The transition from baby teeth to permanent teeth is often a big occasion in a child’s life. Some children get excited at the prospect of losing their teeth, but for others it can be a scary experience. As a parent you might be tempted to help the process along by simply pulling it out. But extracting a loose tooth prematurely can actually do more harm than good. In addition to causing unnecessary pain to the child, there will be an increased risk of infection and bleeding. Most dentists would recommend that a child’s loose tooth should be allowed to fall naturally.
What a loose tooth means
Children start losing their baby teeth around the age of six. If your child discovers a loose tooth, chances are there is a permanent tooth trying to replace it. Even so, you should check with your dentist to rule out any other possible cause.
Should you yank a loose tooth?
Yanking a child’s loose tooth can be painful and dangerous. Removing it prematurely can cause bleeding and infection. Instead, encourage your child to wiggle the tooth with his/her tongue (hands are also okay as long as they are clean). That way the tooth will sooner fall out naturally.
When should you pull a child’s tooth?
Although leaving a child’s tooth to fall out naturally is the best course of action, sometimes a parent will want to pull out a child’s tooth-especially if it is dangling from the gum. In this case, it might be safe to pull the tooth out without causing any unnecessary pain to the child. Using clean tissue, hold the tooth and twist out. Alternatively have the child chew on something like an apple to encourage the tooth to fall out on its own.
Put your child at ease
If your child is anxious about losing his or her teeth then it might be a good idea to talk about the tooth fairy. Children are always excited about the prospect of getting a reward for losing teeth, hence they might actually look forward to having their teeth fall out rather than dreading it. You can also relate stories about other children. Ask your friends what their experiences were with their own children. That way it is easier to reassure your child that losing a tooth is a natural and (hopefully) painless.
Talk to your dentist
As with every health issue, it is best to talk to your dentist about any concerns. A loose tooth would also be a good occasion to visit the dentist.