Of course young children have falls and scrapes all of the time. If your child has a fall and bashes their baby teeth it is naturally very distressing. This is why we generally want to keep any treatment as simple as possible.
It’s normally front teeth that will be hit when someone has an accident. Children will have baby front teeth from around 6 months old up until they start to come out at around 6 years old. So if your child has an accident between the ages of 6 months and 6 years, it is likely that any teeth hit will be baby teeth.
If your child has an accident and you are concerned about their teeth, you need to head to your dentist. Below, I will outline what your dentist may do in different situations and what you should do afterwards.
If the baby teeth have been knocked but you can’t see a break or anything like that, generally, your dentist won’t need to do very much. They will just need to check everything and give you some advice.
The advice will be as follows. Only give your child softer foods for a few days. Keep things as clean as possible with very gentle brushing. The teeth and gums are likely to be sore but just do the best you can. If your child is in pain, give your child whatever painkillers you would normally give them if they were poorly or had a headache.
Teeth that have moved
If teeth have been pushed into a different position by the trauma then your dentist may need to do something. If they are okay and not getting in the way then your dentist may say it’s best to leave them there. Your child will not have had a good day so far and there is no point making it worse if we don’t need to. Often, the teeth will move back slightly. Kids are very spongy and heal really well.
Your dentist may need to do some treatment in certain circumstances. If the teeth have moved to a position where there are interfering with the bite, they may need to be removed. The other time a tooth may need removing is if it is being pushing into the growing adult tooth underneath. If this is happening, it may damage the adult tooth. In this situation, it is better to get rid of the baby tooth.
Broken baby teeth
If a baby tooth has been broken by a fall, again it can be best just to do nothing. If we can avoid more upset by avoiding any scary treatment then everyone is happy. If it is a bad break then the dentist may need to do something. The tooth may need patching up or taking out. This is something your dentist will have to judge. However, I believe it’s best to do as little as possible. It may be that treatment can be avoided on the day of the accident and done at a later date when everyone feels a bit less upset and stressed.
Knocked out baby teeth
Knocked out baby teeth can not be put back in. It’s best just to leave the area to heal and to wait for the grown up teeth the come through. Of course, you should still attend the dentist to check everything else is okay.
Knocked out child
If your child has been knocked unconscious at any point, you need to go to the hospital rather than the dentist. Head injuries need to be treated very seriously and sometimes there are more important things than your teeth.
Possible consequences of trauma to baby teeth
After the dust has settled and any cuts and bruises have gone, there are several things that you should be aware of following a bang to baby teeth. Hopefully there is no lasting damage to the teeth but things to watch out for are outlined below.
If the baby teeth die they may discolour and go grey. Although this doesn’t look very nice, we don’t normally need to do anything about it. As long as they aren’t painful or infected, they can be left to come out naturally in their own time. They are only baby teeth and will be replaced by the grown up teeth soon enough.
Baby teeth that have been traumatised can be slow to come out on their own. This can be a consequence of a trauma and is just something to bare in mind. Sometimes they need a little helping hand from the dentist to get them out. This is really simple if required.
If baby teeth are hit, it is possible they can be pushed into the growing adult tooth underneath and damage it. This is something that you won’t be able to tell until the grown up tooth starts to come through. Depending on when the trauma happens, the effects on the adult tooth may vary.
If the trauma happens very young, between the age of 0 and 3 years old, then the grown up tooth may come through with a white mark or dent in the front of the tooth. The tooth may be slower to come through than the other grown up teeth.
If the trauma happens when the child is older than 3 years old, any damage may not be visible. The tooth may develop a bend in the root that means it is much slower to come through and may need help with some form of brace. This is very uncommon but possible. It’s something that your dentist needs to look out for if the grown up tooth is very slow to come through.
It is important to get your child to see a dentist as soon as you can. Any treatment at this distressing time should be kept to a minimum. If you are unsure about whether there has been any damage or not, it is worth getting it checked out.
Our advised is based on the evidence base of the Dental Trauma Guide.