A Loose Tooth Due to Trauma

 

A patient called up for an appointment for a family member who had a loose tooth. When his name showed up on my schedule I was very concerned for him. I had done much work for him in terms of fillings, and some of them were large. When someone has a strong bite and large fillings, and then the tooth is reported as loose, this could be a biting surface of the tooth that broke needing a crown. Worse yet would be if the tooth is fractured in half and can’t be saved.

 

The first surprise was that it was not the person I thought but his 9 year old son with the same name! It turned out that he had bitten down very hard on a thick piece of crispy bacon and actually loosened  one of his baby teeth. When children lose teeth, the permanent tooth forms under the baby tooth and slowly dissolved the root of the tooth. In this way the baby tooth can exfoliate (fall out) when the permanent tooth has pushed to the surface. For this patient, that process has already started even though he should keep that tooth for 2 more years. In any case, there was no damage to that tooth and it should tighten up for him in the next few days.

 

So, the treatment for permanent teeth and baby teeth may not always be the same. I try to bend over backwards to save the permanent tooth. With baby teeth, it is an advantage to keep the teeth until the appropriate time so that an unfavorable orthodontic situation does not develop. Luckily for this child the situation was just a scare for the mom.