Will’s Front Tooth: A Retrospective Journey

(A year ago today, Will knocked out his front tooth. Indulge me, if you will, on this mother’s journey.)

At about four months of age, Will began drooling, like every other baby. We nodded our heads knowingly and said, “He must be teething.”

The months went by and he continued to drool and chew on his fingers and on his toys. He occasionally got cranky and we nodded our heads knowingly and said, “He must be teething.”

At his nine-month visit to the pediatrician, she observed him climbing around the room and said, “I predict he will walk in here for his 12-month visit and I predict he will have a tooth by then.” He walked six weeks later, ran into the pediatrician’s office at 12 months—and gave her a big, gummy, toothless smile.

Finally at 14 months, two little teeth poked through the bottom gum. And slowly, slowly, slowly, others followed.


Will and his mighty fangs, June 2006, 23 months of age.

By his second birthday he had what looked to us like a mouthful of teeth.


Happy second birthday, Will! Breakfast, July 20, 2006


Need a closer look?


He slowly added a few more as the summer and fall progressed.


A year ago Will still had both of those hard-won front teeth. As you would expect for a two-year-old.


Last known photo of his front teeth, November 2006.

And then one morning, he took a terrible fall, and tumbled teeth first onto a bedside table. With a magazine on it. His teeth marks went all the way through to page 35. (Those magazine pages are now in his baby book.)

Bleeding, swelling, tears, an emergency trip to the pediatric dentist—but he still had two front teeth, even though one was pushed up into his gum. The poor little fellow was as brave as can be, and we took him home for cuddles, movies, soft foods and popsicles.


You can’t really tell from this photo, but his mouth is so swollen it looks like a beak. November 13, 2006


Over the next few weeks, the tooth worked its way down, we were cautiously optimistic and then…he fell again, two weeks later at school. The tooth came out.


November 29, 2006

The phrase, “I was devastated!” is overused, but I was. Truly. My sweet, beautiful little baby had a huge, gaping hole in his smile. I felt like I should have been able to protect him from harm and the fact that it happened without me there was a extraordinarily painful metaphor for life as a working parent.


Still a little swollen, November 29, 2006

He hardly seemed to notice, and to this day, while he is well aware that he is missing a tooth, it has never bothered him. That’s okay, because my heart breaks enough for the both of us when I see that smile.




And of course, it was three days before Christmas card photos last year. We didn’t use this one, but thought you might enjoy the outtake.


Edited to add: I have NO IDEA why Will looks like he got a fresh red dye job in that last photo. NO IDEA. Is it just my monitor? 


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38 Responses to “Will’s Front Tooth: A Retrospective Journey”

  1. Molly Says:

    He’s still adorable. 🙂

  2. La Says:

    What an adorable Christmas photo! I love it!

  3. Stephanie Says:

    Wow those boys are cute! Will his tooth just come in as an adult tooth in a few years? No matter, he’s still a cutie and your photos are wonderful!

  4. Maya Says:

    Oh my! Just like my anxious nous yesterday! Can’t protect them from everything! I think he’s even cuter with the tooth missing!!!

  5. Maggie Says:

    Poor Will! And poorer Will’s Mommy!

    They are too adorable!

  6. CuriousC Says:

    That Christmas photo is classic!

  7. Anna Says:

    Maya, I was thinking of you when I wrote this!

    Stephanie, I think it will come right in, but they say it might take longer since he took so long to get his first teeth. So he is toothless for several more years. So sad.

  8. Jess Says:

    I lost my first tooth naturally at age four. Nobody was expecting it, and I hadn’t noticed it was loose. I never found the tooth and I needed quite a bit of help crafting my letter to the tooth fairy as I was only four and did not really know how to write. I had a big gap in my mouth for a long time and it never bothered me or anyone else, as far as I know. At least Will’s was a baby tooth–they’re like dry runs so that you can take better care of your adult teeth. And he’s still totally cute!

  9. sdh Says:

    Will’s still cute, tooth or no tooth! love the christmas card outtake. Henry looks so cozy, i would totally wear that outfit.

