Your Child’s First Loose Tooth
The problem is that even though the tooth is loose, it won't necessarily fall out right away. It can be days or weeks before it finally falls out; and the days in between can seem like a lifetime. Here is what to expect with the first loose tooth, and how to help your child deal with the wonderful event!
Losing Baby Teeth
Typically, a child will lose her first tooth around the age of six. This is not a hard, fast guideline. Because some children get their baby teeth early, and will lose them early as well. The tooth may first become loose between the ages of four and five. It is generally thought that girls lose teeth sooner than boys do, according to BetterHealth.gov.
Your child’s teeth will fall out pretty much in the order they came in. She will lose the two bottom incisors, then the two top, and so on. It can take up to six years to lose all of her baby teeth, according to the Mayo Clinic.
What to Expect
Your child will let you know when his tooth is loose. Encourage him to move the tooth around with his tongue and wiggle it, to help loosen the bond between the root and the tooth.
When the tooth does fall out, your child will likely hear a “pop” as the tooth separates from the gum and roots.
Do not encourage him to wiggle it with his hands unless he has thoroughly washed them first. After sufficient wiggling, the tooth will become looser. This process can take days, weeks, and even months in some cases. As long as the tooth and the gums around it are not red or swelling, you should wait until the tooth falls out on its own. When the tooth does fall out, your child will likely hear a pop as the tooth separates from the gum and roots. He will experience some bleeding, so don't be alarmed.
Removing the Tooth Through Force
If your child wants the tooth out, or you are tired of seeing it hanging on by a thread, you can attempt to remove it yourself. With clean hands and a piece of gauze, grasp the tooth and pull. If the tooth does not come out with that first pull, wait a few days. Removing a tooth from the mouth before the roots have dissolved enough can lead to infection.
When to Worry
In general, a loose tooth does not need to be discussed with or addressed by a medical professional. The exceptions are if the tooth is causing extreme discomfort, if the gum area is swollen, or if your child will not allow the tooth to fall out on its own and has stopped eating to avoid using the tooth. There is also some cause for concern if your child stops brushing the loose tooth out of fear; the lack of cleaning can cause infection within the gum.
Once the tooth falls, out you are faced with another dilemma: will the Tooth Fairy be making an appearance?
Be sure to enjoy these moments – this is a major milestone for your little one, and for you too!