What to Do if Your Child Loses a Baby Tooth Too Soon

Missing-baby-teethWhile baby teeth are not permanent and only last in a child’s mouth for a few years, they have an important role in the development of the jaw, muscles, and adult teeth. It is natural for baby teeth to fall out as the permanent teeth grow in to take their place. However, if a baby tooth is lost too soon, it can sometimes prevent proper development in the mouth. It may be necessary for your child to have a space maintainer put in to keep the space open until the permanent tooth comes in. This can save your child from extensive orthodontic work in the future.

Baby teeth can fall out early for a number of reasons. The most common causes are accidents resulting in tooth loss, or having to extract a baby tooth due to severe decay. Sometimes a baby tooth doesn’t even grow in at all. Whichever the case, an empty space in your child’s mouth can cause problems if the permanent tooth doesn’t grow in soon after. The teeth around the space can start to tilt and shift, resulting in insufficient space for the adult tooth to grow it.

A space maintainer can prevent improper development by keeping the space open until the permanent tooth grows in. There are several different types of space maintainers that can be used for treatment. Older children who are responsible in the care of their teeth might use a removable space maintainer. This appliance looks much like a retainer and is usually plastic. Other methods involve a fixed space maintainer, which is banded or cemented in place and is usually made of metal. Your dentist will help determine which type of space maintainer will work best for your child’s needs, and will make a custom appliance using impressions of your child’s teeth. The space maintainer is removed once the permanent tooth is ready to erupt.

If your child loses a tooth early, make an appointment with your dentist to discuss whether or not a space maintainer is necessary for development. While losing a baby tooth early does not always lead to complications, it is safe to have a professional’s opinion before letting it go too long. A space maintainer is a fairly simple solution to guiding teeth into place, and can prevent your child from having to endure a year or more of complicated orthodontic treatment.

About the Author

I am a family dentist who treats children as well as adults. Making smiles people love, extreme makeovers and complex dental reconstruction is our niche including implants, TMJ, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. As a participant in the blog, I will be offering dental perspectives on pediatric safety and health care options on a regular basis. I can be reached at www.suwaneedental.com. Blessings to all! Dr Williams is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


19 Responses to “What to Do if Your Child Loses a Baby Tooth Too Soon”

  1. Adam says:

    I guess it is pretty much safe even if the child loses tooth early. If you have any doubt then you should visit you dentist.

  2. Mr. Dental says:

    Excellent article! This is a subject that not many parents are aware of. The thing is, simply knowing this very basic function of a space maintainer could actually save many parents a lot of grief and cash in the future! Proper dental care is always a must, even at a very young age.

  3. Yes, it is the baby teeth (although have a short years of lifespan) that contribute in developing the jaw, muscles and the permanent teeth. Keeping a “space maintainer” in open spaces (when your child loses teeth earlier than usual time) is a good practice, simply avoiding any unwanted future dental issues. If your child has lost tooth accidentally, accepted! But be cautious if they are lost due to tooth decay or any other dental problems that might have occurred due to improper dental care.

    Keep healthy practices for your child’s teeth; have their teeth observed frequently by your dentist. Proper oral hygiene can genuinely work in saving your child’s teeth, supporting them at least until they natural fall down and get replaced by permanent ones.

  4. Andreea says:

    Hi, my son who has just turned 3 fell and had his upper central left primary incisor fractured. As shown by xray, it is a horizontal fracture located just below the gum (the part of the root closest to the crown). Now 2 weeks after the accident the tooth is slowly coming out with the root and will clearly fall one of these days by the way it looks.
    I wonder what the impact on the permanent tooth could be?

    • When a child looses back teeth, it is a bigger deal than a front tooth. Space for permanent teeth is rarely lost if a primary central incisor is lost early. We can replace it with a fixed retainer of course if the parent wishes for esthetics. We do this periodically. Don’t fret if it is not replaced once lost.

  5. I hadn’t heard that children could loose teeth too early. It makes sense though, if it gets knocked out or something. I know that kids can have teeth not want to fall out at all. Four of my teeth had to be pulled because they wouldn’t fall out when they were supposed too.

  6. Janetta Ellis says:

    My 6 yr old lost both front teeth at the same time. While waiting for those to come in, his left Lateral Incisor also fell out about a month later when his front teeth started to come in. His incisor still hasn’t come in. Will this cause spacing issues for it between his canine and front teeth?

    Also, I just saw his back right top cuspid is twisted like the bottom bitting part is facing forward toward the front of his next tooth. So the part that should be chewing food is facing the back of the next tooth. He says it doesn’t hurt and he just saw the Dentist for his 6-month check up- about 2 months ago. My son was starting to pick his mouth after every meal & I checked to see why. This was the reason -he said food was getting stuck in his tooth.

    Since children don’t lose these baby cuspids until 9-11 yrs old, what do I do??? He is only 6 and his jaw isn’t fully developed yet. He goes into the dentist on the 18th, but I want to be somewhat prepared of what I am facing beforehand. Thank you.

  7. betty says:

    My 6year old daughter developed something like a pimple on the gum on top of her two upper teeth the dentists plucked the tooth out together with the root.am afraid the permanent tooth won’t grow.it was removed in May and this is September. The other tooth come out on its own and the permanent is already developed

  8. Ria says:

    My three year old just lost an incisor. He fell last year and hit his mouth but there weren’t loose teeth afterwards. Today the tooth just fell out; no pain, no blood. Should I be concerned about other possible causes? He drinks his milk in a bottle and sometimes falls asleep with the bottle in his mouth.

  9. Jessica clayton says:

    My 3 year old has a bottom front tooth that is loose, like ready to fall out! He was a late bud with his baby teeth getting his first just after his first birthday. So this tooth has only been in for maybe 2 years! We asked if he bumped it and he denied it. Took him to the dentist today and had it looked at it. Dentist took an x-ray and confirmed that it indeed was falling out and the root was gone and a developing adult tooth was present (we also saw the adult tooth coming up behind the neighboring tooth) my question is should I be worried? Should I meet with an orthodontist and have a spacer made? Any other concerns or things I should be following up on. We love our dentist and he said not to worry but it was the earliest case he had ever seen/heard of.

  10. namhla matangana says:

    my daughter’s front teeth was taken off by the Dentist at the age of 2 now she’s 6 but still No teeth even today. please help will ever the teeth come out?

  11. Justine Kalezi says:

    my baby fell and lost his tooth. he was just three. will it grow again?

  12. kathaleen hefner says:

    my granddaughters front incisors were pulled due to decay, she is only 2, will she be ok?

    • While it is recommended to hold space with space maintainers when posterior baby teeth are lost early, it is not necessary for front teeth. The permanent will likely come in normally and not be damaged.

  13. Ronota Rucker says:

    Thanks sOOO much for this Info. I’m a Sensitive Mommy who Adores My Boys Teeth. However. My 3yr old is A rough player and moves at the Speed Of Supreme WiFi. And his tooth his loosened but not out. Guess it’s A strong front tooth. But I Do need to take him to Proper Dentist Care. I pray I get his tooth back before Next May. Is Birthday is Feb 6?? Thank Ya Doc’s Happy Love your Mothering Mommas Week Amen Peeps. God Is Greatest

  14. mark helfrich says:

    What should you do if a 30 month old has loose front teeth not caused by trauma nor decay?

  15. Stephanie says:

    My son accidentally knocked out his tooth in school when he was 3 years old, he is 5 years old now and that particular tooth hasn’t grown back. Pls will it still grow?

  16. Super article! This subject is made very interest to parents. read this article – nice article – I read today. thank you

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