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Tooth Knocked Loose

January 28, 2008

In September 2006, my daughter fell on my parents’ hardwood floor and knocked her two upper front teeth loose. We wanted to save them so that she would have normal language development. Unfortunately, she was 30 months old when it happened which is prime language acquisition time. If she had lost the baby teeth and had to wait another 4 years for new teeth to grow in, the way she pronounces words would have been affected.

We were really frightened by her fall. At first we took her to the hospital emergency room, but it turns out that dentists are not available on an emergency basis. We waited until the next day and took her to a pediatric dentist to be evaluated. They took an X-ray to see if the roots had been damaged. She was given antibiotics. A couple of weeks later we had her evaluated again. An X-ray showed that the antibiotics had not been successful in preventing the teeth from abscessing. The impact of the fall caused both teeth to abscess and she had to have that bacteria cleaned out in order to save the roots. Her surgery went well and, although both teeth yellowed, they did stay in place.

Then, last night my children were horsing around and my daughter knocked her front teeth into the back of my son’s head. This time only one tooth was loose. It was obvious that the tooth would need to come out. My husband completely freaked out. My poor son was left to comfort himself by rubbing his head and muttering “ow.”

I was trying to get everyone to relax and take things one step at a time. The first step was to stop freaking out. The second step was to let me see inside my daughter’s mouth. The third step was to take some pain medicine and sip some water. The next step was to make a plan for Monday morning: call the dentist, get advice over the phone, go into the office if necessary, put it on the credit card.

I took her to our dentist this morning and he took an X-ray to see what internal damage there was. The root of the tooth had broken. There were two shards visible in the X-ray. He asked me to stay in the waiting room while he pulled the tooth because moms tend not to cope well watching dental procedures. I could hear her screaming through the walls.

She was very brave and got a “Star Patient” sticker and several other rewards. It’s going to be difficult to hear her lisp as her tongue navigates the new hole. When she is talking to me I have to try really hard not to look in her mouth. I have to tell myself to make eye contact with her and not be rude. At this point I think it’s not so much a language development issue as it is a body image issue.

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my daughter's upper teeth

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Quite a dramatic way to start the week, wouldn’t you agree?

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19 Comments
  1. January 28, 2008 1:34 pm

    OUCH! Poor thing.

    And baby brother’s head. How is that?

  2. colorblindcupid permalink
    January 28, 2008 1:35 pm

    OMG! This is a huge fear of mine. My stomach was rolling just reading that. I’m so sorry.

    There’s a set of twins at church and in the Fall one fell on the sidewalk and knocked her front teeth loose – and through her bottom lip. I was in Sunday School with her and kept trying not to look at her face the whole hour – I would start to feel faint. I don’t know how you handled the dentist office by yourself. I would have made my husband take off work because I would have been a MESS.

  3. January 28, 2008 2:25 pm

    Thanks for the sympathy. Baby brother is fine. He could hear his sister crying and said to me, “Oh no! Cry!” But we are home now recovering. They are both asleep.

    I didn’t want my husband to take off work because he makes more stress for us. He would have been no help at all. πŸ˜› This way we got the excitement of taking a taxi.

    Knocking front teeth loose is a fairly common injury and I’m sure it’s a huge fear of many parents. It is not the end of the world, though.

  4. January 28, 2008 3:57 pm

    i love gappy toothed kid time! i know it’s a little sooner than expected but it’s pretty damn cute.

    At the age of 2, my oldest niece had a freak fall- a trip actually- and collided with a chair in such a way that it pushed her two front teeth back up into her gums. Oh. My. Word. She was rushed to the ER for X-rays and then went to the dentist. Thankfully, there were no other internal injuries or complications. The teeth just had to come back down again and they did. Still…

    That was a scary thing to see happen.

  5. January 28, 2008 4:23 pm

    So, should I tell her about the Tooth Fairy? The dentist sent the tooth home with us in a small envelope. What do you all think?

  6. January 28, 2008 4:55 pm

    My husband and i didn’t do any of those things- santa, Easter bunny, tooth fairy. My mom tried though, with all of these creatures, to change our minds, but i didn’t want to lie to the girls about magical things. There are things that happen that feel like magic and are magical like watching snow fall or seeing a double rainbow.

    When they lost a tooth, we took them for ice cream.

  7. January 28, 2008 5:18 pm

    We’re toothfairy people.

    Here’s the deal – try not to fall asleep with the tooth under her pillow and then have her wake up the next day with no $$ and just the tooth. I know with the excitement of the first tooth and all, it won’t happen THIS time…I’m just sayin….we’ve had to have a couple of 2-night “tooth sleepovers” so the tooth fairy could get a mulligan the next night.

  8. January 29, 2008 9:03 am

    Well, I didn’t mention the Tooth Fairy. I don’t think she would have believed me anyway. Christine, I really like your attitude about magical things.

