Why You Shouldn’t Pull Out A Loose Baby Tooth

It's perhaps a bit weird that children can be excited about a stranger breaking into their home and then sneaking into their bedroom while they sleep. But isn't this basically what the Tooth Fairy does? In fact, the Tooth Fairy is going to visit your child multiple times, although by the last few teeth, your child might no longer believe in their mystical nighttime visitor, which at least saves you a few bucks. Unless a baby tooth is accidentally knocked out, you always get some advance warning of the Tooth Fairy's visit, with the baby tooth loosening before detaching. But what happens when that loosening appears to take too long? Should you ever jump the gun and pull out a baby tooth?


The shedding of baby teeth and their subsequent replacement by adult teeth is a process known as tooth exfoliation. Baby teeth (also known as primary or deciduous teeth) loosen and eventually detach because their anchor (the root structure holding each tooth in place) is being dissolved by the emerging adult tooth beneath it. Once a tooth becomes loose, it can detach in a matter of days, although it's common for the process to take longer.


While it's loose, it's almost unavoidable for your child not to be curious about this new development, and this curiosity can lead your child to touch the tooth, either with their finger or by pushing their tongue against it. This doesn't generally cause any harm and can aid the natural process of exfoliation. However, your child shouldn't be encouraged to actively tug at the tooth, as this can result in complications.


These complications are generally limited to soft tissue damage at the margin of the prematurely extracted tooth. The gum tissues can become torn, which will be painful and can result in excessive bleeding. A small amount of blood is to be expected when the tooth is naturally lost, but this will quickly subside. It's a less common issue, but the ideal spacing of your child's permanent teeth can sometimes be adversely affected by pulling the tooth out before it's ready.


Still, it can be awfully tempting to just firmly grasp that loose tooth before giving it a decisive pull. Avoid this temptation. If the process seems to be taking an excessive amount of time, you may wish to investigate the matter, as the loose tooth will cause problems with chewing during these last stages of the exfoliation process. If you're concerned, contact your family dentist for assistance. If necessary, the tooth can be professionally extracted, avoiding soft tissue damage.

Sometimes a loose baby tooth needs some assistance to come out, but that assistance needs to be professional.