  10. Sarah Says:

    absolutely adorable! my God what am i going to do when i have kids? i’m already drooling over mommy-blogs. 🙂

  11. qu33nbee Says:

    Seriously, the missing tooth gives him a “little boy’s smile” Almost like he earned losing it, like a battle scar, as much as he earned getting it. 🙂 He is unbelievably adorable!

  12. itsallabouthallie Says:

    AWW! i understand! Raymond was two years old, he was “sword” fighting with my dad with wrapping paper tubes. It was the first night i left the boys to go out with friends and then…i get a panic call from my mom. well she was calm i was not. she said not to worry raymond fell hit the bottom step and knocked out his tooth we are taking him to the dentist. i know the pain you feel! my baby does not have a perfect smile. he did not get teeth until he was 15 months or so! it will take a long time for it to grow in but it is a fun story as he will say “grandpa knocked it out!”

  13. mikesgotnothin Says:

    I think all boys fall on their teeth. I did it when I was three — off the top bunk. Teeth went up and out and that started the long road of night braces and retainers. No worries about, Will. The girls will love that smile!

  14. Michelle Says:

    “last known photo of two front teeth”

  15. Christina Says:

    Aw, how traumatic for poor Will and poor Mom! Every parent’s worse nightmare. BUT, he’s so adorable with the gap-toothed smile! It’s a special Will characteristic. I bey you’ll miss it when the adult teeth grow in. :o)

  16. Erinne Says:

    OK – poor Will for falling – but poor you I know how hard it is as a parent we totally notice these things. But it was his baby teeth so hopefully his adult teeth are not affected. My girl slipped in the tub and cracked her one front tooth and it’s chipped and although she has no clue – I see it all the time!!! VERY CUTE PHOTOS!!!!!

  17. Chelle Says:

    Never really thought about the missing tooth… Just thought he had character and the cutest smile I’d seen in awhile for a little boy! Seriously, perfect smiles are overrated…


  18. Shannon Says:

    Holy cow! Is that the first appearance of Anna on ‘Hank & Willie’ or did I miss an earlier shot?

  19. B. Says:

    Poor fella…

  20. Anna Says:

    Um, Shannon, I think you might be right. For no particular reason other than I am usually the one taking photos!

  21. Jennifer Says:

    He’s still pretty darn adorable with a missing tooth!

  22. Stacy Says:

    Well, he is pretty cute the way he is, but I’m sure that was not an easy thing to go through. Just seeing our babies hurt from an accident is so wrenching.

    One of Anya’s good little buddies is missing one her front teeth and I haven’t broached the subject with her mommy since I wasn’t sure how she feels about it or what happened.

  23. ChiaLynn Says:

    Shannon, I know there’ve been other pics of Anna on the blog — because I remember thinking how pretty she is, partway through reading the (terrifying) story of Henry’s first few weeks. 🙂

  24. arizaphale Says:

    Yup, I saw Anna in a white shirt before a photo shoot. And definitely pretty.
    I so feel for you on this post as I was repsonsible at the tender age of 12 for the loss of 2 of my two year old sister’s teeth. I was ‘dink’ing her on my bike..she sat in front of me on the long ‘chopper’ seats we had back in the 70s. We were going too fast and went over a bump, she over balanced, took me with her and as we fell the handlebars swung around and caught her in the mouth. One tooth was knocked out completely, one chipped and one loosened. She had to have surgery to remove the stump of the broken tooth and the chipped one although I think they left the loose one there…but I could be wrong. Anyhow, at 5 her teeth came down beautifully and she now has the most sensational smile. So never fear. But I now your pain.

  25. arizaphale Says:


  26. kristen Says:

    This happened to my son on 2/13/08 he knocked out the front right tooth root and all, while i was at work and he was at day care. He is 4 yrs old, He told me the day care teacher made him clean his self up all by himself and nobody helped him, and belive it or not he still is sticking to the same story! so i know it is not a lie. need less to say his last day at that day care was that same day. I feel so bad for him because he keeps telling me sorry for knocking his tooth out. I think he thinks he is in trouble because the day care made him clean his own blood up. I dont think I will ever trust a day care again. The funny thing about the whole thing is when we put his tooth under his pillow for the tooth fairy, the next morning he woke up to money and cried because he wanted his tooth back in. I hope it doesnt take long for the adult tooth to come in for either of us!

