Learning to Take Better Care of Your Family's Teeth

Can A Knocked Out Baby Tooth Be Replaced?

When an adult tooth is knocked out, a race against time begins. A dentist can splint the lost tooth back into position if you get to them fast enough, and the tooth will begin to repair its root structure, eventually stabilizing itself. But what happens when a baby tooth has been knocked out?

Root Structure

Although the lost tooth might still be more-or-less intact, it cannot be reinserted into your child's mouth. This is because baby (or primary) teeth have a different root structure than permanent (or secondary) teeth, and putting the tooth back into its socket can disrupt the progress of the secondary tooth that will erupt beneath it.

Dental Treatment

It's certainly not a case of leaving the situation as is, and your child will still require dental treatment. Contact your child's pediatric dentist to see if they can treat your child immediately, otherwise, you will need to visit an emergency dentist.

Potential Damage

The treating dentist will need to thoroughly inspect the site of the trauma, checking for secondary concerns. This could involve damage to surrounding teeth, which may have been affected without being knocked out. These teeth can require stabilization. Any soft tissue damage will also need to be treated, and it might also be that fragments of the lost tooth have remained in your child's mouth.

Temporary Solution

Once the initial trauma has been managed, a temporary solution will need to be found. This is only a temporary solution because the tooth in question will naturally be replaced in time, and it's a case of making sure that this replacement process isn't disrupted. This type of treatment will often be delayed until the site of the trauma has healed.

No Intervention

It depends on your child's age and dental development, but when the tooth was in the process of being replaced (which will be confirmed with an x-ray), no intervention might be necessary. When that replacement tooth is still some years off, an artificial replacement will be required, and this is a common element of pediatric dentistry. 

Replacement Options

For rear molars, a space maintainer might be installed. This is basically a small, strong loop of wire which prevents the neighboring teeth from crowding into the space, enabling the successful growth of the eventual secondary tooth. For more prominent teeth, your child will receive a temporary prosthesis. This means that the teeth on either side of the gap can need dental crowns, which will be attached to a prosthetic tooth, creating a dental bridge. This prosthetic tooth sits atop the gum, so it won't interfere with the growth of the secondary tooth. 

A knocked-out baby tooth cannot be replaced, but an artificial replacement is a possibility, even though it will only be needed temporarily. Reach out to a pediatric dentist to learn more.