Baby teeth are essential for setting the stage for adult teeth and enabling proper speech skills and chewing during your child's early years. When it's time for them to be replaced by adult teeth, it is vital that you get the process of removing them right so as to prevent injury and pain.
Here are simple tips on how and when to pull out your child's baby teeth.
Ensure the tooth is loose
Typically, most kids will start losing their front teeth at around the age of six. It is important that a baby tooth is completely loose before it is pulled out so as to prevent pain and bleeding. As the underlying adult tooth push upwards, it causes the baby tooth to become increasingly loose and easier to pull out. However, it is essential that you give the tooth time to come loose gradually instead of yanking it out of its socket while it is still firm.
Encourage your child to gently wiggle a loose tooth with their tongue or finger so as to make it looser over time. You should also periodically feel the tooth by holding it with a clean cloth so as to assess how loose it is. In some cases, the tooth may fall out naturally during a meal, so it is best to give it time.
How to pull
Once the tooth is extremely loose and probably dangling in the socket, then the time is right to pull it out. At this point, the roots of the baby tooth are essentially reabsorbed into the mouth, and the tooth only hangs by a small amount of tissue. Before proceeding, ensure that the child feels no pain when the tooth is touched and there is no bleeding in the area.
Next, hold the tooth with a clean cloth and pull quickly and firmly with a twisting motion. If there is any bleeding in the area, you should place a wet gauze on the soft tissue and apply pressure.
Failure to pull out a tooth that is very loose could pose a choking risk if it falls out when the child is sleeping. In case a baby tooth stubbornly remains intact as the underlying tooth emerges, have it checked by a dentist, as it may need to be removed surgically.
Children are often very excited about tooth loss, so you can use this time to make them more aware of the need for dental hygiene and get them involved in safely pulling their baby teeth out.