissue. But it is always a good idea to speak to a pediatric dentist who can evaluate the circumstances. The dentist can get all the pertinent information and decide if the child should come in for an in-person evaluation. It may not be an emergency but could still require attention.
Baby teeth are important
Baby teeth are going to fall out on their own, but removing them before it is time can create oral health issues. Without the baby tooth, the other teeth may migrate in the mouth. Permanent teeth may not erupt in the correct position or could also migrate. In very young children, the loss of a baby tooth can impact their ability to chew until other baby teeth have erupted.
The biggest reason why it is a good idea to call the pediatric dentist is to assess whether other damage occurred. The impact that knocked the baby tooth out could have damaged other teeth, the face, or jawbones. If this happens, the child will most likely be in some pain. Knocking a baby tooth out prematurely can also cause some nerve damage.
Do try to find the tooth
Locating the lost tooth is important for several reasons. For younger children, accidentally swallowing the tooth could cause them to choke. In some cases, only a piece of the tooth breaks on impact. The broken piece could be sharp. The pediatric dentist may inspect the lost tooth as well as the now-empty socket during the evaluation.
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What happens next
When baby teeth get knocked out, the pediatric dentist cannot put them back. But the lost tooth is no longer there, and the other teeth can move into the space. Misalignment and crowded teeth can lead to bigger problems down the road. Your pediatric dentist may decide to place a space maintainer to hold the existing teeth in place, leaving a gap until the permanent tooth comes in. Your pediatric dentist will not place implants in your child’s mouth because the jaw is still growing, so the implant will not stay fixed. If a baby tooth breaks but is not knocked out completely, the pediatric dentist will decide to either pull the tooth or place a cap.
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