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My 5 year old is starting to have some teeth become loose. Specifically her lower two front teeth. I just noticed today that one of them is really loose. However, I don't know how loose it should be before pulling it out.

I'm also curious about how to pull them (or should I just let them fall out, which seems bad). My father pulled mine with pliers but I think my wife would freak out if I tried to do that.

So, how loose is lose enough and how to pull them out (technique, tools, etc.).

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4  
Had to be posted: penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/12/08 –  deworde Apr 12 '13 at 16:08
    
Here is the reason why you shouldn't pull the teeth out (taken from wikipedia): "If any primary teeth are shed or lost before permanent teeth are ready to replace them, some posterior teeth may drift forward and cause space to be lost in the mouth.[13] This may cause crowding and/or misplacement once the permanent teeth erupt, which is usually referred to as malocclusion. Orthodontics may be required in such circumstances for an individual to achieve a functioning and esthetic dentition." –  user6139 Nov 21 '13 at 11:35
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4 Answers

up vote 20 down vote accepted

You should only let the child pull it out themselves (or leave it to fall out when it is ready if the child doesn't want to pull it). If you try to pull it out you may cause pain or injury to the child.

Edit to add: letting it fall out by itself is fine - what would be bad about that? The more ready it is, the less pain and bleeding there will be.

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I've heard that if you wait, the new teeth will start to come in crooked (like through the side of the gum). Now, I don't know if that's true but in this culture (in Asia) they have some anecdotal evidence (incuding some from this year) that this happens. –  DrJ Apr 12 '13 at 14:21
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Ah, OK. If that happens, normally the baby tooth is not wobbly like a normal wobbly tooth. If the adult tooth starts to become visible behind or beside the existing baby tooth which has not fallen out, you should consult a dentist: oralanswers.com/2010/10/… but if the child has a wobbly tooth and the adult teeth are not yet visibly erupted, just leave it and don't worry. –  Vicky Apr 12 '13 at 14:30
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@DrJ, my sister had some teeth come in through the side of the gum because the baby teeth didn't come out, but they never got loose enough to pull except by a dentist. If they're loose enough for a parent to pull, they're loose enough for the permanent teeth to push out naturally. –  Karl Bielefeldt Apr 12 '13 at 14:31
    
Thanks for everyone's advice, the tooth came out last night. The key was my child tongue-poking it continually until, voila, out it came. –  DrJ Apr 14 '13 at 2:32
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I have always encouraged my kids to wiggle their teeth as much as they can once they become loose. And once they get really loose, they have come up with various ways to speed them on their way, from chewing toffee or apples, through to pliers or string.

This is as a direct result of my eldest accidentally swallowing one in his sleep and finding its passage uncomfortable :-/

I have offered my services with the pliers if necessary, but they'd rather do it themselves.

Being excited about the 50p they'll get from the tooth fairy probably helps as well...

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My eldest accidentily swallowed it while eating (a local variant of) a hotdog. –  SQB Feb 13 at 14:04
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If you are able to wiggle it back and forth pretty far it's good to go. however, let your kid work on it. I usually waited and pushed it back and forth to provide tearing in the gums from the tooth root until an edge became unhooked. Then I would get floss and tie a loop hooking it onto the exposed edge and then either have my dad or myself pull it out suddenly or unexpectedly. My dad would count to three but always pull it on one or two.

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Make them eat apples. I found this to be the best way to make my teeth fall out (especially the front ones). Good strong apples are both good for health and powerful enough to cause a lose tooth to get lodged in them. If a tooth is not loose enough to be pulled out by an apple then it shouldn't be pulled at all. Additionally losing a tooth while eating an apple is completely painless and most of the time you do not even realize that the tooth came out until much later. So the kids will not be even terrified.

So do not rush and just give them an apple a day :P

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