Broken Baby Teeth: What Your Options Are

Toddlers fall down a lot; that is what they do as they learn to walk. However, they are also prone to smacking their little faces on hard surfaces in the process. That often leads to broken baby teeth, especially when the surfaces they hit are concrete, asphalt, store floors, or rocks. If your toddler has banged into something really hard face-first, and comes up with a wiggly tooth and a lot of blood, here are your options regarding what you can do and what your pediatric dentist will suggest.

Remove the Broken Tooth

​If the tooth is broken below the gumline, the dentist may suggest removing the tooth. It would be very difficult to repair without surgery, and that is a lot to put your little one through. The dentist would numb your toddler's mouth a bit, and then try to pull the very loose and broken tooth out. Your child will have a gap in his/her smile going forward until he/she is seven to eleven years of age when the adult tooth will take the place of the broken and missing baby tooth. (The age depends on which tooth was broken; a front tooth will come in sooner than a side or near-back tooth.)

​Immobilize the Broken Tooth and Let It Heal on Its Own

This is very tricky. The dentist has to use a cap, a crown, and/or some orthodontic wire to keep the broken tooth from moving around too much. If he/she is successful, the tooth will actually heal itself and fuse the broken parts together again. At that point in time, your pediatric dentist may either remove the wire and leave the cap or crown, or leave it all in place until that tooth is ready to fall out on its own. 


It is so scary to think about having to put your toddler under general anesthesia to fix a tooth that will eventually fall out that most parents are very reluctant to follow through on this procedure. What happens is an emergency surgical procedure that sedates your toddler, creates an incision in the gum tissue to examine the broken tooth, and then use a dental bonding agent to get the tooth to stay together long enough to heal itself. Then the incision in the gum tissue is stitched closed. You will have to prevent your toddler from picking at the stitched area and from biting or chewing on anything hard for at least a week or two.