It’s an exciting time for everyone when your child comes to you with a wiggly tooth. Their first loose tooth can be intimidating for parents. How do you get that tooth out without hurting your child? Is it OK to pull a tooth? There is a certain point when a tooth will come out easily. Pulling it before then can cause more pain and blood than necessary, harming the gums and the tooth’s root. There are also right and wrong ways to pull a tooth (hint: hand tools are not needed!).
The Center for Pediatric Dental Health has seen many loose teeth, but we know when it’s time to pull them and when you need to wait a bit. Here are a few things you need to know about when and how to pull a loose tooth.
Why Do Teeth Become Wiggly?
You may wonder why your child’s baby teeth become wiggly. Sure, we know children lose their baby teeth, so their permanent teeth can take their place. But HOW does a tooth loosen? The most common way is naturally, but there are some unnatural ways, as well.
Accidents or Injuries
The unnatural ways are through accidents or injuries. There isn’t a parent out there who hadn’t had their heart jump in their throats when their child accidentally took a header onto a hard floor or got hit in the face by a flying ball. It’s even scarier when they end up with a loose tooth because of it.
So what do you do? The first step is not to panic. You need to stay calm so your child stays calm. It will also help you remember what to do next.
Second, check to see if the tooth is just loose, if it’s chipped, or if it’s fallen out. If it’s a baby tooth and has fallen out, it’s okay because the permanent tooth will come in. However, you’ll want to come to see us. If the permanent tooth isn’t due for a couple of years, we may need to put a spacer or temporary tooth in to ensure there’s plenty of room for the tooth to erupt. Otherwise, the teeth on either side may try to close the gap, and the permanent tooth may come in crooked or in front of or behind the other teeth.
If the tooth is chipped, try to find and keep the chip. Put it in milk to preserve it, and bring it in after you call us for an emergency appointment. Here are specific steps to take for a chipped tooth.
If the tooth has come out, use a cold compress to reduce the pain and blood loss and call us right away.
Natural Loose Tooth
Most of the time, your child’s tooth comes out naturally. How does that happen? Once you know, you can figure out the best time to pull a loose tooth.
Your child’s tooth becomes loose as the root for that tooth begins to break down. This is a natural process the body goes through to remove the baby teeth and prepare for the permanent teeth. Your body absorbs the degrading root, so no worries there!
The tooth will loosen as the breakdown begins, but it’s best to let the root completely let go before you try to pull the tooth. If the tooth only wiggles slightly, it’s not ready to be pulled. If the tooth moves back and forth freely, it’s probably ready to come out!
How to Pull a Tooth at Home
Once that super wiggly tooth is ready to come out, you’re probably wondering, “should I pull the loose tooth?” “How do I pull a loose tooth with pliers?” “How do I pull a loose tooth with string?”
First, don’t try either of those options at home — or anywhere else, for that matter. A loose tooth ready to come out needs little to no force to be removed. The tooth isn’t ready if you think you need pliers or string. Pulling a tooth out with force can do a lot of damage to the gums, roots, and even the jawbone. Please, don’t do it. (Not to mention putting pliers in your mouth is icky).
If you want to know the best way to pull out a wiggly tooth, just grab a tissue. If the tooth is ready, it shouldn’t hurt when you pull it. Simply wrap the tooth in the tissue and squeeze. It should fall right out if it’s ready. There should be minimal pain or blood when the tooth comes out.
Your child can even pull their own tooth! Kids love to wiggle that wiggly tooth. A good wiggle might do if that tooth is ready to come out. Some kids don’t want people touching their faces or mouths, so letting them do it may make them feel more empowered. You can guide them to wrapping the tooth in the tissue and pulling. Just make sure you get the tooth so you can save it for the Tooth Fairy!
Taking Care of Teeth in South Jersey
The Center for Pediatric Dental Health is there for you when you need some encouragement on getting those wiggly teeth out. We will also keep a watch on your child’s teeth loss progress. Teeth tend to fall out in a certain order at certain times, so we’ll want to watch your kiddo’s teeth fall out when they should. We will also keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy through regular dental visits and cleanings.
If your child needs a dentist that knows all about kids, we’re the place for you! Parents in the Sicklerville, NJ, Mount Laurel, NJ, and Woolrich Township, NJ, areas can start by requesting an appointment. We’d love to work with your child to give them the healthiest smile possible!