There comes a point in most parent’s lives when they are faced with a child who has a loose baby tooth but won’t pull it out! It usually hurts and is a big to do! So what do you do? The way I see it you’ve got about three main options.
- Don’t do anything – Most baby teeth will come out on their own eventually. Sure it will hurt until it comes out. This is a normal childhood experience. Use it as a teachable moment?
- Get the dentist to take it out. – Please don’t do this! It is unnecessarily expensive and traumatic for the child. I believe a dentist should only take out a baby tooth when there is a real dental reason to do so (such as in the rare situation that the permanent tooth comes in in a different direction and doesn’t push the baby tooth out).
- You take it out for them… Please don’t tie a string to it and slam a door. My dad literally did this when I was kid. I still remember this vividly and not in a warm fuzzy kind of way! I’m still not sure how I became a dentist after that experience. I’m going to teach you how to do this quickly and effectively. Before you do this, please make sure the tooth is really loose. A good rule of thumb is if the kid can push the tooth back and forth with their tongue then it is about ready to come out.
Step 1: Preparation!
Get some Orajel (or any other topical anesthetic containing 20% benzocaine) and rub it on the gums all around the tooth. Let it sit there for 2 minutes for the best effect. Also, distract your kid with the TV or Ipad or whatever. Whatever your feeling on kids and electronic devices, this is definitely a good use of it. Did you know your kid’s brain on television is the same as if they are hypnotized?
Step 2: Get A Good Hold on the Tooth!
Use a tissue or whatever else works to get a good hold on the tooth. Getting a good hold is the hardest part because baby teeth are so tiny!
Step 3: Twist!
Twist the tooth sharply (you’ve got to commit or this won’t work) clockwise or counterclockwise. If the first turn doesn’t do it, twist the other direction. A truly loose tooth will pop right out as soon as you do this. Whatever you do, don’t pull straight up. This is a sure way to loose your grip on the tooth and not get the tooth out.
Step 4: Admire the shocked look on your kid’s face that the tooth is out already
This is my favorite part. Most kids will look at you in amazement and say “That’s it?!? We should have just done that in the first place!”. I then ask for half of the money from the tooth fairy as payment 🙂
How do I know this will work? Other than being a general dentist, I’m literally an expert baby tooth remover. I’ve got four kids of my own and I’ve probably taken out a thousand baby teeth on other kids in my career. I can pop a baby tooth out in a half second with a good hold and twist!