A girl who recently lost a baby tooth

Your child’s first loose tooth is a major life event, and there’s plenty of reasons to get excited.

It’s a huge first for your child and their first introduction to the Tooth Fairy, so the anticipation should be palpable.

But many parents have questions and concerns, especially about potential complications with loose teeth.

So in this quick blog, we’ll answer the top FAQs about losing baby teeth.

When do baby teeth fall out?

Generally speaking:

Your child is born with 20 primary teeth… This text opens a new tab to information on erupting baby teeth… (baby teeth), which begin erupting between 6 months and 1 year old.

On average, children begin losing baby teeth around six years old.

If your child starts getting loose teeth before the age of five, contact your dentist.

By age 21, your child will likely have all 32 permanent teeth erupted.

How long does it take for a child’s wobbly tooth to fall out?

Loose teeth take anywhere from a few days to a few months to fall out.

If your child’s loose baby tooth remains in place for more than that, contact their dentist.

Wiggling the tooth can speed up the process, but before you do that, keep reading for some must-know information.

Should I pull out my child’s wobbly tooth?

Pulling a loose tooth before it’s ready to come out on its own can break the root, leaving the gap more susceptible to infection and pooling bacteria.

Unless your child complains of:

  • Extensive pain
  • Swelling in their gums
  • Or stops eating and brushing due to discomfort

There’s not much to worry about during the teething process.

Should a child wiggle a loose tooth?

If your child’s baby tooth is loose, they may gently wiggle it.

But if the tooth isn’t wobbly, prematurely pulling the tooth may cause bleeding, infection, and otherwise preventable pain.

Important reminder:

Encourage your child to brush, floss, and eat as normally as possible with loose teeth.

If they complain about discomfort, ibuprofen before bedtime is an acceptable treatment.

How to pull a baby tooth

If your child’s baby tooth is extremely loose and ready to be pulled out (and your child is asking for help), here is one great method recommended by the American Dental Association… This text opens a new tab to the ADA website…:

What to do after your child’s tooth falls out?

First:

Remain calm and supportive.

It’s natural for bleeding to occur, which may frighten your child.

To help with bleeding, have your child rinse their mouth with warm water. You can also clean the missing tooth area with a damp, warm washcloth.

If this is your child’s first (or second or third) lost baby tooth:

Let them know losing a baby tooth is a perfectly natural and safe process that all humans (and even animals!) experience and a new tooth is on its way to replace it.

Tip: Having the Tooth Fairy visit them is one surefire way to diminish fears and make losing baby teeth exciting.

After that:

Ensure your child continues to brush and floss while taking extra care around the lost tooth area.

Do gums swell when baby teeth fall out?

Some slight tenderness and redness may appear around the area of your child’s lost tooth.

These symptoms should subside shortly, but if it persists or causes any serious pain, contact your dentist.

Should you contact a dentist about a loose baby tooth?

While it’s always wise to seek the advice of a dental professional when it comes to your child’s dental care, the reality is:

Unless your child is experiencing a problem, you don’t need to contact a dentist. Just maintain their routine exams and oral hygiene appointments to monitor their development and oral health.

However:

You should contact a dentist if your child experiences any of the following:

  • Worse-than-usual pain during the teething process
  • Teeth become loose before the age of five
  • Brushing or eating becomes difficult
  • Excess plaque build-up around the tooth, causing the gums to become red, swollen. or inflamed
  • The baby tooth used to be loose but has since become firm again
  • You already see the permanent tooth coming in, but the baby tooth isn’t loose yet

Is your child’s next dental appointment booked?

The ADA advises parents to take their child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday, whichever comes first.

From there, your dentist will advise you on how often your child needs to visit the dentist.

On average, children (and adults!) should visit the dentist at least once every six months for an exam and oral hygiene cleaning.

Need a family dentist in Seattle, WA?

Visit Dr. Veronica Bello at Avila Dental!

We offer comprehensive dental care for your entire family under one roof!

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Our office is located in Seattle, WA and serves surrounding communities, including Northgate, North Seattle, Pinehurst, Maple Leaf, and Victory Heights.


Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2020 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.

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