As a dad, you want to do whatever you can to help your child when they're in pain. A loose tooth can be very painful for a child, and it's often hard for them to deal with on their own. In this blog post, we will explore some ways that you can help your child deal with the pain from a loose baby tooth. We will also discuss how to make the experience a little less scary for them.
What Dads Need To Know About A Child's Teeth
As a dad, it's important to be supportive and understanding when your child is going through the process of growing permanent teeth and replacing those baby teeth that came in years ago. As I'm sure you are aware, a child's mouth - like the rest of their young bodies - is growing rapidly. This means that it is not just growing and expanding but also changing form and shape too.
In the United States, most children will begin the process of losing their baby teeth around age 6 and it usually lasts for a year or possibly two as your child's mouth exchanges 20 baby teeth for permanent adult teeth. During this time it is good idea to make sure your child knows what to expect, since it can be a scary time for young children.
Thankfully, for most kids this process of growing a healthy set of primary teeth is pretty simple and relatively painless. Unfortunately, for many children, loose baby tooth pain is something that they face due to a variety of reasons.
This is a very important right of passage for both you as a dad and your young children. So, let's make sure to head into it with proper knowledge and expectations and avoid any painful surprises ... or at least be the one with a soothing solution when your child faces a painful loose tooth!
Pain Caused By Teeth Pushing On Nerves
As the new permanent teeth begin to push through the gums and push on the root of the tooth, that can cause nerve pressure that could be very painful to your child. Additionally, baby teeth themselves have nerves as well and the process of replacing them with permanent teeth can cause them to be damaged or irritated.
Another common cause of loose tooth pain in children is swollen gums and this may lead to general facial swelling as well. As the teeth push through, they can cause the gums to swell and become inflamed. In some instances, there are already existing gum disease issues that can make things worse. This can make it difficult for kids to eat or even open their mouths without feeling pain.
In some cases, a loose tooth can also be a sign of an infection and result in your child's tooth pain becoming very acute. If the gum around a tooth is red and inflamed or if there is pus present, this could be a sign that your child has an infection. If you suspect that your child has a dental abscess or an infection, it's important to take them to see your child's dentist as soon as possible.
Tooth Decay, Cracks, And Other Damage To Tooth or Jaw
In some cases, loose teeth can be caused by gum disease or damage to the tooth or jaw. This can include things like tooth decay, cracks in the tooth, or even trauma to the jaw. If you suspect that loose tooth pain is being caused by any of these things, it's important to take your child to see a dentist right away.
While tooth decay is typically something that we talk about with mature adults and teenagers, this is not uncommon in children too. In fact, there is a medical condition referred to as "baby bottle tooth decay" where children are sometimes put to sleep with a bottle and the sugars from the milk can affect the teeth leading to damage early on in your child's dental development process.
Overly Aggressive Brushing
One last thing that can cause loose tooth pain is overly aggressive brushing. If your child is brushing their teeth too hard, they can irritate their gums and cause them to bleed. This can also make the process of losing a tooth more painful than it needs to be since those soft tissues contain many sensitive nerves
These are the most common causes of a child's toothache with regard to loose teeth but as noted, you should always contact a pediatric dental expert if you suspect there is an underlying problem beyond just the new permanent tooth coming in. Now that we understand some of the potential causes of loose tooth pain, let's explore some ways that dads can help their kids deal with it ...
What To Do When Your Child's Loose Tooth Is Wiggling
If your child's loose tooth is wiggling and they are in pain, the best thing you can do is help them to be gentle with the wiggly tooth. This means no more wiggling or trying to pull it out on their own. Additionally, you will want to make sure that they are brushing very gently and not using too much pressure.
In most cases, the new adult tooth will replace the child's baby tooth without much pain and pediatric dental care is not required.
However, if your child's loose tooth pain continues or if it the pain is severe, you may want to give them an anti-inflammatory pain reliever like ibuprofen. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the bottle though as dosage for children will differ from adults.
You should also avoid foods that will make accelerate a loose tooth since you don't want to accidentally swallow it. This means you should avoid crunchy foods such as carrots that could cause the top front teeth to experience extra pressure.
If you do experience a lost tooth or even if a small part of the tooth cracks off and is lost, don't worry. That tooth will likely dissolve completely in the stomach or at least enough that it will be small enough to pass without issue. Don't worry ... there's no need to go searching through your kids poop looking for it!
Finally, if the loose tooth is accompanied by any other symptoms like fever, swollen gums, pus, or bleeding, it's important to take your child to see a dentist right away as these could be signs of an infection.
How To Make The Experience Less Scary For Them
For many children, this is an exciting time but it can be scary. This will be the first time that they face pain from their teeth and gum areas. Despite the fact that the process of loosing that first tooth can be a curiously fun time of their young lives, unexpected pain is always frightening. This is a great time to celebrate your child's first loose tooth.
One common way that many parents help make this process more fun and ultimately distract from the pain is the promise of a reward from the tooth fairy once the tooth is finally loose.
Another way that many dads often enjoy to help celebrate the arrival of a new tooth is working with their kids to come up with innovative ways to remove a loose tooth rather than simply waiting for it to fall out naturally. This can be anything from tying one end of a piece of floss to the tooth and another to a door, a pet, even an RC car and have it yanked out.
A word of caution here though, you shouldn't do any of this unless the tooth is nearly loose. As mentioned above, even if the tooth is loose ... the underlying pain could be something that needs a medical professional's attention.
Finally, reach out to other daddy bloggers in your area or dad groups that can help you with tips on how to help make this process a bit less challenging.
Ways To Help Them Deal With The Pain
There are a few things that you can do to help your child deal with loose tooth pain. As we mentioned before, if the pain is severe you may want to give them an over the counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.
For many people, the best way to help soothe a child's tooth pain is to have them rinse their mouth with a saltwater solution. This can help to reduce inflammation and swelling. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water and have them swish it around in their mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. This will help eliminate bacteria that could be making the pain worse and generally it will help make the gum area around the loose tooth feel better.
You can also apply a cold compress to the cheek near the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time as needed. This can help to numb the area and reduce pain and swelling.
When To Go See A Dentist About Loose Tooth Pain
Dental health is an important thing for people of all ages. While a little blood can be normal when a baby tooth falls out, there are many instances where dental problems can result in a risk of infection in your child's mouth. Luckily, for most loose tooth pain in children, there is no need to seek medical attention. While the process is rarely pain-free, it typically isn't a threat to your kid's overall health.
Nobody enjoys a dental visit, but if the loose tooth is accompanied by any other symptoms like fever, swollen gums, pus, or bleeding, this could be a dental emergency. If this is the case, it is important to see your child's dentist right away as these could be signs of an infection.
As A Dad You Can Help Your Child Get Through This Process
This is an important rite of passage for your child and while they may be experiencing sensitive teeth issues as well as some pain from teeth that are coming in, this is your time to support them through the process. Remember that this time may be accompanied by some behavior issues as they work through the changes going on, so try and be a bit more understanding during the process!
If you have more questions or concerns, make sure to contact your pediatric dentist of choice for more helpful tips on how you can help your child through this process.