When Should I Pull My Child’s Tooth?

This is a question we hear from parents of six to twelve year old children because that’s the age that it seems like kids are losing teeth all the time.  If you get lucky, your child may want to pull his or her own teeth.  If you are really lucky, the teeth will just fall out while the child is eating, and you don’t even have to think about it.

If you are not quite that lucky, though, you may be called upon to pull one or more of your child’s teeth.  Here is what you need to know in order to do it the right way.

When to Pull Your Child’s Tooth

The “when” is important!  If you attempt to pull your child’s tooth too early, you can cause pain and totally freak your kid out.  This can make every subsequent extraction attempt a real battle.  If you wait too long, the loose tooth can allow bacteria to buildup underneath and around it, causing gum swelling and pain in the area.

When your child tells you that his tooth is loose, ask him to show you by “wiggling” it with his or her tongue.  Using the fingers can give a false sense of looseness, and it can be difficult to see with fingers in the way.  A tooth that is loose enough to be pulled should visibly move at least 4-5 millimeters in one direction with tongue pressure alone.   If you do not see this much movement, keep waiting and give your child lots of apple slices to bite into.

Any tooth that has visibly changed positions and seems to stick out at an awkward angle is probably ready to pull.

How to Pull Your Child’s Tooth

If you are the designated tooth puller in your household, these are some good steps to follow for a relatively quick and painless tooth-pulling experience.

  • First, make sure you keep some Anbesol or Orajel in the medicine cabinet. These mild numbing gels can make the process a little easier on your child.  After confirming that the tooth is ready to pull, use a clean Q-tip to rub a small amount of the numbing gel on the gums around the loose tooth.
  • Cover it with a small gauze pad or clean paper towel and let sit for about thirty seconds to a minute. Watch your child because this will probably cause some drooling.
  • Then, using another clean gauze pad or small piece of paper towel, grasp the tooth and quickly twist. This twisting motion breaks any gum attachment to the loose tooth.
  • Place another clean gauze pad or small piece of paper towel over the gums, which will probably bleed.
  • Give your child a popsicle for cooperating!

If no one in your house has the stomach for pulling baby teeth, give us a call.  We can help you with any teeth that refuse to fall out on their own.

More Questions about Loose Baby Teeth?

Call 940-382-1750 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning.  He can answer any questions you have about baby teeth and give you additional tips on how to pull them.


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