Why is there a flap of skin covering my child’s back tooth?

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This is a common occurrence in pediatric dentistry, but it can definitely look disconcerting!

When your child’s 6-year or 12-year molars come in, a flap of skin can sometimes remain over the tooth for a little while. The swelling will subside, but your child might be a little uncomfortable in the meantime.

To help your child be more comfortable, you can use baby Orajel to numb the area and some children’s ibuprofen to reduce the swelling. Warm salt water rinses will also help to relieve discomfort. (Don’t use these medications if your child is allergic to any of the ingredients.) Continue to brush the area to keep it clean and prevent infection.

Keep an eye out for any of these warning signs:

  • The gum becomes more red and inflamed
  • The cheek becomes extremely swollen
  • The gum appears to have a “whitehead,” like a pimple
  • Pus is present
  • Your child is in considerable pain

If any of these signs are present, your child may have developed an infection in the gum.  If you suspect an infection or you have any questions (or your child is not likely to be developing molars), please call our office for further advice and to see if an appointment is needed. 

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