When your child has a loose tooth, it might be tempting to yank the tooth, à la old cartoons or The Three Stooges. Pulling baby teeth by slamming doors is iconic and there’s a whole section of YouTube filled with home videos of kids using this method, but we don’t recommend this technique! If the root isn’t dissolved, it can break and risk infection. Before we get into removing them, let’s get acquainted with the basics.
Why Do We Have Baby Teeth?
There’s a simple biological answer! As infants and children, our mouths are not big enough to accommodate the larger, adult-sized teeth. Around six or seven years of age, our mouths have grown enough to suit a full set of adult teeth, so the baby teeth (also known as milk teeth) begin to fall out. You can see the pattern of tooth eruption a bit more clearly via The American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy eruption charts.
Losing Baby Teeth
Did you know that baby teeth are often lost in the same order that they first came in? The loss of baby teeth is an event for most children. Many approach it with excitement (especially at the impending arrival of the tooth fairy!) but there’s also some trepidation. Your child might be wondering, will it hurt?
Thankfully, it doesn’t, or at least it shouldn’t. Baby teeth roots make pathways for the adult teeth and when the adult teeth are ready to come in, the baby teeth roots dissolve, making the tooth loose. A tooth that is ready to come out won’t hurt too much and any bleeding should be minimal, if there’s any at all.
If your child is experiencing severe pain with their loose teeth, contact us at LM Family Dentistry as soon as you can!
Should I Help Pull It By Force?
We advocate letting baby teeth fall out naturally. If teeth are pulled before they’re ready, there is a likelihood of pain and bleeding, and a much more serious risk of infection. If the tooth is causing discomfort, it’s best to encourage your child to pull it out themselves, as they are a better gauge of how much tenderness they can take.
- Eating an apple is often a stress-free way to help a loose tooth on its way out.
- Encourage your child to wiggle their tooth loose on their own, preferably with their tongue or clean hands. If it’s extremely loose, use a tissue and twist! It should pop out easily, but if it doesn’t, don’t force it.
- Urge your child to stay on top of their teeth brushing routine! Regular brushing can help loosen the tooth and of course, it’s an important habit to get into.
Losing baby teeth is exciting! While it’s very common in America to put lost teeth under your pillow, there are different traditions around the globe. Check out Throw Your Tooth on The Roof by Shelby Beeler to learn about the folklore in other cultures. Your child might get a kick out of traditions from other parts of the world like Egypt, where kids fling their teeth at the sun!Contact Us