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Children's Dentistry FAQs

Children’s Dentistry FAQs


I can see an adult tooth growing out behind a baby tooth
This is quite common for very young children and for the lower front incisor teeth.  The permanent tooth erupting has missed the tip of the deciduous (baby) tooth root and therefore not able to continue the natural process of dissolving the tooth root creating the exfoliation/eruption process of these teeth.

The deciduous (baby) tooth will usually become a little loose, however some manipulation of the baby tooth on a daily basis to help wriggle it out is required.

If the permanent tooth has erupted more than half way through the gums on either side of the baby tooth and the baby tooth is still quite firm in the mouth – a dental extraction is usually the required treatment at this stage. Please contact our clinic if you think this may be the case.

Download the Teething Chart

My child knocked their tooth and now it’s going dark

During a trauma to the face, teeth can be pushed about in their socket causing the very thin end of the roots, where the nerve vessels enter the tooth, to be pinched or severed.  Imagine a garden hose being bent or kinked. This causes a loss of blood supply to the tooth creating a ‘dead tooth’. This can happen very slowly over time and you may not recall the trauma or it can happen quite soon after a trauma.

In deciduous (baby) teeth it is not always necessary to begin root canal treatments straight away.  Usually an x-ray would be taken to ensure no fractures to the root of the tooth and assess all adjacent teeth/bone.

The colour of the tooth can vary from very dark grey/black to a light brown/grey. Should an abscess form on the gum above the tooth at any stage, or your child is experiencing any pain, please contact our clinic so that we can assess the situation.

I can see a pimple on the gum

A pimple on the gum next to a tooth is usually an indication of an infection or abscess.  This can be caused by dental decay and that has invaded the pulp tissue (blood and nerve vessels) and then travelled to the end of the roots of the tooth. 

An x-ray is required to gain further information about what is happening and then an extraction is usually indicated for the deciduous tooth.

If you feel this may be the case, or your child is experiencing any pain associated with this tooth, please contact our clinic.

Why is my child grinding their teeth at night?
There are many different thoughts on this one.  One is that the child has created a habitual pattern of wear on the teeth and at night, when at rest, they will get back into this habit of wear and grinding.  The dental enamel of deciduous (baby) teeth is very thin and is able to create an audible high-pitched sound when grounded together.
Another thought is that during the child’s growth and development there is great movement of the erupting permanent teeth behind the deciduous teeth during the evening.  The child may grind around on the teeth, which are being pushed about (natural process of exfoliation/eruption/) during the night. 
Another belief revolves around the presence of dental crossbites or poor bites which causes the natural tendency for the jaw to grind away anything which is interpreted as interferences to what the body feels is the natural ideal bite.
Without doubt, these concerns that parents notice in their children should be mentioned at their regular dental examinations.
How do I know if my child is brushing their teeth properly?
Children should be brushing their teeth morning and night and for two minutes.  This needs to be monitored by an adult and perhaps enabled by having a favourite song played whilst they are brushing, having a timer going or using an App (eg: Macleans, Disney, Wiggles, there are many!).

You can assess if the plaque has been removed by using your fingers to retract (pull back) their cheeks and look along the gumlines of the molars for any plaque or food that may still remain.

Purchasing a kit from the pharmacy that has a plaque disclosing solution  and LED light to illuminate the plaque that has not been brushed away is a brilliant way to ensure that children are brushing properly. It helps them to see exactly which areas in their mouth they are missing.  Discuss this with your oral health therapist at your next dental visit.

Download the Children’s Oral Health Factsheet

My child’s baby tooth has been knocked out prematurely

It is not essential to quickly return the tooth to the dental socket in the mouth like it is for a permanent tooth.

If you are able to find the tooth, wrap it in a tissue and phone our clinic so that we can assess the situation.

My child’s tooth has been wobbly for ages and doesn’t seem to want to come out

This is quite common. Those little baby teeth like to hang on!!  It is most likely that the gum tissue deep inside the cavity of the remaining crown of the tooth has very strong gingival fibres, which can hang on for dear life. Ask your child to keep wobbling this tooth as often as possible. If you feel that the tooth has been like this for a few months and your child is having difficulty eating then please contact our clinic.

Why are there white spots on their teeth?

White spots or ‘chalky teeth’ as it is also known is quite common. This condition can occur from birth to one year of age.  There is no known cause at this stage, although changes in body temperatures due to illness or the medications given when a child is very young may be the link.

It is commonly noticed on deciduous (baby) two year molars, permanent six year molars and permanent anterior (front) teeth.  These white spots show on the enamel of the tooth and can be white, yellow or brown patches/spots on the tooth surface.

Sometimes the enamel surface may remain firm and hard and other patches can be soft and porous and therefore at risk of dental decay.

Products like GC Tooth Mousse can be applied at home to assist with replacing minerals back into the tooth surface.  More complex cases may require restoring the tooth.

Why are my child’s gums bleeding?

Gums can bleed spontaneously or whilst brushing if there is a build-up of plaque on the teeth. The gums will appear swollen, puffy and red in colour. 

It is important to assist your child to brush the area and create some bleeding. This helps to flush out bacteria and assist the body’s immune system to get the right cells to the area. The cells will help clean and return the gums to a tight texture and light pink colour which don’t bleed on brushing. This can take a few days so be patient and not too vigorous with the brush on these areas as it can be painful. Use a circular motion and ensure they are brushing twice a day.  Salt water rinsing is great for healing also.