As children get older — usually around 5 or 6 years old — they begin to lose their “baby teeth,” making way for the adult teeth growing underneath. This is an exciting milestone for your little one, and she may be anxious to get those baby teeth out. The best way to remove baby teeth is to wait until the time is right.
Timing It Right
Teeth become loose as the roots dissolve to make room for the adult tooth. It can take two or three months for the tooth to become loose enough to pull out. You do not want to pull the tooth out until it is ready, or your child will have a gap for much longer than normal. You’ll know that it’s ready when it wiggles far back and forth easily and painlessly.
Loosening the Tooth
To get to the point where it’s ready to come out, your child can help loosen the tooth. Have her wiggle it with her tongue or finger as she watches TV or reads a book. You can also serve foods that are difficult to chew, such as apples or corn on the cob, which can increase the tooth’s looseness.
If you try to pull the tooth out as-is, you may have a difficult time because the tooth can be slippery. To get the friction that you need for a good grip, wrap the tooth with gauze. You may have to wipe it a few times first to get rid of any saliva that is moistening the tooth.
When the tooth is ready to come out and you’ve wrapped it with gauze to get a good grip, you should simply have to pull quickly for easy tooth removal. It’s better for the child to do the pulling, since he’s the only one who knows how firmly attached the tooth is. If your child is too scared to do this himself, though, you can do it for him.
The Danger of the String
The classic method of removing baby teeth is to tie a string to the tooth and to a doorknob, then quickly close the door, which pulls the tooth out. This can be an effective method, but it can also bring a lot of pain if the tooth isn’t really ready to come out.