Short answer: No. Don’t interfere with loose baby teeth.
If you’ve ever watched your child struggle to eat a meal with a loose baby tooth that’s causing tenderness, you may be tempted to help nature on its way. Maybe you remember a time when parents tied a child’s loose tooth to a door knob, then slammed the door shut, to pull the tooth free. My parents did it, so it must be safe, right?
The truth is that it’s always better to let the tooth come out on its own. Even if a loose tooth causes your child stress or sensitivity, it’s still better to defer to nature’s timeline, rather than force it out.
Do you have a question for pediatric dentist Dr. Kimmy? She specializes in baby teeth and can help you understand your child’s oral health needs. Call our Manhasset, New York dental practice today at 516-365-4-KID to make an appointment.
Why You Should Wait
Think of a screw in a plaster wall. If you rip that screw out with a pair of pliers, you’re going to pull out a lot of wall along with it. However, if you unscrew it slowly, the wall will incur less damage. Baby teeth are similar. Teeth are held firm in the mouth by our gums and connective tissue. Pulling teeth out too soon can damage those soft tissues and lead to excess bleeding or pain in the roots.
A lack of pain is the best indicator that a tooth is ready to come out. If your child can wiggle it to 90 degrees or rotate it in the socket without pain, then it’s probably ready.
Tips For Loose Teeth
If your child is eager to lose a tooth, encourage him to wiggle it with his tongue, but keep his hands off of it until it’s almost ready to come out. (Keeping fingers out of the mouth is a great way to prevent spreading germs, as well.)
If you notice your child pulling, wiggling or twisting a tooth with his fingers, give him an apple to eat. The force required to bite down into an apple may lodge the tooth in the fruit (if it’s ready to come out) or help it loosen without damaging gum tissue (if it’s not quite ready).
If your child experiences sensitivity from a loose tooth, feel free to cut food into bite-sized pieces or give soft foods as an option at every meal. The tooth will still loosen gradually from chewing, but this avoids any pain of directly biting and tearing of food.
Encourage your child to brush and floss the tooth as he normally would.
If you think your child’s tooth has been loose too long, call or visit Dr. Kimmy.
Is your child a tooth wiggler?
Every child reacts differently to the first loose teeth. Some are fascinated by the process and take it in stride, while others may get upset by a part of their body suddenly becoming unpredictable in its behavior. The former tend to wiggle and pull, while the latter may avoid using or touching the tooth altogether.
Do you remember your first loose tooth? Probably not, because as time passed and more of your teeth fell out, the situation became a normal part of your young life. If your child fits into the “understandably distressed” category, try to relax and remember that this feeling will pass. Reassure your child that it’s entirely natural for baby teeth to be pushed up and out by the adult teeth growing in beneath them. A little sensitivity is normal as well, and it’s nothing children can’t live with.
Do you have a question for pediatric dentist Dr. Kimmy? She specializes in baby teeth and can help you understand your child’s oral health needs. Call our Manhasset, New York dental practice today at 516-365-4-KID to make an appointment.Leave a reply →