  27. Jan Says:

    My son knocked out his front tooth after a bad fall recently. Does it get any easier? I am devastated. I’m worried about his speech and eating (he has trouble gaining weight) or that he will get picked on later on. I was just wondering how things are going for you guys now.

  28. Asha Says:

    It is 2:50 am.. and I am sitting at my computer trying to find posts relating to lost teeth in toddlers.. take a guess why?! My little princess Maya, who is four and a half, lost one of her bottom front teeth today 😦 after a fall.. I am so worried about her, I can’t sleep! Anyone that has ever seen her smile has always said what a beautiful smile she had, and how lovely her teeth were. I have taught her good dental hygiene, and she herself takes pride in brushing, and keeping her teeth pearly white! And then this happens! I couldn’t believe it when I went to pick her up off the floor with a mouth full of blood, and a jutting out tooth! I started to cry as well.. My poor baby! When I picked up the tooth off the floor, I couldn’t believe how long it was.. it was knocked out all the way to the root! She has a nasty cut in her gum, and the other lower front tooth is also loose.. We took her to the ER and they confirmed she hadn’t broken or fractured her jaw. She was so brave when the doctor checked her out, and when they did the X-rays.. I am so proud of her! I hope that the other tooth doesn’t fall and her adult teeth come in as beautiful as her baby teeth! I will also follow up with her pediatric dentist on Monday to make sure there will be no issues with her loose tooth, and that her adult teeth will grow back normal.

    My heart aches when I see her toothless smile.. even she was horrified when she saw herself in the mirror.. but we were able to console her and explained to her that all kids lose their teeth, and hers fell a little early, but it will grow back. She seemed satisfied with that, and asked if the tooth-fairy would be visiting tonight.. and when we said yes, she gave us her first toothless smile.. as much as it hurt to see that gap, it also warmed my heart.. she is such a wonderful kid!

    And, thank you Anna for this wonderful posting.. seeing Will’s pictures, and his great attitude (as well as great smile) has reassured me that my little girl will be OK too.. I think it is harder for us as parents, but they seem to deal with things far better.

    I do have one question: what do I feed her for the next few days? liquids and soft foods don’t provide too much of a choice. I was thinking of fruit smoothies, soup (maybe beat up in blender), pudding, ice cream.. but I don’t want to give her too much sugar either. Any suggestions?

  29. Lois Says:

    Hi, just had the same experience with my 3year old son. I sobbed at the sight of his tooth loss and pain. He fell off his bed and into the radiator three feet away. My husband and I are still puzzled over the physics of how this occurred and needless to say, we moved the bed.

    I just wanted to say thank you for your posting. It really comforted me, especially the part about feeling irrationally responsible for what happened. It might sound dramatic to say this, but I did experience deep depression after the event, in large part due to the helplessness I felt and my inability to protect my child. Your mind also starts turning over completely senseless things you could have done to prevent the accident, and in the end, you arrive at the realization that some things are beyond your control. I think this last part is what bothered me most about the accident. At any rate, reading your posting made me feel I wasn’t alone and thanks a bundle for that. Your children are also extremely adorable.

  30. Why we have blogs « Hank & Willie Says:

    […] Why we have blogs By Anna If you haven’t noticed, I’ve had a case of the “blahgs” lately. Something to do with this endless winter we’re having in New England, maybe, and tired of taking photos inside? So I haven’t had much inspiration to spend time here, until I get a lovely, thoughtful comment like this one, out of the blue, from a mom who had just read a post I wrote a long while back about the trauma (to mom) of seeing your child knock out a tooth. […]

  31. Amber Says:

    Thank you so much for your post and sweet pictures. Just this morning my little boy, who just turned two, came into our room at 5:00 am. He tripped and hit his mouth on our bed frame. It knocked his tooth back and it was bleeding. We rushed to the ER and they referred us to an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon pulled the tooth and we have an appointment with the general dentist next week. I think I’m more upset than he is. He doesn’t even realize that his tooth is gone yet. I’m hoping the dentist will be able to do something, but if not he’s still my cute boy!!

