“Mummy, look! My tooth is wobbling! Can I pull it? Can I pull it? Please can I pull it?” Like most parents, you probably wondered if should you pull a loose baby tooth. After all, what could be the harm, right? Actually, there’s more to know about baby teeth than you might realise. So before you start tying any strings around teeth, read this guide so you know if and when it’s safe to pull a loose tooth out.
Should you pull a loose baby tooth?
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By the time your children are 6-years-old, they will start to experience their baby teeth falling out in preparation for a new set of adult teeth to come through. This is because the roots of the baby teeth start dissolving to make way for the adult teeth to come through. Normally, teeth begin falling out from the “front” to the “back” – the incisors (the first two front teeth) will be the first to go.
The prospect of cashing out with the Tooth Fairy becomes a huge incentive for your kids to help the wobbly tooth on its way out. As tempting as it is to just yank it out, that might do more harm than good! It’s important to bear a few things in mind with loose teeth before you act on it.
Image source: Shutterstock
A loose tooth doesn’t necessarily mean an adult tooth is on its way. After all, your kids are incredibly active and might have suffered a few knocks and bruises along the way and may have knocked a tooth loose.
If the tooth is still firmly attached to the root, don’t pull it out, mummy. If it’s a little loose and is painful to touch, it means that it’s not ready to come out yet. Schedule a meeting with a dentist to make sure no further damage happens. Should you pull a loose baby tooth that’s not ready to naturally fall out, you could damage the other teeth surrounding it as well.
However, removing a baby tooth that’s wobbling in its socket can be a good idea to minimise any choking hazards. Here are five steps to ensure you remove the loose tooth safely.
5 steps to safely remove a loose tooth
1. Gently wiggle the tooth
Old wives’ tales will suggest that you tie a string around a doorknob and hook the other end up to the tooth. A quick slam of the door will jerk the tooth quickly and painlessly out. Or that’s what they say.
In reality, a tooth naturally ready to fall out is painless and bloodless. Your child should feel no pain when you wiggle the tooth. Wash and disinfect your hands before you take a clean tissue to gently rock the tooth back and forth.
2. Twist the tooth
Sometimes, it might be stuck to the gum. A bit of twisting will encourage the tooth to come out. But again, mummy, be gentle! It’s already on its way out and you’re just accelerating the process a bit quicker so your little one doesn’t choke on it later down the line.
You’ll both be delighted when the tooth pops right out! Show it to your little one so he can see what happened. Remember to clean it later.
3. Apply a gauze pad to the root
Although the hardest part is done, there might be the risk of blood from where the tooth used to be. Applying a clean gauze pad for a few minutes will help to stop the bleeding. However, if the blood doesn’t stop after some time, consider seeing your dentist for further consultation.
4. Check for loose fragments
Mummy, at this point you’re a professional loose tooth remover (might as well call you the Tooth Fairy!)
Check around the gums and near the root in case there are loose bone fragments. This isn’t very common but if you do notice there are, speak to your dentist to safely remove them. You can also see the top of the adult tooth coming out, which can be misleading!
5. Get ready for the Tooth Fairy!
Tell your little one to put the tooth in a tissue under the pillow and just maybe the Tooth Fairy will pay him a visit. Add some adventure and excitement in his life by placing a sweet or a small amount of money under the pillow while he sleeps.
On a practical note, keep an eye out for any redness, swelling, or your child complaining of pain in that area the following day. It can indicate more serious problems, in which you should visit your dentist.
There you have it! A loose tooth finally conquered and safely! Now that you know why loose teeth fall out and how to do it safely, you’ll be prepared to keep the moment exciting, but recognise when it’s right time to call your newly found knowledge into action!
Sources: Healthline, Colgate