As children grow and begin to lose their baby teeth, adult teeth grow in their place. These sturdier teeth are the ones they will use for the rest of their lives — so keeping them strong, healthy, and clean is extremely important.
However, an active and unpredictable childhood offers plenty of ways for a child’s adult teeth to become loose!
From athletic mishaps to falls, or even biting into something very hard, a child’s world is a minefield of tooth-loosening opportunities.
Here, we’ll explore some common questions parents face when it comes to their child’s adult tooth becoming loose, including what your immediate response should be.
Is It Normal for Permanent Teeth to Wiggle?
Permanent teeth — also known as adult teeth — can become loose and start to wiggle for a number of reasons, such as:
- Underlying medical causes, like gum disease as a result of poor oral hygiene
- A build-up of dental plaque
- Sudden injury or impact
While wobbly permanent teeth are a fairly common occurrence among children, it’s not considered normal — barring an accident, your healthy teeth should remain firmly in place.
However, keep in mind, all teeth (both baby and permanent) are a little, teeny, tiny bit wiggly. This is due to the periodontal ligament fibers (tiny muscle fibers) that wrap around the root of the tooth. Any tooth movement beyond 1mm is not within the normal expected mobility and could be a sign of trauma or disease.
Will a Loose Permanent Tooth Tighten on Its Own?
In cases of mild injury, the gums may heal and re-tighten, allowing the tooth to firm back into place if left untouched while it heals.
However, in most cases, consulting with your child’s dentist is highly recommended.
The goods news is that, with the help of a dentist, a loose tooth can often be stabilized with a splint. This temporary procedure allows the gums and ligaments to strengthen around the tooth until they are ready to hold it firmly in place once again.
Without the correct treatment from your dentist, however, the loose tooth might not be able to heal itself and may remain loose or even become wobblier. Not all teeth need to be splinted if they can move, so be sure to consult with your pediatric dentist first if you are wondering if a splint may be necessary — Never try to do this at home!
What Should I Do If My Child’s Permanent Tooth Comes Loose?
If your child has an injury that results in a loose adult tooth, check out the situation immediately and use your best judgment. If their gum is bleeding, have them gently bite down on some gauze to slow the blood loss. Sucking on an ice pop or ice cube might help minimize any swelling in the area.
Once you’ve dealt with any immediate issues, you’ll want to call your child’s dentist as soon as possible. They’ll be able to offer advice about stabilizing the tooth and schedule an appointment if needed.
What Should I Do If a Permanent Tooth Falls Out?
If a permanent tooth falls out, you’ll need to act quickly!
Your best chance of saving the tooth is to rinse it gently with water or saliva and immediately press it back into its socket.
Be sure not to touch the root portion with your fingers. Have your child bite down gently with gauze to keep it in place while you schedule an emergency appointment with your pediatric dentist.
You never want to reinsert an avulsed baby tooth, as this can damage the permanent tooth growing underneath the surface.
If your child is too young to hold the tooth in place, or you’re worried they might swallow it, it’s crucial to keep the tooth from drying out. Place it in milk or saliva to keep it moist, and bring it with you to your child’s dentist as soon as possible.
Never let an avulsed tooth soak in water!
Will an Adult Tooth Grow Back?
No, your child’s adult teeth will not grow back — we only have one set of these!
If they lose a permanent tooth, your best bet is to save the tooth and bring it along immediately to the dentist, where there is a chance they can repair or replace it. Alternatively, they can have a tooth implant placed instead, which will require a consultation with your pediatric or family dentist.
Contact Fox Kids Dentistry for Emergency Pediatric Dental Care in Portland
We offer quality dental care and a compassionate environment for children in the Portland, Oregon area!