54 Where There Is No Dentist 2012
What Does It Mean if a Tooth is Loose?
Baby teeth become loose when children are between 6 and 12 years old.
This is normal. If a loose baby tooth does not have a cavity, and if the gums
around it are healthy, there is probably a permanent tooth growing under it.
But a tooth might be loose because it is broken or because it is sick from an
abscess or gum disease. Either can destroy the bone around the tooth’s roots.
When bone is lost, the tooth
becomes loose. A loose tooth hurts
and usually must be taken out.
There is no medicine to make bone
grow back around the roots of
loose teeth. All you can do is stop
the infection from getting worse.
1. Let the students look into each other’s mouth for loose baby teeth.
Look carefully to see why a tooth is loose.
Touch the gum and bone beside the
loose tooth. You can feel a bump—it is
the new permanent tooth growing.
Save the baby tooth after it has fallen
out. Look to see how the permanent
tooth has eaten away its root by
pushing against it.
2. Look for teeth that have cavities or gum
disease around them. The students can do
this with each other, and then later at home.
(Remember: they must wash their hands!)
A tooth that has some of its root showing
is probably loose.
Using your fingers or the handles of two
spoons, rock the tooth back and forth
gently. See how much it moves, and ask
how much it hurts.
Tell the person what he can do to
prevent other teeth from becoming
loose. (See the next section.)