Should You Pull Your Child’s Wiggly Tooth or Let It Fall Out?

What to do with loose baby teeth.

Losing baby teeth to make room for adult teeth is a normal part of every child’s early development. However, children and parents alike are often unaware of how they should respond to noticing that they have a loose tooth. 

Leave any ideas involving string and doors behind and focus on these important facts instead:

It’s important to take care of those baby teeth.

Some parents just aren’t aware of just how important taking proper care of baby teeth is, and unfortunately, the misconception that those teeth simply do not matter because they’ll fall out anyway is widespread. 

The health of baby teeth is equally important as when dealing with your own permanent teeth. Tooth decay, injury, and other issues that can affect baby teeth shouldn’t be ignored, as their health can also affect permanent teeth before they emerge. Tooth decay can spread, for instance, down into your child’s gums, and a variety of issues can increase the risk of infection.

If your child has developed any sort of issue with their baby teeth, or if they have a missing or loose tooth significantly ahead of the expected timeline, you should visit a trusted pediatric dentist, as losing baby teeth early on causes complications in healthy development.

Letting your child lose their teeth naturally is safe.

One of the primary reasons that parents choose to intervene when their child has a tooth loose is fear for their child’s safety. They’re concerned about the tooth falling out and the child inadvertently swallowing it. However, that isn’t very common, as children typically notice when their loose tooth falls out and react accordingly.

However, even if your child does swallow a tooth, there isn’t significant cause for concern. Teeth dissolve in stomach acid with no ill effect on your child. Your teeth are constantly at risk of decay due to the relatively low acidity secreted by bacteria in the mouth, anyway.

It’s best to let baby teeth fall out on their own.

If your child has a loose tooth today, the best thing you can do is wait for it to fall out on its own. It can be tempting—for both you and your child—to try to remove it forcefully, but you should refrain and advise your child to do the same. Trying to force the tooth out often causes more harm than good.

A loose tooth that hasn’t fallen out is still attached to your child’s gum tissue, which means pulling the tooth out can rip or tear the tissue, causing pain and potential bleeding. Aggressive movement can also affect the permanent tooth underneath. Baby teeth play an important role in guiding the proper emergence of permanent teeth, and disrupting that role can lead to misalignment, among other issues.

Gentle wiggling is fine, but don’t go too far.

Anything that could be described as tearing is going much too far, but gently wiggling a tooth that is almost ready to fall out is perfectly fine. Moving the loose tooth back and forth within its current range of motion can coax the last bit of the process, letting it fall out naturally and allowing you and your child to both stop worrying about it.

You might have heard of the idea of using a string and door handle to remove a tooth or seen it on television, but in reality, it is a reckless and dangerous idea that can lead to serious injury and is very likely to affect your child’s teeth, gums, and jaw far beyond simply removing the loose tooth.

Tips to prepare for your child’s development.

If your child is approaching the age of six, then it’s time for you to get ready to deal with loose teeth, and thinking about how you’re going to deal with the loose-teeth stage of development ahead of time can really help. Talk with your child about the process and explain how losing baby teeth is perfectly natural so that it doesn’t come as a surprise.

When should you be concerned?

There are still some situations where you should reach out to your dentist about your child’s loose teeth. If your child has lost a tooth due to an injury or apparent decay, seek dental treatment right away. Similarly, if a tooth has been loose for a month or so and still hasn’t fallen out, you should talk to your dentist about that as well.

Your Pediatric Dentist in Salem, Oregon

No matter what stage of development your child is in, they need care from a trusted pediatric dentist in Salem, Oregon. At Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry, we offer a full range of pediatric dental care, along with the advice you need during your child’s development. Meet our team by booking an appointment today.