Trauma in baby teeth

So last week we had young James visit our practice as he had fallen down and pushed his baby tooth quite significantly inwards and his mother asked me a real question which I feel is important for us as parents to know but also one that we rarely ask for fear of it being a silly question !

“Will James adult tooth be affected ?”

A number of injuries to the face area tend to affect teeth and the huge range of statistics available in worldwide studies also means there is relatively little known about these injuries. While at times the damage is of little concern, the other times baby teeth can be pushed in severely or even knocked out.

So what do we know ?

We know that the younger the age of the child and the more severe the nature of the dental injury, the higher the chance for it to affect the developing adult teeth.

So can taking an X-ray tell us if the adult teeth are damaged ?

The simple answer is, no! If this were the case we could predict quite easily the long term risk of damage and we would prescribe x-rays on every child. While an x-ray can show us the adult tooth, very rarely can it show us the damage that may (or may not have) been sustained to the underlying adult tooth. So my answer to this is almost always to wait with regular monitoring and then perhaps plan as a team at a later stage (IF) there was significant damage to the developing adult tooth.

What can we do now?

Firstly, recommended first aid in a child with a damaged baby tooth is

  1. Stay calm and provide reassurance to the child or parent
  2. Control any bleeding from the area
  3. Assess the injury
  4. If a baby tooth has been knocked out DO NOT PUT IT BACK. (Note: Different rule for adult teeth which we ALMOST ALWAYS attempt to replace)
  5. Contact your dentist

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