Are Red Spots On My Baby’s Gums Normal?

Most parents don't notice these little red spots on the gums when kids lose their baby teeth. Here's what they mean.

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Hi, I’m Dr. B, practicing functional dentist for 35 years. I graduated from the Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, CA in 1987 and am a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), Academy of General Dentistry (Chicago, IL), American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), and Dental Board of California. I'm on a mission to empower people everywhere with the same evidence-based, easy-to-understand dental health advice that my patients get. Learn more about Dr. B

Q: My 7-year-old daughter's baby tooth fell out. It looks like just a shell of a tooth without any inside. There is a red, soft, rounded protrusion left on her gum. It doesn't hurt her. What is this and what do we do about it?

A: Most parents don’t notice this little red spot on the gums. The red spot is the piece of tissue that was in the hollow shell of the tooth that fell out. As you may have noticed, when a baby tooth comes out, it is not a fully-formed tooth; it’s usually the crown of the tooth minus the roots.

I think that most people think that the whole tooth comes out when a child loses a baby tooth, but that would be nearly impossible. The root melts away and when there is no root, there is no support for the tooth, so the exposed part of the tooth wiggles itself out.

Left behind is a little spot of scar tissue that will slough away. The only thing I can say is that, when you do see that little piece of scar tissue, that means the tooth was in there a little longer than normal.

Good for you for noticing! Most parents don’t look into their children’s mouths and notice these interesting little details. I commend you for your vigilance.

Parents also ask me about the presence of an adult tooth behind or in front of the baby tooth, as you see in the picture above. This can happen quite often and is typically not considered a problem. Worst case, the baby tooth may need to be extracted, however, only a visit to the dentist can determine this.

There’s nothing for you to do. The body will take care of this. Your child can eat anything she wants. Sometimes this tissue will bleed a little bit, but it’s nothing to be alarmed about.

Mark Burhenne DDS

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