    FreeFromItAll, that’s so funny that you would have to have a 2-night tooth sleepover. I can see how that would happen in a busy family! What is a mulligan (forgive my ignorance!)?

  9. January 29, 2008 8:06 pm

    i was taught about the tooth fairy, santa, etc. – but not like they were REAL, but rather that it was a fun story to believe and “play along with.” I think it’s a nice middle ground – you get to work on your pretending and creativity, but you aren’t lying or anything. it’s like the kid is in on the joke.

  10. January 29, 2008 9:51 pm

    Mulligan’s in golf are “do overs”. We get lots of do overs at our house for parents. Good thing our child is lenient. πŸ˜‰

  11. January 30, 2008 2:24 pm

    Sarah, that is a nice middle ground. πŸ™‚

    FreeFromItAll, oh, golf! No wonder I didn’t get it. Thanks for the explanation. πŸ™‚

  12. globetrotteri permalink
    February 11, 2008 1:46 am

    I think she looks really cute, even if it is a horrible way to start the year. My little brother (well, not so little any more) had an accident that left him without any front teeth until his adult teeth grew in. It was pretty scary for him. Then he had a run in with a baseball bat shortly after his adult teeth grew in. Now he doesn’t have any front teeth and loves to freak everyone out with his fake ones.

    Thank goodness your daughter didn’t lose her permanent teeth. Oh, and we loved visits from the tooth fairy. It seemed to make the pain of losing a tooth a little more light-hearted and fun.

  13. February 11, 2008 10:12 am

    Thanks for your support and for sharing that story about your brother’s teeth, Carrie.

  14. November 28, 2008 6:52 pm

    i’m freaking out right now scouring the internet because my daughter just fell and knocked her one front tooth back quite a bit. there’s no blood and she’s calm. we’re waiting for a call back from the dentist. i’m ususally calm but for some reason this has really got me worried and upset.
    she’s 5 so she’d be losing her tooth soon anyway…it seems it’ll just been sooner now.
    getting an xray is great idea. i’ll take her in as soon as i hear back from the dentist.
    thanks for sharing your story.

  15. November 28, 2008 7:41 pm

    Tracey, oh no! I’m sorry about your daughter’s accident. I hope my story helped comfort you a little. My daughter has to deal with people asking her about her missing tooth and the tooth fairy all the time now. She is quite annoyed with the questions, but I explained to her to be patient with well-meaning people. She turns 5 in March.

    Since tonight is Friday, it looks like you all might have to wait until Monday for the x-ray. That stinks.

  16. DENISE permalink
    December 21, 2008 12:32 am

    MY 5 YEAR OLD WAS RUNNING IN THE HOUSE AND FEL FLAT ON HIS FACE. HIS NOSE WAS BLEEDING, HE BIT HIS LIP AND HIS 2 FRONT TEETH ARE LOOSE. HES VERY AFRAID OF THE DENTIST SO ID LIKE 2 AVOID (ANOTHER) TRAMATIC SITUATION IF POSSIBLE. IS THERE ANY MAJOR THING I SHOULD LOOK OUT 4 THAT TELLS ME I ABSOLUTELY HAVE 2 TAKE HIM TO THE DENTIST? OFCOURSE ILL TAKE HIM IF ITS NECCESSARY!

    • December 21, 2008 11:03 am

      Denise, you won’t be able to assess any damage to the roots that there might be. That’s why you would need to go to the dentist for x-rays. If the roots are damaged there might be a space that could fill with fluid and get infected with bacteria. That would mean they would abscess. If it were my child, I would definitely take him to the dentist for x-rays on Monday.

    • June 6, 2009 1:00 pm

      Denise, I would for sure take your son to the Dentist.
      Here are some things to do to help with his fear of the dentist: Take him for regular check ups with a hygienist. she will let him play with the chair, the “tooth tickler,” and collect a prize when he is done. You can also take him for no reason, just to get acquainted and familiar with the office and staff. Let them know you are working on his fear and they will help you with this.

      His fear of the dentist may keep him from seeking regular care as an adult which can result in untreated cavities, tooth loss, heart problems, etc.

  17. June 6, 2009 12:55 pm

    It is important to monitor the adult tooth as it comes in. Just be aware that the baby tooth acts as a space maintainer for the adult tooth and not having that in place may slightly delay the eruption on of the permanent tooth. When it does come out, it may be discolored (yellow with white spots) due to the trauma of the baby teeth. But by the time she needs to worry about her image, other girls her age will be loosing teeth as well.

    Mothers that put there daughters in beauty pagents order something called a “flipper,” which is like a partial denture. The missing tooth on a retainer. These are great for image and also as a space holder to help the permanent tooth erupt straight.

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