While everyone loses their baby teeth, we all respond differently to that ever-important first tooth lost. A universal rite of passage, most children typically lose their first baby tooth around the age of six and lose their last one sometime between nine and thirteen. But that first tooth can bring about anything from excitement for the tooth fairy to fear of pain and an inevitable visit to the dentist. Regardless of how your child feels about their first lost tooth, we at Mid Wilshire Dentistry want you to be prepared for what happens next.
Steps to Care for an Empty Socket
Wipe the gums: Before your child had teeth, you probably used gauze or a sterile soft cloth to wipe their gums. The same rules apply once your child loses their first tooth. Wipe it down and have your child rinse their mouth with salt water to keep the area sterilized. Afterwards, place a cool tea bag on the socket and tell them not to spit, as this motion can cause continued bleeding. Otherwise, bleeding should stop within ten minutes.
Think about using an anti-inflammatory: While you can tell your kids not to wiggle their loose teeth before they’re ready to fall out, their curiosity is natural. This wiggling could have caused excess agitation and swelling, so a dose of children’s ibuprofen can cut down on inflammation. If swelling remains for over a day or two, contact your dentist to make sure nothing is infected.
Use topical anesthetics: Immediately after their first tooth falls out, many children experience some pain or discomfort. In this case, an over-the-counter topical anesthetic is a safe and fast way to diminish minor irritation after bleeding has stopped. But if the pain continues, contact your pediatric dentist.
Do NOT brush the socket right away: There is no set timetable for how long it takes for a child’s permanent teeth to come in, but directly after a baby tooth falls out the surrounding area could be so tender that even the softest bristled toothbrush could irritate it. For a day or so, advise your child to brush their other teeth the same as usual, but to avoid both the socket and the teeth around the socket.
A child’s life is full of dental milestones, and the more you know about how to deal with them, the better off your child will be. If you have any questions about adolescent dental care, please feel free to call us at Mid Wilshire Dentistry and schedule an appointment today.