When a baby tooth becomes loose, parents wonder if they should help pull it out or allow nature to take its course. Here’s what to do for a loose tooth…
In most instances, a loose tooth indicates that a permanent tooth is attempting to erupt in the gums. There are cases where a loose tooth indicates that an injury has occurred.
While it is acceptable to assist in removing a tooth from the mouth, if an injury has occurred, an appointment should be made with a pediatric dentist prior to attempting removal.
The reason being, prematurely pulling a tooth could result in damage to the permanent tooth, injury to the soft tissue of the mouth, and/or there could be an increased risk of infection.
“Be true to your teeth and they won’t be false to you….” – Soupy Sales
Why Does a Tooth Naturally Loosen?
If no injury has occurred and your child’s tooth is naturally loose, it is because the roots of the structure are dissolving in order to make room for the permanent tooth.
Children typically lose their teeth in the same order in which they originally erupted within the mouth.
The natural loosening of the teeth occurs around six or seven years of age. If your child’s tooth starts to loosen before this, or they seem to be experiencing pain or discomfort, you should see a pediatric dentist to ensure that there are no unseen complications.
Natural is Better
All pediatric dentists will agree that it is best to allow a child’s tooth to naturally fall out. Children can be encouraged to wiggle on the tooth a little; however, if they complain of discomfort, this is not necessary.
If you pull a loose tooth inappropriately, it could disconnect the root too quickly, result in pain, and bleed immensely.
If you want to help your child loosen their tooth more quickly, simply take a tissue, place it on the loose tooth, and apply a bit of pressure instead of pulling.
Due to the dissolving root underneath the tooth, this is usually all that needs to be done to move the process along.
Simple Tips to Aid a Loose Tooth
In addition to the tissue/pressure method, there are several simple tips that may be taken to help move the process along, without harming the child or the soft tissues in their mouth. The following outlines these tips:
- Encourage the child to wiggle their loose tooth. In most instances, they will do this on their own.
- Floss around the tooth.
- Use a tad of gauze to ensure sterilization and simply wiggle the tooth.
- Encourage your child to consume foods that are hard.
- Have your child eat something cold – like a slushy or ice-like beverage – as this will numb the area and reduce the pain.
We Can Help
We have dealt with a LOT of loose teeth here at Richmond Pediatric Dentistry. If your child has a loose tooth, allow us to help! We will evaluate the area to ensure this is a natural occurrence and we will take the proper measures to ensure that the tooth is removed in a quick and painless matter.