White Spot on Child’s Gums: Emergency Dentist or Wait-and-See?

My daughter is seven, and her two top front teeth are just now becoming lose. The other day, her little brother threw a toy at her face and it caught her just off to the right of the front tooth. Just last night, she complained to me that her teeth are bothering her. I took a look and it almost looks like there’s a white bump above her gumline. She thinks it’s an adult tooth coming in. I’m worried that her tooth was damaged and she’s forming an abscess. Can that even happen with kids? Should I take her to an emergency dentist or just wait and see?



Dear Patrice,

If she’s in pain, take her to the emergency dentist. Some kids will try to tough it out, whether out of fear or because they don’t know any better. Even mild complaints should be brought to the attention of the dentist.

As for what it might be, it’s tough to say. Adult teeth follow the path of least resistance. Sometimes they’ll come in directly on top of the baby tooth and push it out nicely. Other times, they will appear in front or in back of the baby tooth. This isn’t usually a cause for concern, but it’s worth mentioning at her next regular checkup if it doesn’t bother her.

Though it isn’t often seen in children (a general practice might see one or two each year, depending on the demographics of their patients), it could also certainly be an abscess. If so, a trip to the emergency dentist would be in order. Your daughter would need to start on antibiotics right away to kill the infection before it gets a chance to spread. If the affected tooth is loose, the doctor will probably just extract it. If not, he can perform what’s known as a pulpotomy, or the child-version of a root canal. This should keep the tooth infection-free until it’s ready to fall out on its own.

Your description isn’t entirely clear, so it could be the adult tooth coming in, an abscess, or even simple trauma to the gums. If it didn’t hurt, a wait-and-see approach might be ok. However, anytime there is pain involved, a trip to the emergency dentist is a necessity.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.

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