How and When to Pull a Baby Tooth

Around six or seven years old, your child may begin to lose their primary, or “baby”, teeth. As their permanent teeth begin to erupt and push through, the primary teeth become wiggly and fall out. When your child experiences a wiggly tooth, it’s not uncommon for them to want to pull it out. Whether they want to pull it out for the tooth fairy, to show their peers, or just out of curiosity – it may not be the best option. Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry explains how and when it’s best to pull a baby tooth.

To Pull or Not to Pull

It’s important that primary teeth are not pulled before they are ready. Primary teeth are important for biting and chewing, as well as creating space for permanent teeth when they come in. Pulling baby teeth before they are ready can lead to jaw and teeth alignment problems. Make sure that it is extremely loose. If it only wiggles a little or your child feels pain when wiggling, the root has not dissolved enough and it is not ready to come out.

More often than not, baby teeth do not need to be pulled out. When they are ready to come out, they will fall out on their own. However, if your child’s tooth is very wiggly and barely hanging on by a thread, there are safe approaches to pulling it on your own.

How to Safely Pull a Baby Tooth

Tell your child to use their tongue to continue wiggling their tooth until it comes loose. You can also encourage them to chew on crunchy foods like apples, cucumbers, or carrots to help break the tooth loose.

If you or your child plan on using your hands to pull the loose baby tooth, it is imperative that hands be washed first. Bacteria on dirty hands can lead to an infection in your child’s mouth. Wash your hands and use a tissue to grip the tooth from the bottom. Gently rock the tooth back and forth, then twist slightly. The tooth should pop right out. For primary teeth that were ready to fall out, there should not be much bleeding. However, if there is, use clean gauze and pressure to stop it.

When to Visit the Pediatric Dentist

You should call your child’s pediatric dentist if there are any parts of the tooth remaining in your child’s mouth after you pull it, or your child experiences pain, swelling, or redness. These symptoms could mean there is an infection.

If you’re unsure about a loose primary tooth, be sure to ask your child’s dentist about it at the next dental hygiene appointment or give the office a call.

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