For young children, their first wobbly tooth is a sure sign they’ve officially earned big kid status. For parents of kids with bleeding disorders, however, the potential for bleeding may cause concern. The following basics can help ease parents’ worries.
Let the tooth fall out when it’s ready.
As tempting as it is to wiggle a loose tooth around to help it fall out, it’s best to leave it alone. “I encourage children and parents to let the tooth loosen and come out on its own,” says Karen Ridley, MSDH, director of graduate dental hygiene at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in Ann Arbor and a staff member at the University of Michigan Hemophilia Treatment Center. “Bleeding occurs when a tooth is pulled before the root has resorbed and the tissue around the tooth tears. Left alone, the erupting permanent tooth puts pressure on the area and then significant bleeding is rare.”
Be cautious after the tooth falls out.
Ridley recommends some quiet activity time after the tooth is out and safely tucked away for the tooth fairy. During this time, the child should bite down firmly on a small piece of gauze for several minutes. To help prevent bleeding during the next few days, skip over the area with the lost tooth when brushing teeth and give your child soft, cool foods to eat.
If there is bleeding…
“If some nuisance oozing occurs, dampen gauze with some Amicar and repeat biting,” says Ridley. “If liquid Amicar is not available, crush a tablet, make a wet paste and put it on the gauze and then have the child bite down on it.”
Other tips for managing bleeding caused by a lost tooth include:
- Have your child bite down gently on a moistened black or green tea bag. The tea leaves contain tannic acid, which constricts blood vessels to help form a clot.
- Don’t let your child rinse his or her mouth. Swishing water around can disrupt the formation of blood clots.
- If, after following these tips, bleeding goes on for longer than two hours, consult with your child’s hemophilia treatment center (HTC) care team.
Your child may not lose his or her tooth at home, where you have all the supplies you need handy. If a tooth looks like it’s nearly ready to come out and you’ll be away from home, be sure to pack some gauze and Amicar when you leave. It’s also a good idea to make sure school has these supplies on hand and that teachers and the school nurse are aware of what to do in case you child’s tooth falls out during the school day.
For more dental care tips and information, including how to properly care for baby teeth, see the First Step section of NHF’s “Steps for Living.”