My daughter Elin was late cutting teeth as a baby, she was 12 months when she had her first and then it took another couple of months for the second one to come through. I believed there was a correlation between teeth coming in and teeth falling out. I was wrong. There is absolutely no relationship between these at all.
Children start losing their teeth between 5 and 7 years but mostly after their 6th birthday. Elin was five, so despite getting her teeth so late, she was early with losing them. If she had been a neurotypical child I would probably have taken it in my stride, but Elin has cerebral palsy and complex needs. She is tube fed, non-verbal, grinds her teeth, bites down on things unable to release her jaws and she chokes easily. What if she swallows the tooth, what happens?!?! Nothing, by the way, it gets digested and it’s not dangerous. But what if she inhales it…
I did what I usually do in this kind of situation, I googled. I tried a variety of search phrases and got a few hits about the need of good oral health, advise on teeth grinding, how to manage when the child losing their first tooth is on the autistic spectrum or has Down’s syndrome but nowhere did I find any actual information or support about what to do when the kid has CP.
So I called her dentist! This is my top tip for you; call your child’s dentist and appraise them of the situation. They are going to want to keep an eye on how it goes, so even if you aren’t worried, this is still a good thing to do.
I am extremely fond of my daughter’s dentist, he is genuine, supportive, informative and funny. He told me that my concerns regarding choking or accidentally biting down on the tooth and damaging other teeth were valid, given the circumstances. But he also told me that these risks were small and while we absolutely shouldn’t dismiss them there’s a way of minimizing them.
Keep control of the tooth as it comes out. It is probably easier for us as parents to extract a lose tooth with our fingers, than it is for a dentist to go in with tools. When the tooth reaches a point where it is very loose, you can work on it. In Elin’s case the tooth was lying flat when nudged outwards, but it was still a little attached, so didn’t go very far back when nudged in. I gently pushed it inwards, and then I carefully wiggled it from side to side and I found myself holding the tooth. There was a little blood, but Elin didn’t give me any signs of it hurting, instead she seemed very pleased it was done. She has since lost a second tooth, number three is now lose and I am perfectly calm.
Written by our fellow tubie mum guest blogger: Tova Gillespie.
If you would like to connect with Tova and Rob, you can connect with them via their Facebook page Parentxp.