Pulling Your Child’s Baby Teeth

Your child’s baby teeth should begin to fall out by age 6 or 7, according to the American Dental Association. Over the next five or six years, your child will gradually lose all baby teeth, and new, permanent teeth will replace them.

If your child has a loose baby tooth that is bothersome, you may wonder if you should try to pull it out or just wait for it to come out naturally. You may feel the need to help by pulling the tooth from your child's mouth, but this is not always the best course of action. If a baby tooth needs a little coaxing to come out and your child asks for help, you can lend some pain-free assistance to remove the tooth. Here are some tips from Drs. James and Samuel Owens pediatric dentists in Broken Arrow.

Why Is It Loose?

A loose tooth doesn't always mean a permanent tooth is coming up. Kids sometimes knock their teeth out when playing or falling. If your child's tooth is knocked loose, you should make an appointment with your dentist to get it checked out because there can be a risk of damage to the tooth or infection.

How Are Baby Teeth Replaced?

Kids typically lose teeth in the same order as they get them. The front teeth go first, usually around age six or seven. When a permanent tooth starts coming in, the roots of the baby tooth dissolve until it is loose enough to fall out painlessly and with very little effort (or blood).

If you notice that your child's teeth are coming in behind a row of teeth, contact your dentist as adjacent baby teeth may need to be extracted to make room for the erupting permanent teeth. If you're not sure why one particular tooth is loose, and it seems too early or out of sequence for your child, you may wish to contact your dentist.

Too Excited to see the Tooth Fairy?

You can suggest some independent ways your child can loosen a tooth and encourage it to fall out. You might suggest that your child eat a crunchy apple to help work the tooth loose. Brushing teeth several times a day can be an effective way to make a tooth looser.

You can help them remove the tooth. Be sure to wash your hands really well. Place a piece of clean gauze around your child’s tooth. Help your child grasp the tooth firmly through the gauze. Suggest that your youngster move the tooth gently before actually twisting it. This helps them determine if there is any pain associated with moving the tooth. As long as your child feels little or no pain and wants to proceed, just twist the tooth quickly to pull it out, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics, Place a clean piece of gauze into the gap in your child’s mouth to stop any bleeding. Help your child rinse his mouth out after the bleeding stops.

If you have any concern about a loose tooth, schedule an appointment with Drs. James and Samuel Owens for the best course of action.