What You Should Do About Your Children’s Loose Teeth
The milestone has finally arrived—your child has his or her first loose tooth, and you feel simultaneously excited and nervous. On the one hand, you can’t wait to tell your child about the tooth fairy myth. But on the other hand, you’ve never dealt with a loose tooth before. Sure, you had your own loose teeth as a child, but you may not remember the experience clearly enough to help your own kids.
Below, we’ve given you an outline of what you should do before and after the tooth falls out. This milestone shouldn’t give you anxiety—and if you follow the tips below, it won’t.
What to Do Before the Tooth Falls Out
Some people feel that once a baby tooth comes loose, it doesn't merit care or attention anymore. However, that tooth still needs nurturing until it leaves the mouth. The tooth still connects to the gums, and if it starts to decay, it could affect your child's dental health. Help your child with the following until the tooth falls out:
- Gently brush and floss around the tooth morning and night. The tooth may feel tender, so remind your child to press lightly and use repetition, not pressure to clean the tooth. If your child can’t brush the tooth on his or her own because of maturity or pain, you may have to do it. Floss equally as gently. Flossing may help the tooth fall out faster.
- Use painkillers to manage discomfort. Loose teeth sometimes feel painful. Have your child take an over-the-counter painkiller suitable for his or her age group. Do not exceed the recommended dose. If your child still feels uncomfortable, apply an ice pack.
- Wiggle the tooth gently. Your child should do this on his or her own. If the tooth causes pain, have your child take painkillers before wiggling. Remind your child that wiggling removes the tooth and the pain faster.
- Wash after wiggling. Have your child gently rinse or brush the area after wiggling.
As you help your child with the steps above, tell him or her stories about the tooth fairy (or use your preferred story or reward) as motivation. As he or she anticipates magic and presents, your child won’t feel as anxious about losing a tooth.
How to Painlessly Pull a Tooth
Ideally, you should never pull a tooth for your child. Your child should pull it out by himself or herself. You can’t anticipate when pulling will cause pain, nor can you assess how attached the tooth is the way your child can.
You shouldn’t encourage him or her to pull the tooth prematurely either. Premature pulling can cause bleeding or gum infections. He or she should only pull when the tooth hangs by a thread. Have him or her bite into an apple if the tooth proves stubborn.
However, if the tooth won’t come out no matter how much your child wiggles it or bites with it, take him or her to the dentist. Your dentist has more experience pulling teeth without causing, and he or she can assess the tooth to see if it merits pulling.
But if you find yourself in a situation where you have to pull the tooth yourself, use the following steps:
- Have your child take painkillers.
- Wash your hands. Your hands may contain bacteria that could cause an infection in your child’s mouth.
- Make sure the tooth either hangs by a thread or flops around in the socket. It has reached the point where you can pull it.
- Wrap your fingers in a clean tissue or gauze so you can grip the tooth.
- Grasp the tooth firmly and twist it out. Do not yank it.
- Have your child rinse his or her mouth and apply ice. The ice will reduce swelling.
Monitor the socket closely after pulling to ensure infection doesn’t set in.
What to Do After the Tooth Falls Out
Once you’ve pulled the tooth or it falls out on its own, you still have work to do. First, you have to keep the socket clean and healthy. If it didn’t bleed, encourage your child to brush it gently until the new tooth comes in. If it did bleed, have your kid rinse the area until it heals and then start brushing. Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you have any concerns.
But what do you do with the tooth once it falls out? Many parents choose to throw it away. However, others choose to store it as a keepsake, like locks of hair, baby pictures, etc. While this choice is a lovely sentiment, don’t forget to sterilize the tooth so your keepsake box stays hygienic.
Your child’s first loose tooth represents an important milestone, but it sometimes proves stressful if you don’t know how to manage it. Use the tips above to mitigate your stress. And if you have additional concerns about your children’s dental health, contact your Edmonton dentist today.