To Yank Or Not To Yank? A Guide For Dealing With Your Child’s Loose Tooth

Written by Eve Bandusena | Parents Avenue’s Editorial Assistant

Image Source: Reader's Digest
Parents face a perennial and universal question when it comes to pulling their child’s loose tooth out. Most of the time, this query presents itself as a multiple-choice question.
 
  1. Letting nature run its course
  2. Intervening in removing your child’s tooth
  3. Having your child’s loose teeth extracted at the dentist

As we address this issue with Dr. Sylvia of Phi Dental, we uncover the conclusive answer to this age-old conundrum.

Most of the time, there’s no need for the dentist.”
 

Dr. Sylvia begins the talk by explaining that baby teeth are meant to fall out on their own to make room for permanent adult teeth.

She continues, “This typically occurs when children are 6 or 7 years old. And it’s common for parents and their kids to make a game out of pulling out loose baby teeth.”

However, parents should be informed that not every baby tooth should be handled by them on their own as different situations will require another set of assistance.

“In certain circumstances, kids will need dentist’s help to pull out a deciduous or baby tooth.” She says.

“That is when permanent tooth has shown the sign of eruption where baby tooth delayed shedding. We call it shark teeth.” Dr. Sylvia explains.

Methods of extraction
 

Dr. Sylvia states, “Baby teeth usually fall out without any help.”  

But in saying that, she additionally adds that there are several other considerations that parents should pay attention to such as prematurely pulling out your child’s baby tooth.

“It’s important to not pull the baby tooth out too early. They help guide adult teeth in and help facial structures like the jaw develop.” She advices.

If a tooth is pulled prematurely, this can affect the placement of one’s adult tooth. Mal-alignment might occur due to loss of eruption space for permanent teeth, as permanent teeth has larger size compare to baby tooth.”

Here are some tips to help your child remove their own tooth:
 
  • Tell them to use their tongue to wiggle the tooth until it comes out.
  • Discourage them from poking the tooth with their hands. It’s easy to accidentally apply too much force to the tooth. Dirty hands can also introduce harmful bacteria into the mouth.
  • Don’t worry about blood. A tooth that comes out when it’s ready won’t bleed too much.
  • Have your child bite down on some gauze. Put gauze on the area quickly so that the blood clots fast. Dampened gauze may be better than dry gauze, which can stick to the area and cause more bleeding when removed.
What is the aftercare process?

 

Dr. Sylvia drops us gems on the aftercare procedure.

  • Have your child bite down on some gauze. Put gauze on the area quickly so that the blood clots fast. Dampened gauze may be better than dry gauze, which can stick to the area and cause more bleeding when removed.
  • Have cold and soft diet after removal of baby tooth. Cold food like ice cream will help to ease the discomfort and stop bleeding immediately.

“Visit your dentist routinely to monitor eruption of the successor permanent tooth.” Dr. Sylvia shares.

“Make sure it has sufficient space for eruption. If it has insufficient eruption space, or mal alignment of permanent tooth occurs due to lack of space, an appointment would be beneficial as the dentist will propose further management, for example removable dental appliances or braces.” She says.

When is it appropriate for parents to intervene?
 

As mentioned, most of the time baby teeth will fall out on its own but under what circumstance should parents or dentist step in and help extract the teeth?

Dr. Sylvia furnished us with several answers.

  • Child’s discomfort. If the tooth isn’t ready to come out yet, it will most likely still be connected to nerves, causing pain. Another indicator the tooth isn’t ready to come out yet is if there is a lot of blood when it’s pulled.
  • Delayed shedding of baby tooth.
  • Early eruption of permanent tooth (double teeth or shark teeth).
  • Grossly decayed baby tooth with present of painful infections. In this situation, the child might have pus discharge from the infected tooth, come along with symptoms like fever, sleeplessness and affected feeding.

Other than that, Dr. Sylvia instructs us to check if your child’s tooth is decaying.

“Bacteria or plaque can spread to nearby teeth if it’s not cleaned or treated.” She warns.

“In many cases, the primary molars (near the back of the mouth) are the most commonly removed because they’re hard to reach with a toothbrush and have more surface area.” Dr. Sylvia says.

Risk attached to pulling out the baby teeth wrong
 

First of all, a loose tooth can cause your child pain and discomfort. You may have the urge to pull it out, but there are a few reasons why that might not be the best idea.

  • Be cautious of which teeth are loose first. The first teeth that come in are usually the first teeth to come out (the front teeth should normally become loose before the back teeth). A loose tooth could be caused by damage to that tooth — for instance, from a nasty fall. If you have concern that a tooth is loose due to something other than natural causes, contact your dentist for an examination.
  • Primary teeth help guide in adult teeth. If a tooth is pulled prematurely, this can affect the placement of one’s adult tooth.
  • Be aware of your child’s discomfort. If the tooth isn’t ready to come out yet, it will most likely still be connected to nerves, causing pain. Another indicator the tooth isn’t ready to come out yet is if there is a lot of blood when it’s pulled.
  • Dirty finger or instrument might cause infection on the extraction site and delayed healing.

Dr. Sylvia additionally adds in.

“I will advise parents not to attempt extractions at home by using dirty instruments like nail clipper or sharps.” She says.

 “It is dangerous, can injure the kids during the procedure or causing infections to the oral cavity due to bacteria transmitted through non-sterile instruments.”

 

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. At Parents Avenue, we strongly recommend all our readers to seek medical advise from your local hospital or clinic. Thank you. 

For more information, you may contact Dr Sylvia at Phi Dental at 013-410 3103 or find them on Facebook via Phi Dental. To visit Phi Dental in person, they’re located at Lot 2-33, second floor Suria Sabah Shopping Mall, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

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