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A to Z: Tooth Injury, Primary

May also be called: Broken Tooth; Knocked-Out Tooth

A primary tooth injury is an injury or damage to a child's primary or "baby" tooth.

More to Know

Primary or "baby" teeth are the temporary, first set of teeth. These teeth begin to grow in a child's mouth before birth, and push through the gums within the first year of life. These teeth help a child's permanent teeth, which come in later, to grow in their proper positions.

Normally, primary teeth start to fall out when kids are about 6 years old. Sometimes these teeth are injured or knocked out before that time, usually from a fall. Injuries to the primary teeth are most common between 2 and 3 years of age when kids are very active but still developing their motor skills.

The permanent teeth are developing just under the baby teeth in the gums and jawbones. Because primary and permanent teeth are so close together, the health of the permanent tooth is a concern when a baby tooth is injured. It will be important to follow up with the dentist to make sure the permanent tooth is healthy.

Keep in Mind

Depending on the injury, your child's tooth may require no treatment, smoothing of rough edges, or even removal. If your child is very young, the dentist might suggest a spacer to keep the rest of the teeth in place until the permanent tooth comes in.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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