Kids lose teeth frequently during their younger years; primary (baby) teeth fall out and get replaced by permanent adult teeth, usually beginning around the age of six, but sometimes as early as four. Most of the time, loose teeth are nothing to worry about and will fall out naturally.
However, there are a few situations in which a child’s loose tooth can be problematic and they may need to see their pediatric dentist.
Situation #1: When There’s Extreme Pain or Discomfort
Losing baby teeth is normally painless, as the teeth loosen naturally and fall out on their own. So if your child’s baby tooth is loose and causing them intense pain or discomfort, something may be wrong.
The tooth may be broken or cracked, or the root of the tooth may be infected. Additionally, it’s possible the gums around the tooth may be infected. No matter why your child’s tooth is loose, there’s no reason for your child to feel discomfort, and a visit to a dentist with a variety of services can get to the bottom of what’s happening.
Situation #2: When it’s their Adult Teeth
Adult teeth should be permanent, which means they aren’t supposed to be loose or wiggle. If your child has a loose adult tooth, a trip to the dentist is probably in order. Whether the tooth is loose because of trauma (from falling or if they got hit in the face with a ball, for example) or gum disease or something else, seeing a dentist to quickly find out why your child’s tooth is loose may be essential to save the tooth.
Situation #3: When it’s Interfering with their Daily Life
If a loose tooth, baby or adult, is interfering with your child’s quality of life in a big way, it’s time to see the dentist. If they can’t get a full night’s sleep due to pain or the distraction of the tooth, this can lead to other issues like fatigue or difficulty learning at school.
Additionally, if the loose tooth is interfering with their ability to eat or drink, schedule an appointment with your child’s dentist immediately. If the tooth is too loose for them to chew effectively or too sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, your child’s loose tooth needs examination.
Situation #4: When it’s Been Loose for Too Long
If a tooth has been loose for longer than a few weeks, consider a visit to the dentist. This is rare, but it can happen that a baby tooth takes a month or so to fall out naturally, but if it’s been too much longer than that, a dentist may be able to provide some insight. Perhaps there’s a problem with the root of the tooth or the surrounding gum line; whatever the cause, your pediatric dentist can help.
Situation #5: When Double Teeth Occur
Doubled teeth are when your child’s adult teeth begin to come in before their baby teeth have fallen out, or even sometimes before a child’s tooth is loose. This surprisingly common situation occurs when the adult tooth is not growing directly underneath the baby tooth, meaning the adult tooth can’t push the baby tooth out of the way like it ordinarily would.
Though this situation is common, it may require a visit to the dentist if the adult tooth is at least halfway erupted and the baby tooth shows no sign of loosening on its own. Monitor your child’s teeth closely, and should loosening not occur, schedule a consultation with their dentist.
Situation #6: When Baby Teeth Stay too Long
If your child’s baby teeth have not started to fall out by the age of seven, schedule a visit with your dentist. A child’s first loose tooth should happen by the age of five or six, so if their seventh birthday rolls around and no baby teeth show any signs of loosening, that can cause problems later in life.
Baby teeth hold space for adult teeth to come in, so if a tooth falls out too early or too late, it can lead to spacing issues later on. This could cause a need for orthodontia like braces, mouth guards, and more. So if your child’s baby teeth are lingering, contact your pediatric dentist for guidance.
Contact Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas
Whether your child’s loose tooth is caused by pain, trauma, double teeth, baby teeth taking too long to fall out, or something else entirely, Children’s Dentistry can help. With locations throughout the Las Vegas area staffed by our friendly, welcoming team, we’re available to help you and your child navigate the world of loosening teeth. Contact us with your questions or to schedule an appointment today.