Pulling out Baby Teeth

There are a lot of ways to handle a loose tooth as a parent, and as a dentist who sees a lot of children in my Orem office, I think I’ve heard everything by now. Some parents are scared to even touch teeth and encourage their children to let them fall out on their own. Other parents can’t wait to get their hands on a loose tooth and summon their inner oral surgeon. On the extreme end of things are parents who come up with crazy tooth pulling techniques and post videos on YouTube in the hopes that their idea might go viral.

Child with a tooth space

So what’s the right thing to do for your child when they have a loose tooth? Here are few suggestions and guidelines from your dentist at Canyon Gate Dental:

  • Let your child decide when the time is right. Also let them wiggle the tooth out on their own if they are comfortable doing so. There is really no harm in letting a loose tooth sit there for a while if your child is nervous, and they are the only ones who really know how much discomfort they are experiencing when rocking and pulling on that baby tooth. I’ve seen parents pull a tooth prematurely, only to leave broken root tips and make a miserable experience for their child. Don’t be that parent.
  • Bleeding isn’t much of an issue at all if you wait for the right time. When a tooth is ready to come out, there might be a little blood, but nothing that can’t be helped with a little piece of gauze (or paper towel in a pinch). Also rest assured that pulled baby teeth do not lead to dry sockets.
  • If a permanent tooth is coming into a weird place, usually in front or in back of a baby tooth, visit the dentist. In these cases, baby teeth often have most of their root still intact and will not be easy or painless to remove at home. These teeth should be numbed to make the experience as comfortable as possible for your child.
  • Sometimes a baby tooth can get pushed in a weird direction by an incoming adult tooth. If this causes a child discomfort, encourage them to wiggle it frequently.
  • Don’t worry if your child swallows a loose tooth. It’s highly unlikely that it will cause choking or any other problem. Sure you child may be a little disappointed, but assure them that the tooth fairy still knows when to make a visit.
  • Apples actually work.

Now enjoy a few video examples of things you probably shouldn’t try at home with your kids (ranked from “Yeah, I’d try that” to “That gives me nightmares.”

-Nicolas K. Young, DMD