It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but pediatric dental emergencies are common in children. One of the more uncommon types of dental emergency/injury, however, is called a tooth extrusion, where a permanent tooth becomes dislodged from the structures holding it in place but does not fully vacate the socket. When a tooth extrusion happens, it’s vital to find care quickly for the long-term health of the tooth.
What Is a Tooth Extrusion?
A tooth extrusion (or orthodontic extrusion) occurs when a tooth is displaced in its socket. Teeth are held in place by tissues called periodontal ligaments, and when a tooth is displaced from these ligaments, it can appear elongated in the mouth, wiggle, and move when touched, and is often accompanied by intense pain around the tooth and gum. When viewed through an X-ray, an extruded tooth would appear to have a space between the top of the tooth and the bottom of the dental socket.
What Are the Causes of a Child’s Tooth Extrusion?
In children’s pediatric dentistry, tooth extrusions often occur as the result of physical trauma from a sports accident or a fall, for example. Extrusions are fairly easy to spot in adult patients as permanent teeth are rarely, if ever, “loose” in the mouth under normal circumstances. However, when a child has a dental emergency such as a kid’s tooth extrusion, it can be more difficult to tell as children often have a mix of baby teeth which can wiggle and move as part of their normal course of development, and adult teeth—which require immediate treatment if extruded.
Can You Reinsert a Tooth?
If the extruded tooth is still in the mouth and the blood vessels attached to the teeth are still intact, then the tooth can be reseated successfully. Treating the extrusion of teeth focuses on getting the tooth back into position so the periodontal ligament can heal. This is often done manually by a dentist, and the success of the procedure is usually determined by how quickly you can seek treatment for your child. If you believe your child has an extruded tooth, do not remove the tooth or let your child touch the tooth much as you, or they can make the problem worse. Instead, offer your child a cold compress for the pain and call your dentist right away. When you arrive at your appointment, treatment usually happens as follows:
Your dentist will first assess the extent of the tooth extrusion with an X-ray. If they can confirm that the blood supply is still intact, they will move on to the next phase of treatment.
To reinsert the tooth, it needs to be firmly secured to the teeth on either side of it. This can be done in several ways: An orthodontic bracket and wire (similar to braces), metal mesh secured to the back of the teeth or a resin splint secured with wire.
Good Oral Hygiene
Extruded teeth are at risk for infection due to the exposure of the root to outside stimuli while it is displaced. It’s important to continue to practice good oral hygiene in the 1-2 weeks while the tooth is being reset, so it’s important to follow all children’s pediatric dentistry guidelines during this time.
Soft Food for 1 Week
A diet of soft foods like eggs, soups, soft bread, and cheese will help the tooth from moving or becoming further dislodged during treatment.
Offer Pain Relief
A tooth extrusion is usually painful, and there may be some lingering soreness around the gum and ligament in the days and weeks that follow. Use a cold compress to help with the pain or child-safe over-the-counter pain medication if necessary. Consult your dentist as to which medicines may be appropriate for your child.
How to Prevent Your Child From Getting Tooth Extrusion?
Tooth extrusions can happen as the result of a sports injury, rough play, a simple accident, or even interpersonal violence. Take appropriate measures to protect your child while they play, including mouth guards for sports, encouraging them to run with their heads up, and avoiding putting things like toys or other objects in their mouth.
Emergency treatment is a crucial part of children’s pediatric dentistry, so when things like a tooth extrusion happen, you can take your child to a treatment provider whom you both know and trust instead of just searching “pediatric dentists near me” at the moment. Check out our guide on how to choose a pediatric dentist in your area if you are uncertain of what qualities make for a good care provider. If you are in Northern Nevada, call us at Champagne Pediatric Dentistry. With over 40 years of experience, we’re ready to treat tooth extrusions as well as any other kind of pediatric emergency your child might encounter. Call today and set up your first appointment!