A loose baby tooth is a milestone worth celebration, especially if it’s your child’s first one. Your pediatric dentist at Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo, Mill Creek, and Everett, Washington understands how tempting it is to pull a loose baby tooth at home. After all, you want to make sure your child is happy, and loose teeth can be uncomfortable.
We understand that it’s tempting to pull loose baby teeth, but removing teeth before they’re ready can damage your child’s dental health. Here are a few important oral health tips to help you pull your child’s loose baby tooth in the safest way possible.
What are baby teeth?
Within your child’s first year of life, their first baby tooth erupts. These primary teeth, also called milk teeth, are temporary. They serve as a guide for your child’s permanent teeth, which begin arriving around age 6. A small child’s mouth and jaw aren’t large enough to comfortably hold a full set of erupted permanent teeth.
Why Children Need Healthy Baby Teeth
That’s why it’s so important to take care of baby teeth. When baby teeth aren’t healthy, they can fall out too early. The permanent teeth soon to take their place may not be ready to erupt yet. Eventually, your child’s teeth start to shift, causing the soon-to-erupt permanent tooth to lose its place. This can lead to a number of complications, including:
- Tooth decay (cavities)
- Gum disease
- Malaligned teeth
- Malocclusion (a bad bite)
Without proper alignment, teeth become crooked. This leaves teeth prone to cracks and breaks. A poor bite can even lead to bruxism (teeth grinding) or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
When to Pull Baby Teeth
In most instances, pulling baby teeth can do more harm than good. When baby teeth are ready to come out, their roots gradually dissolve. If you pull them out too early, the roots may not be fully dissolved. Not only can this be painful for your child, it can also lead to lasting consequences, such as:
- Malaligned teeth
- Gum tissue damage
- Painful chewing
The best practice is to wait until the tooth comes out on its own. However, we understand how difficult it can be to wait.
A tooth is typically ready to come out if it’s hanging out of the cavity. That means you should be able to see most of the gum tissue that secures the root portion of the tooth. When you gently wiggle the tooth, it shouldn’t hurt your child because the root is dissolved enough to be pulled. Teeth that are ready to come out also shouldn’t cause any bleeding.
How to Pull Baby Teeth
While milk teeth are generally best left untouched, you can pull them safely if they’re absolutely ready to come out. Simply twist it gently with sanitized hands and it should come right out. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably not ready.
Make sure your child doesn’t experience any pain, redness, or swelling after the tooth is gone. These symptoms are signs of infection and require emergency care.
For more tips on how to safely pull baby teeth, call Stellar Kids Dentistry or schedule an appointment online today.