  32. Lee Says:


    My three year old son injured his front left tooth today while playing at the park. We took him to the dentist and was told that tooth would need to be extracted. I’m devasted, worried, anxious etc. My son loves to look in the mirror and make different faces. When I explained to him that the tooth would need to come out he cried and it was difficult to consol him. How is your son coping with his lost tooth? Have you ever considered putting in a false tooth. Any issues with his speech?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Do you have any concerns about the spacing for his permanent tooth to descend?


  33. Kris Says:

    So relieved to read all these stories. 10 month old fell into a coffee table and YUP knocked out his front tooth. Emergency trip to Ped Ortho surgen and he is going to be fine but minus one tooth until he gets his adult teeth.

    I’m sick about it all but he is in fine spirits and seems to be recovering very quickly. thanks for the post

  34. Dawn Says:

    I’m happy I found this post. My 2 year old little boy fell of a booster chair and landed on our ceramic tiled floor. We took him to his regular dentist and he said our son had fractured the root of his front tooth and it may have to be extracted. I was so devastated. Well, I took him to a pediatric dentist for a second opinion just to be safe. The pediatric dentist said he fractured the roots of both of his front teeth and may have to have them both extracted. I have been so depressed about this. I know it seems silly, they are just baby teeth. I just can’t imagine my baby with not front teeth for the next 4-5 years, he just turned 2. Does anyone have any advice for using laughing gas (nitrous oxide) or completely sedating a toddler for this procedure? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Lora Mancuso Says:

      My two year old son fell into the coffee table wednesday night and knocked both front teeth completely out. We are devastated. I feel like there should be a support group for this kind of thing. I would love to hear more about your son and what has since happened. We can’t imagine our son without front teeth for the next 4-5 years. Yet he is a happy toddler still running around.

  35. Lora Mancuso Says:

    My two year old son fell into the coffee table wednesday night and knocked both front teeth completely out. We are devastated. I feel like there should be a support group for this kind of thing. I would love to hear more about your son and what has since happened. We can’t imagine our son without front teeth for the next 4-5 years. Yet he is a happy toddler still running around.

  36. Jennifer Says:

    Oh God. I’m so glad I’m not the only one dealing with this. My 3.5 year old son fell mouth-first into a chair on January 16th. One of his top front teeth was pushed all the way up, into his gums. The other front tooth was slightly displaced. I took him to the ER (he had a concussion) and then to a pediatric dentist. We were told to “wait- and-see”. By the end of January the pushed-up tooth was looking okay, but the other tooth turned brown. When I took him back for the follow-up, I was expecting to be told to give it time. Instead they said the tooth was abscessing and it needs to be removed.

    I’ve been devastated over this for two months now, and the tooth (possibly teeth) don’t get
    extracted until tomorrow. I’m so anxious about it.
    I’m a stay-at-home-mom. I try to always be there, but I have an energetic, independent son. I feel like a complete failure for “letting” this happen, and I’m so sad for him.

    I keep looking at pictures of his perfect smile and crying my eyes out because he’s only three. It’s going to be sooooo long before the adult teeth come in. I’m going to be crushed everytime he smiles. I dread being asked about it. Ugh. I’m losing my mind.

    Thanks for putting your stories here. I don’t feel better, but I at least feel validated.

  37. Wayne Says:

    Thank you Anna… this post means so much to me. Our boy 2.5 yr Connor knocked out one of his front tooth falling while sucking his milk from a hard straw (which I gave him just moments before). That cup with the twisted straw tip sits on the kitchen window sill next to the zip-lock bag of his perfect front tooth as a daily reminder for me.

    The initial shock and horror was the worst. As the guilt settles in, I was researching for pediatric dental facts but what I really needed was this validation that everything will turn out alright

    gratefully yours,

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