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Tooth That Has Become Loose, Moved, or Jammed (Intruded) Into the Gum

It is normal for a baby tooth (primary tooth) to become loose when it is ready to come out. If a baby tooth becomes loose after a minor injury, it will often feel tight again within a few days. Teeth that are slightly loose usually heal well in 1 to 2 weeks. Have your child eat soft foods such as:

  • Milk and dairy products, such as milk shakes, yogurt, custards, ice cream, sherbets, or cottage cheese.
  • Meat and meat substitutes, such as tender meats or chicken, tuna, eggs, or smooth peanut butter.
  • Fruits and vegetables, such as well-cooked or canned fruits and vegetables; well-ripened, easy-to-chew fruits; and baked, mashed, or well-cooked sweet potatoes.

A very loose tooth in a baby or young child could be swallowed. If this occurs, it does not usually cause a problem. The tooth will most often pass through the digestive tract and come out in the toilet. Choking can occur if the child accidentally inhales the tooth instead of swallowing it. Removing the tooth before it falls out can prevent the child from either swallowing or inhaling it.

Recommended Related to Oral Health

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When your baby is born, you quickly fall into a rhythm of regular visits with your pediatrician that continues throughout childhood. But many parents are more confused about taking their child to the dentist and caring for their teeth. WebMD asked Natasha Mathias, DDS, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in Montclair, N.J., to answer some of the most common questions she hears from parents -- and some questions she wishes parents would ask, but don’t! Should my child...

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A baby tooth that has been jammed into the gum (intruded) will usually grow out of the gum in about 6 weeks. But some dentists will reposition or remove the baby tooth immediately so that it will not affect the top (crown) of the permanent tooth underneath it.

A loose permanent tooth can cause problems. A permanent tooth that has become very loose after an injury needs to be evaluated by a dentist to prevent tooth loss and help the tooth heal. If a tooth becomes loose because of grinding the teeth, the grinding problem can be treated by a dentist to prevent additional injury.

If a permanent tooth has moved after an injury, a dentist will need to put it back into the correct position. This should be done as soon as possible to save the tooth and promote healing. If a tooth has been jammed into the gum (intruded), it may look like it has been knocked out. An X-ray may be needed to tell the difference. A permanent tooth that has been jammed into the gum generally requires treatment.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Last Revised September 14, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 14, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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