Should You Pull Baby Teeth?
It has become a common practice among parents to pull out loose baby teeth dangling in their child’s mouth. In some cases, it may be a baby tooth trying to make way for the permanent tooth, or an accidental impact on the tooth causing it to leave its base (the gum) and causing the child some discomfort.
The question remains: Should you pull a loose baby tooth? You may also be seeking help to determine when you should pull a child’s loose tooth?
Children start to lose the baby teeth from ages 5 to 6. As the baby teeth fall out, the permanent teeth start growing in. Your child’s oral care can impact how well the permanent teeth grow and settle in place. Wrongly tugging at a tooth or pulling a tooth when you should not have can mar the gums, causing growth in the wrong direction or oral infections. For this reason, you want to be extra careful while helping your kids pull baby teeth.
Since the tooth is inside the mouth and the tongue moves around a lot, your child may be nudging at the loose with their tongue. This may cause further damage or weakening of the tooth. Some kids tend to use their fingers to examine the tooth introducing harmful bacteria to the exposed part.
There are a few factors that determine if you should let your child’s loose tooth fall out on its own or whether you should take matters into your hands and use the old hacks of pulling out a loose baby tooth.
Let us discuss some of these factors and give pointers to help answer the question: should you pull out a loose tooth?
Should You Pull A Loose Baby Tooth?
The best way to handle knowing should you pull a loose baby tooth is to examine closely and consider the reasons why it is loose. A baby tooth that has become loose is usually trying to welcome the permanent tooth, so it is advised to allow nature to take its course.
Typically, the tooth will fall out on its own, eventually. But there are cases where a baby tooth takes forever to fall out. This may become a nuisance, disrupting your child’s chewing and even causing pain.
This could also cause problems if the loose tooth remains in the mouth too long. If the permanent tooth is already starting to erupt and the baby tooth is still on top of it, it can be hard to clean these teeth. You definitely don’t want to get a cavity on a brand new permanent tooth as it is erupting.
The first step to take when you notice a loose baby tooth that won’t fall out, is to see your dentist. Your dentist should examine the tooth to determine the cause and make a diagnosis.
But if you notice that the tooth is dangling and is really ready to come out, with healthy gums and no pain, you can decide to try out safe and simple home remedies to pull the tooth out.
In addition, your child may have heard so many fairy tales about the tooth fairy and may be eager to see what his/her first tooth looks like and what the tooth fairy has in store for them. (Read: The Best Tooth Fairy Ideas List)
This might make your child tug or try to pull at the dangling tooth which may be harmful, causing pain and sometimes, causing the gums to bleed.
You may consider using home remedies recommended by your dentist, to pull the tooth. There are several DIYs on the internet showing ways to pull a loose tooth. It is advised to seek professional help before taking action. Remember that doing the wrong thing can affect your child’s oral health in the future.
Ensure that your child feels no pain at all and that the tooth is totally dangling and ready. If you try and pull the tooth and it doesn’t come out easily then it was probably not ready.
If you decide it is time to pull the tooth, there are pointers you need to take note of before pulling a loose tooth.
Tips on how to remove a wiggly tooth
A wiggly tooth may get really uncomfortable especially when chewing or talking, so it may be difficult to wait on it to fall out on its own. Generally, you should not have to pull a loose tooth, but if you want to, here are a few tips:
Loosen it some more by wiggling
Have your child use their tongue or clean fingers to gently shake the tooth back and forth and twist side to side. Do not apply too much pressure to avoid hurting the part of the gum the tooth is attached to. Wiggling too hard can cause pain and bleeding. A little bit of bleeding may be normal as the tooth is loosening.
Keep wiggling the tooth until it has little attachment to the gum, then use the tongue to push it out. This should be easy as long as wiggling is done properly.
Bite on hard or gummy food
A simple bite on hard food substances like nuts can help the tooth fall out. This should be done like your child is eating regularly and not chewing just for the purpose of removing the tooth.
You could also try chewing on candy or gum to help soften the attachment to the gum. Continuous chewing will help the tooth come off.
Use a dental floss
This is one of the easiest options to remove a wiggly tooth. The floss should be used around the corners of the loose tooth until it comes off. Extra care should be used to avoid hurting the gum.
Take a trip to the dentist
The best option when dealing with issues related to the mouth, is to visit the dentist. Your dentist will likely use a medical gauze to pick the tooth out.
This is highly recommended because they will also take extra care in cleaning the affected area to avoid bacterial infection or control the bleeding if there is any.
Pointers to note before pulling your child’s loose tooth
Should you pull out loose baby teeth? While it is advised that you leave the loose tooth, if it ever comes to you pulling it out, study the following pointers below:
- Ensure the tooth is almost completely loose. This is because it may still be attached to the gum and forcefully pulling it will cause further damage.
- Is the tooth painful? If it is, do not take matters into your hands, see your dentist or doctor immediately.
- How will pulling the tooth impact the surrounding area?
- Is it possible that the tooth is loose because of an accident and not a baby tooth trying to fall out?
Should I pull out my child’s loose tooth or visit the dentist?
For health-related matters in general, the best option is to take regular trips to you dentist for regular checks.
The first recommended option is to let your dentist look at the loose tooth because he is trained specially to take care of your oral health. The plus side is that your dentist is only one call or a video chat away, thanks to the internet!
Think about the health implications of trying to pull the tooth out yourself. Only pull your child’s tooth if your dentist gives you a go-ahead. You do not want to inflict pain or cause an infection while trying to pull your child’s loose tooth.
Other Reasons to Consider Pulling A Baby Tooth
There are several reasons why your dentist may consider pulling a baby tooth.
Baby teeth may need to be pulled if there is an infection in the tooth. This could be caused from trauma, tooth decay or sometimes infections just happen for unknown reasons. Tooth extraction of the decayed or decaying tooth may be needed if the cavity is very large to avoid further spread to the neighboring teeth.
The teeth also affect the structure of the face. When a child’s mouth is very crowded, there are times the dentist or orthodontist may wish to have some teeth removed to make more space. This will allow enough room for the permanent teeth to grown in correctly.
There are also cases in which someone might be born with extra teeth, called supernumerary teeth. This will often need to be taken out as well.
So, should you pull a loose baby tooth?
You can leave loose baby teeth in the mouth and let them fall out on their own. If you do this make sure not to let them stay so long that it damages the permanent teeth trying to come in.
Loose baby teeth can be pulled out at home if done safely and the right way. Always make sure the tooth is ready to be pulled out and make sure hands are clean before pulling out baby teeth.
Kelly Hancock, RDH
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.