What do you do when your child has a loose baby tooth?
One of the biggest rites of passage for children is starting to lose their baby teeth. However, amid all the excitement of growing up, there are some important things parents should keep in mind.
When will my child start to lose his baby teeth?
Children begin to start losing their first set of teeth around age 6 or 7, but since all kids are different, your child may be younger or older when it first happens. Make sure your child continues to see his or her dentist regularly to avoid missing any signs of infection or other problems that could delay baby teeth coming loose.
Typically, the first teeth to fall out are the ones that came in first, so the lower front teeth and then the upper front teeth will become loose first. A baby tooth usually doesn’t loosen until the permanent tooth under it has started to push the baby tooth out of the socket. Once it starts to loosen, it can take up to a few weeks to fall out. As long as you don’t see any redness or swelling around the gums of the tooth, it’s best to leave things alone and let the process happen on its own. When it happens, you’ll probably hear a “pop” sound — this is the baby tooth separating from the gum and roots.
What if my child’s tooth is loose from an injury, like falling?
If this happens, take your child to the dentist as soon as possible to check the stability of the baby tooth, as well as ensure there’s no infection or damage to the permanent tooth underneath.
Also, if your child has a loose tooth that is “out of order” (like a back tooth before front teeth have come out), or it just seems too early for your child to be losing a tooth, play it safe by taking your child to the dentist. A quick exam can determine if there’s any reason to worry.
Can we pull the tooth out? Will a loose tooth hurt my child?
The best thing to do with a loose tooth is to let nature take its course and wait for it to fall out on its own. It can be wiggled (we all did it as kids, remember?), but generally, it shouldn’t be pulled on because it can lead to infection.
Let your child know that when the tooth comes out, there might be a little tingling and some bleeding (this will vary from child to child), but that everything will be OK and the pain and blood should end quickly. Make sure your child rinses his or her mouth with water, and hold a damp towel in their mouth if it hurts. This will help stop the bleeding. If the pain continues, use an over-the-counter anesthetic, called an oral analgesic. If the pain and bleeding don’t stop after about an hour, you should talk to your child’s dentist.
My child swallowed a loose tooth. Will that make her sick?
Nope. A loose tooth will pass through the body like everything else.
When will the permanent teeth come in?
Permanent teeth should start showing within a few weeks, but they won’t fully grow in for a few more months. If you see that a new tooth is growing in discolored or crooked, talk to your child’s dentist.
What’s the most important thing about losing a tooth?
Losing a tooth is a big deal for your child – so make sure it’s a good memory! Check out these cool Tooth Fairy perks on our website that you can download to use at home:
- Lost tooth certificate from the Tooth Fairy
- First tooth letter from the Tooth Fairy
- Baby tooth traditions around the world (a fun way to learn about children in other countries)
- My Very Loose Tooth (a book about Kayla, who is ready to lose her first tooth)
- Baby pacifiers: Pros and cons
- Sealants can stop cavities before they begin
- 5 ways to pack your kids a healthier lunch
Published: June 2018