Should You Pull a Loose Baby Tooth?

Like many parenting challenges, you may be unsure what to do the first time your child gets a loose baby tooth. Should you pull it out? Tell your child to avoid wiggling it? Wait and see what happens? If you have these questions, you’re not alone! Each time one of our young patients gets a loose tooth, parents ask us questions about what to do and how much the Tooth Fairy should leave behind!

While any reward from the Tooth Fairy, and whether or not you even participate in the Tooth Fairy tradition, is totally up to you, the following information will help you navigate this next stage in your child’s development.

When Do Children Start Losing Teeth?

Humans are diphyodont, meaning that we have two successive sets of teeth: baby teeth (also called temporary teeth or primary teeth) and permanent teeth (also known as adult teeth or secondary teeth). Typically, kids start having their baby teeth emerge around six months old, and begin losing these baby teeth around six years old. The front teeth are the first to go, while molars hang on until your child is twelve or so. By the age of 13, they should have a full mouth of 28 adult teeth.

Should You Pull a Loose Baby Tooth?

The vast majority of the time, you should NOT pull on your child’s loose tooth. Yanking out a tooth before it’s ready can damage the nerve or gums, lead to profuse bleeding, cause your child pain and trauma, and even contribute to problems with the arrival of their permanent teeth. Instead, encourage your child to gently wiggle their loose tooth with a clean finger or tissue and it will come out when it’s ready. Gentle wiggling is perfectly OK! After plenty of wiggling, you can expect loose teeth to fall out anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Questions? We Have Answers!

Let our Southwest Smiles Family Dentistry team know if your child experiences any swelling, abnormal redness, or profuse bleeding when they have a loose baby tooth, or if you have any additional questions about your child’s oral health. We’re here to help you and your family have healthy and strong smiles. Contact us today!

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