Healthy Teeth Basics

The Tooth Hurts
No matter how hard you try to keep your child’s teeth strong and healthy, accidents can happen. Precautions like baby-proofing your home and getting a mouth guard for athletic activities can help to prevent serious injuries. But if dental damage should occur, try not to panic (the mouth bleeds a lot, whether an injury is serious or not!). Simply call the dentist ASAP, and consider this situation-specific advice from the AAPD and Academy of General Dentistry (AGD):

o Chipped tooth
Most chips in baby teeth aren’t cause for concern and can be smoothed out or left alone. If the mouth or lips were injured, rinse with water, apply cold compresses to reduce swelling and/or consult your pediatrician or pediatric dentist to learn the appropriate dose of Children’s Tylenol to relieve pain.

o The wiggles
Kids begin to lose their baby teeth as early as age 4, but if a tooth has been knocked loose before that, try to keep it from falling out. Your dentist will probably recommend a soft diet for a few days in the hope that it will heal back into place-but may want to take an X-ray if more serious damage seems likely.

o Total knockout
If a baby tooth gets completely knocked out, it should never be replanted, as this could pose damage to the developing permanent tooth. Some dentists may put a fake tooth in place, but usually just for cosmetic reasons.