Monday, March 9, 2009

Beware The Darkened Toddler Tooth! (And Other Obscure Kid Health Scares)


A couple of weeks ago, I noticed one of Thing 1's two front teeth looked blue.

Or gray. Or tinted in some way, so it didn't look like the others.

Toothpaste didn't alleviate the situation. And he hadn't eaten anything that would leave a blackish/blueish/grayish residue. I couldn't imagine what might be affecting one tooth, as all the others looked normal.

Normally in these situations I reach for Dr. Spock's trusty book, or some other medical book about kids. But Late Blooming Dad got to the web first, and soon we learned the source of the dreaded Darkened Toddler Tooth.


Apparently when a toddler falls face first, suffers a ball in the face, or manages to hit a nearby door handle or run smack into another kid, a tooth can suffer trauma. The blood supply to the tooth gets compromised, and Darkened Toddler Tooth can result. It can get worse too: if the blood supply is totally cut off, there can be nerve damage, and a baby root canal may be required. An infection can develop, and there can be an ugly abscess that looks kinda like a bubble under the gum. It may even form above a neighboring tooth, for no reason anybody understands.

I thought back: a couple of weeks prior to my discovery of Darkened Toddler Tooth, I'd gotten an injury report from the preschool. During a sports enrichment class, Thing 1 and another kid had gotten into a collision. That song from ANNIE, "It's A Hard-Knock Life," wasn't written to describe the play habits of preschool boys, but it could have been. Have you ever observed these boys in action? It's no surprise that Thing 1 got a bloody nose. Luckily, when he did, he soon received ice, hugs and TLC from the teachers.

According to the web, it can take a couple of weeks for Darkened Toddler Tooth to manifest and/or get better, or worse. A visit to the dentist and an X-ray are recommended. So off we went to the dentist. Thing 1 was due for his second cleaning anyway (he'd had his first dental visit last year). An X-ray was taken. The verdict was: the tooth looked okay but definitely traumatized. There was no infection, no abscess. One might still develop: I was shown graphic pictures of them so I'd recognize one if I spotted it. But knock on wood, it wouldn't. Another head-on collision and Thing 1 and his front baby tooth might still be parted, but we're keeping fingers crossed this doesn't happen. The boy's only four, and we'd like that tooth to last a few more years until the tooth fairy comes to visit. We don't want him to have Pirate Face until he gets his permanent tooth.

The dentist, however, managed to point out something I'd missed while focusing entirely on the darkened tooth. The neighboring front tooth was chipped! Dunno how I missed this. But I have learned that a symptom of Mom Brain is focusing laser-like on one problem, and somehow becoming oblivious to everything around it.

All in all, Thing 1 enjoyed the dental visit, especially the tooth cleaning and fluoride treatment (did you know they have marshmallow-flavored toothpaste these days?) There was a fish tank, a TV tuned to Noggin', and a treasure chest full of cheap plastic toys. Thing 1 insisted on taking one for his sister, not just one for himself. Twins are like that.

Now, when I help Thing 1 brush and floss, I keep hoping that lil' blue-gray tooth sticks around. And I think back on the other odd things that have come into our lives since having kids: coxsackie virus (hand, foot and mouth disease), 24-hour stomach flu that has no traceable cause, rashes that appear and disappear of their own accord, and a cough so persistent it had me convinced Thing 1 had allergies, asthma, or pneumonia (I was wrong on all fronts: it was just a long, lingering post-cold cough; we're talking 2 months-plus). Here's hoping for a healthy spring and no more hard knocks!

11 comments:

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Loretta John said...

Growing children can be active at times. Some of their activities, though, can be the cause of teeth damages. During such instances, immediate dental attention is necessary to prevent further problems. Just like Thing 1, my son had a darkened tooth after bumping into his playmate in the neighborhood. After I noticed this, I took him to his dentist in Bartlett, Tn to have the teeth properly checked. Fortunately, the damage was very minor. He did not have to undergo root canal or any other treatment.

I suggest other parents to be wary of the effects of any injury to their child so as to immediately prevent further dental or bodily harms.

Michelle said...

Hi -- Thanks for this post about Darkened Toddler Tooth! My DD's tooth had a head on (really) collision with a little boy at school and started to turn dark a week or two later. :( Guess we're off to the dentist! I'm praying that DD won't have to have a root canal.

Emily said...

Oh I can completely relate to this! My son had a climbing-toddler daredevil fall at the park and we are now dealing with an abscess in our 3 year old's mouth. And I'm afraid we will be looking at Pirate Face! :) (That made me laugh.) So we have recently been brushing up (haha) on all things related to toddlers and dental care. I've found some helpful info & tips on this Mom's Guide to Caring for Little Teeth. (Copy and paste: http://www.1dental.com/moms-guide/) I also really appreciated your post and insight. Thanks!

p0runam0r said...

Thank you for this post - the most helpful thing I've read so far. Looks like we're off to the dentist!

Anonymous said...

I typed in "dark toddler tooth" and your blog came up ! My daughter suffered a fall, I got essentially the same information as you .. I was really just wondering if the tooth darkened further after you initially noticed it had changed colour. Or if it has lightened at all since the injury ! I would be curious to know if there was any improvement ! I'm crossing my fingers for my daughter not to lose her tooth (she is 2.5) !

Anonymous said...

I'm glad i found your post. My daughter who is 2.5 had a fall two weeks ago and tonight i noticed a front tooth turning grey. I'm calling her dentist tomorrow!!!! Wish me luck
Brigitte

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Susan Thomas said...

I am so happy to have come across your lovely blog! All because my 3 year old Son started getting a gray toothe yesterday! I am so worries! And it led me here! Thank you so much for the information! And I joined your blog. I have two lovely Daughter's ages15 and 22 and I thought I was done but at 39 I became pregnant with our Son and gave birth to him a month before turning 40. And what a pregnancy it was. I fell at 21 weeks was out on complete bed rest and much more craziness. But back to the present, thank you for the info and am sure glad I found you. Maybe now I will actually have a Mommy who I can relate to, who relates to me. :) good night, Suzie (also a late blooming Mommy)

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