Removing Baby Teeth At Home Safely & Painlessly
Children begin losing their baby teeth around the age of 6. However, every child is unique and some may lose their first tooth as early as 4 or 5, or as late as 7 (for more information on the stages of tooth development read our parent’s guide). Regardless, when the time comes for your child to begin discarding their first set of teeth, it’s important to know when it’s safe to pull a baby tooth and how to do so with the least amount of pain. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips and best practices for removing baby teeth at home. Let’s start with the basics.
Can I Remove Baby Teeth By Myself?
The short answer to this question is yes, as long as you’re 100% sure that it’s time for the tooth to come out, and you do it correctly.
Before pulling a loose baby tooth, however, take the time to gauge whether it’s ready to come out. Ask your child if it feels loose enough to pull. How much does it hurt to wiggle? How easy is it to wiggle or how much does it wiggle? If it still hurts to move around, chances are it’s too early to pull. Allowing the roots to fully dissolve and the tooth to fall out on its own is always the best route to take. However, if it is taking longer than usual for the tooth to fall out on its own, follow the best practices below.
How To Remove Baby Teeth
As mentioned earlier, only attempt to remove baby teeth once you’re sure it’s time for them to come out. The child shouldn’t have any problem wiggling or moving the tooth around, and no sharp pain when doing so. If it is time for a tooth to come out, try these methods below.
The easiest way in the book is to simply allow your child to keep wiggling the tooth. They can use their tongue or finger to move the tooth back and forth (only after washing their hands of course). This is a great method because it enables your child to gauge their own pain tolerance and go at their own pace.
Eat An Apple
If you’ve ever been given the advice to take a bite out of an apple to get a tooth to fall out, it’s not the worst idea. It may be slightly painful and the baby tooth may not fall out after just one bite, but it’s not harmful to the oral health of your child – as long as it’s time for the tooth to come out. Eating good, healthy foods that are hard to bite will help further loosen baby teeth and might eventually get one to fall out. Foods that are good for loosening baby teeth include apples, carrots, and celery.
Brush & Floss
Your child should always be brushing and flossing as a general practice of oral hygiene, but it can also help speed along the process of losing a baby tooth. Try having them brush especially well around the loose tooth, making sure to get all sides and angles. Also, flossing around the loose tooth and gently pulling may give the tooth the extra push it needs to fall out.
Use Medical Gauze
If wiggling, eating crunchy foods, and flossing don’t do the trick, you can try pulling the tooth out for your child. We recommend using medical gauze to get a better grip on the tooth and make the process easier. However, make sure to listen to your child and take note of any signs that they may be in excessive pain. If they are experiencing too much pain, then it probably isn’t time to pull the tooth just yet. You can also try giving the child the gauze, and letting them attempt to wiggle the tooth out themselves.
Be Smart & Avoid Gimmicks
We’ve all seen those funny videos on the internet of people pulling teeth in creative ways. Contrary to what you might see online, however, tying a string around your tooth and slamming a door to yank it out isn’t the best idea. Try to avoid the temptation and remember that children’s teeth are fragile and should be treated carefully. Make sure the tooth is loose enough to begin with and don’t do anything that could cause more harm than good. The last thing you want is an unnecessary trip to the dentist or doctor.
Be Patient (Use Ice)
The tooth will come out, no matter how stubborn it is being. It is loose because the adult tooth is pushing up from the gums, which means as it continues to push the baby tooth will come out. Keep on wiggling and the tooth will fall soon! If your child is experiencing pain from the tooth, put some ice on their gum. This will help the pain, making it easier to pull the tooth.
Visit A Pediatric Dentist
For any questions or difficulties related to your child’s baby teeth, contact a pediatric dentist. At Snodgrass-King, you can always give us a call or go online to schedule an appointment. It’s also important to note that once your child starts losing their first set of teeth, it is time to start planning for their future dental needs. If they haven’t already, your dentist will begin looking for signs of whether or not your child will need braces, spacers, or any other type of alignment treatment. They will also look for potential overcrowding, gaps, underbites, or overbites as your child’s adult teeth begin coming in.
How Do Dentists Remove Baby Teeth?
Occasionally, your pediatric dentist will recommend a tooth extraction. These are fairly routine procedures for small children, and a good pediatric dentist should be able to make the procedure easy and minimally painful. Keep in mind that the standard recommendation is to bring your child in for their first dentist visit as soon as their very first tooth comes in. Following that, aside from regular check-ups, you should also bring in your child immediately if you notice anything concerning about their oral health.
Some common reasons for tooth extractions in children are:
- Impacted Wisdom Teeth
- Tooth Decay
- Overcrowding of Teeth
- Large Cavities in Baby Teeth
It’s important to keep an eye out for any concerning dental issues such as these. Since children often have weaker enamel, they can be very prone to cavities and other dental issues at a young age (especially if they struggle with brushing). According to the AAPD, tooth decay affects almost 1 in 5 children under the age of 5 in the US. Any dental issues such as these might result in your dentist recommending to forgo waiting for the tooth to come out on its own and doing an immediate extraction.
During an extraction, your dentist will typically numb the area or administer laughing gas so that your child doesn’t feel any pain throughout their procedure. For a simple extraction, your dentist will likely simply use some local anesthetic and use forceps to carefully pull the tooth out. More complicated procedures that require cutting into the gums might require the use of Nitrous Oxide or general anesthesia.
Although all of this may seem scary at first, keep in mind that a good pediatric dentist has had years of education and experience with tooth extractions. As long as you find a good provider that knows their stuff, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. Encourage your child to ask the dentist questions as well. The more familiar they are with the procedure, the more prepared they will feel.
After-care instructions typically include avoiding hard foods for 24 hours and taking the prescribed pain medication.
Visit Us Today
If you are concerned about any of your child’s baby teeth, feel free to contact us at Snodgrass-King today. One of our pediatric dentists can perform a check-up and walk you through some best practices for dislodging loose baby teeth.
We would also like you to know that our dentists take your, and your child’s well-being very seriously. This includes following the CDC’s guidelines related to COVID-19 and keeping equipment and patient areas as sanitary as possible. We understand the concern you may have regarding COVID-19 and want you to know that we share those concerns and are ensuring your safety in our offices. For more information on what to expect at your next appointment, visit our website here.
We currently offer services across 5 different office locations throughout Middle Tennessee (Mt. Juliet, Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Cool Springs). Our areas of expertise include pediatric dentistry, family orthodontics, and adult dentistry. This means that you can come in for your own dental appointment while your child is sitting down for theirs. Family is important, and we understand that here at Snodgrass-King. That’s why we offer a uniquely family-friendly dental experience. Just come in and give us a try!