Your little ones pearly whites are precious
However, although you'd expect the odd graze or bruise as part of toddler-life, you may be surprised to know that losing or chipping a tooth is also pretty common.
“My child chipped one of his baby teeth. What should I do?”
It may well be absolutely fine but it is always best to take your child to the dentist to have it checked just in case. If there is any bleeding, pack the gums with wet, sterile gauze or hold ice cubes wrapped in a piece of clean cloth onto the area.
Give your child the appropriate dose of infant paracetamol if they are in pain and look out for any signs of infection, such as fever, swelling or tenderness. Sometimes teeth can be knocked out of place a little. In which case, the tooth may well settle back into place naturally. In other cases it might need to be adjusted a little by the dentist. Occasionally, if a tooth is very loose the dentist might think it best to remove it.
The expert view
Dentist Natasha Roberts says: “Go to see a dentist who will check for any underlying damage and will advise on after-care. It might be fine but if a tooth is banged it can die off, discolour and get an infection that can affect the permanent tooth underneath it”.
If the tooth does become dark or discoloured, it could still be all right, but will need to be checked to make sure that any damage is purely cosmetic.
What if your child loses a baby tooth?
Dr Nigel Carter from the British Dental Health Foundation says: “Contact your dentist as soon as possible for advice. They may need to examine the child to check if any fragments of tooth are still in the gum. There is no way of temporarily replacing a baby tooth, so the treatment is to wait for the adult tooth to come through".
Although losing a tooth may come as a bit of a shock to your child (and to you!), as long as the tooth comes out cleanly, the chances are it should heal without any problems. And a special visit from the tooth fairy does wonders for soothing sore gums and hurt feelings.
A mum's view:
Mum of two, Jo Freeley says: “When my four-year-old daughter took a serious tumble, banged her face on the pavement, and it then emerged one of her front teeth had come out, apart from comforting her as much as possible, I didn’t know what to do. After she had calmed down I rang the GP practice. I think the most important thing when some unexpected injury happens to your child is to keep calm and get some advice you can trust.
“The tooth fairy was very generous that night on account of the ‘special circumstances’, telling her in a note how brave she had been. She felt very special indeed. In the weeks that followed she lost the remaining three of her four front teeth. It was a shame but nothing more than a cosmetic minor bother. She is unfazed, and patiently awaits the arrival of her ‘big teeth’”.