Most children begin to lose teeth around age six, but some can lose teeth as early as four years old and as late as eight. The general rule is the first one in, first one out. Your child will most likely lose them in the order they erupted. They will start wiggling and it may take months for them to fall out on their own. The question is when should you attempt to pull the tooth or should you wait patiently for it to come out on its own? There are things we must consider before taking that route and it isn’t always the best idea to pull loose teeth.
First, we must look at why the tooth is loose. Sometimes children may hit their teeth when they are playing or in a fall. If this is the case, contact us immediately so we can examine your child to make sure there is no infection or damage to the permanent teeth below. As your child grows and the adult teeth are ready to come in, they will push up against the baby teeth and essentially dissolve the roots making them very wiggly. Once this happens the tooth usually will fall out on its own without pain and not much blood.
Pulling a tooth before it is ready can lead to pain, infection and also may damage the tissue. Baby teeth help guide in the adult teeth. If a tooth is pulled before it is time, this can affect the placement of the adult tooth. If you apply pressure to the tooth and your child does not feel any pain and it is hanging in the cavity it may be okay to try to pull it. Gently wrap the tooth with a tissue and squeeze it and it should come right out.
If you and your child can withstand the annoyance of a loose tooth then it is better to let it fall out on its own. Encourage your child to wiggle it! If you are concerned with how long your child’s baby teeth have remained in their mouth, our pediatric dentists can determine if they need to be pulled, while taking into account the health of their adult teeth.
Here is a video from the American Dental Association that describes how to pull a tooth.