No, you shouldn’t wiggle a baby tooth—you should have your child wiggle his or her own wiggly teeth! Children are more than capable of pulling out their own loose teeth!
Children losing their “baby” teeth is a natural progression from the toddler stage all the way up to adulthood. In the case of those wiggly baby teeth, it’s imperative that a child or adult (for those kids who are frightened about pulling out their own teeth and those parents who aren’t squeamish about doing it) helps the process along when teeth become loose; this will help avoid the possibility of the permanent teeth growing in behind the baby tooth.
To Pull or Not to Pull
I like to teach kids to “unscrew” their loose teeth. It’s fun for them and can be done while they’re listening to you describe what the tooth fairy might leave, or while reading a book.
Generally, once a tooth becomes loose, it usually takes two to three weeks for the child to get it loose enough to come out easily.
Of course, there are those times when a dentist may need to step in and help with a stubborn baby tooth, and an extraction becomes necessary:
- When the gum tissue surrounding the tooth has become red, swollen or inflamed. Prolonged inflammation of the gum tissue can lead to other gum problems.
- When you can already see the permanent tooth coming in behind the baby tooth, and it doesn’t appear that the baby tooth is loose enough to come out. A baby tooth can force the permanent tooth to become misaligned and crooked if the baby tooth is blocking its path.
- The baby tooth was once loose but has become firm again. This can be caused by excess gum tissue growing into the baby tooth and holding on to it. Sometimes in this case, the tooth can appear a little pink instead of white.
So what’s the going rate these days for a child’s first lost tooth? Parents.com did a recent poll of about 550 readers, and the most popular amount was $1.
~ Dr. Rhea Haugseth