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What should I do if my child swallows a tooth?

Losing baby teeth can be a time of excitement for both children and their parents. But what should you do if your child swallows a tooth? Our North York dentists offer some tips to calm your worry. 

What if my child swallows a tooth?

Depending on whether your child has swallowed a baby tooth or an adult tooth, there are different steps you can take.

Baby Teeth

Children may not always notice when their baby teeth fall out, especially if it happens when they are eating.

Not to worry if your child swallows a tooth - since it consists mainly of calcium and will dissolve in acid, it’s harmless. If it does not dissolve in the stomach, it will likely shrink until it’s small enough to pass naturally. Roots typically dissolve before a tooth falls out, so there should not be any sharp points on the tooth to harm anything in your child’s intestinal tract.

If this does happen to your child, keep him or her calm (you might want to reassure them that the Tooth Fairy has special powers and always knows about lost teeth, even if they are not placed under a pillow). Keep in mind that while your child may complain of a stomachache, this is normal and we still advise to wait for the tooth to break down or pass.

Adult Teeth

Because adult teeth are larger, it’s possible for them to get caught in a child’s intestinal tract. Contact your doctor to ask if you need to bring your child in for an x-ray to confirm the tooth is not stuck and will be able to pass naturally.

Your next stop should be with our dentists at Sheppard West Dental to look into options to tooth replacement options. We love seeing children at our family-friendly dental office, and look forward to working with families, in addition to answering any questions they may have.

Bonus tip: Don’t try to have your child regurgitate the lost tooth, which may cause unnecessary discomfort or distress for your child. Just wait for it to pass or see a doctor if the tooth has not passed within a week.

Don’t Pull Baby Teeth

While you may think about avoiding the entire prospect of a surprise tooth swallowing incident by pulling a loose baby tooth, our North York dentists advise against it. Even if a tooth is loose, it may take months for it to fall out naturally while the new tooth grows. Just like adult teeth, your child’s baby teeth help keep one another in place.

However, your child should feel free to wiggle the tooth periodically to help it loosen - if it’s possible to wiggle it out without pain or discomfort, this typically means it’s ready to fall out.

Do you or your child have questions about what will happen when their baby teeth fall out? For more information about this topic, contact our North York dentists today.

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