A loose tooth is one of the most common childhood dental events. You shouldn’t need a dentist as baby teeth usually fall out on their own to make room for adult teeth. Typically, this occurs when children are 6 or 7 years old. Parents like to make this a fun time for their kids by introducing the Tooth Fairy.
When you pull a loose tooth, it is essential to do it right. We have some guidelines to help you and your child at this exciting time.
Wait until the tooth is ready to come out.
Children are often very excited when they discover a loose tooth, especially their first one. They anxiously wait for it to come out so the Tooth Fairy can visit them! Let them be excited but teach them patience and do not let them pull the tooth until it is ready. Pulling a loose tooth before it is ready can damage the gums and surrounding tissues. And you don’t want their first experience to be unpleasant.
Encourage your child to wiggle the tooth every day if it isn’t ready.
You can help your child to loosen the tooth by encouraging them to use their tongue or fingers to wiggle the tooth frequently throughout the day.
How do you know when it is ready to be pulled?
When a permanent tooth is ready to erupt, the root of a baby tooth begins to dissolve until it’s completely gone. At that point, the tooth is “loose” and only held in place by the surrounding gum tissue. There should be very little to no blood when the tooth is wiggled.
Pulling the Tooth
If your child would like help to pull their tooth, have them first rinse with warm water. Warm water helps soften the gum tissue so that when you remove the tooth, there won’t be any bleeding.
Next, using a tissue, gently tug on the tooth with your index finger. A gentle tug should cause the tooth to move slightly out of its socket. Next, grasp the tooth between your thumb and forefinger. Then, slowly pull the tooth out of the socket. Be careful not to yank hard or twist the tooth, as this can cause injury to the gums and surrounding tissue.
If the child feels pain while pulling the baby tooth, do not pull the tooth. Leave the tooth be for a few days – it will likely come free on its own.
What if there is bleeding after you pull the tooth?
Even when a tooth is ready to be pulled, there can be some bleeding afterward. Stop the bleeding by pressing a sterile piece of gauze on the tooth socket. Have your child bite on the gauze for about 15 minutes.
What do you do if the bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes?
If the bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes, bring your child to us right away or go to the doctor, an urgent care center, or the emergency room so a doctor can stop the bleeding.
When to bring your child to a dentist for a loose tooth?
Baby teeth usually come out with no incident. However, there can be some circumstances you need to bring your child in to see us for a loose tooth.
- If your child’s tooth has been loose for a few months but doesn’t seem to be changing, it is best to make an appointment and have the tooth looked at by your dentist.
- When your child’s permanent tooth has completely erupted, but the baby tooth is not loose, have it checked by a dentist.
- Bring your child to see a dentist if a permanent tooth becomes loose.
Pulling a loose tooth is easy if you keep it simple and follow the above tips. Remember to keep it fun and exciting for your little one to grow up and lose their teeth to the Tooth Fairy. But also, keep in mind that we are here for you. If you have trouble pulling your child’s teeth or have any questions, please contact us.
Dr. R. Bruce Howell
Orem Pediatric Dentistry