Milk teeth is the name given to the tiny teeth that young children get before their adult teeth come through. Milk teeth start to come through from as early as five to ten months old and stay with infants until they are around 5 or 6 years old before they gradually start falling out. This continues, with milk teeth being replaced by adult teeth for a number of years, with most children losing most of their milk teeth by around 10 or 12 years old. However, some people don’t lose their back milk teeth until well into their late teens.
Although the milk teeth are temporary, they are paving the way for the adult teeth that you’ll keep for the rest of your life. So what happens if one gets knocked out?
Prematurely lost milk teeth
If an adult tooth is knocked out, the advice is to put it back in as quickly as possible and to seek urgent dental help. If a milk tooth is knocked out it is important that you do not try and place it back into the hole it came from as it is impossible to tell how developed the adult tooth is underneath. If you try to re-insert a knocked out milk tooth then you can accidentally harm the adult tooth below.
If a child has lost a milk tooth prematurely, keep the tooth clean, don’t touch the root and store it in milk until you can get to the dentist – which you must do urgently.
If a milk tooth is knocked out before it is ready then it can have implications on the adult teeth below. Adult teeth will move in to fill spaces vacated by missing milk teeth, so if one gets knocked out and leaves a space earlier than it should do then this can lead to overcrowding of adult teeth later in life.
Overcrowded teeth can be fixed by a range of different orthodontic options like braces, but it is always better to try to avoid overcrowding occurring, rather than having to fix it later in life.
Here at CK Dental we advise taking great care of milk teeth as they set up your child’s mouth for the rest of their lives. Keep milk teeth clean, brush them regularly and if your child is interested in sports then encourage them to wear a gum shield to protect delicate milk teeth from taking a knock. Remember, if an accident occurs and a milk tooth is damaged, come to see us as quickly as possible so that we can help prevent further damage.