Losing a tooth as a child can be an exciting time and a rite of passage for most children. When the new tooth pushes the primary or baby tooth out, some wiggling or a good bite of apple can lead to a lucrative visit from the tooth fairy. However, when a tooth – either a primary tooth or a permanent tooth – is lost prematurely, it can lead to oral health problems for the child.
In childhood, premature tooth loss is typically due to trauma, such as a fall or getting hit in the mouth with a baseball. While many parents think that losing a baby tooth isn’t a big deal because they child would have lost it eventually, it actually can affect spacing of the permanent teeth. Without the baby tooth, the permanent tooth is also more likely to come in crooked or out of alignment.
Parents often ask what they should do if a child loses a tooth. Dr. Jamil Alkhoury has been providing regular and emergency dental care to patients of all ages in Brentwood, California for many years. He indicates that parents should attempt to save the tooth and get to a hospital or dental office immediately. Not only is time of the essence when trying to replant a lost tooth, but the area needs to be examined for bone fragments or other damage to the tissue of the mouth. On route to the hospital, the tooth should be placed into milk, if possible, or water.
As with most childhood accidents, losing a tooth can’t always be prevented. However, there are some things that parents can do to help minimize the risk. First, understand that the tooth roots and gums of a child are still developing. This is why children tend to lose permanent teeth more frequently than adults. Ensure that children always wear a mouth guard while playing sports, establish proper dental care habits, and have an emergency dental care plan that includes important phone numbers and information about what to do in the case of a tooth loss situation.