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What to Expect When Your Child has a Loose Tooth

August 30, 2016
Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann

A kid’s first loose tooth can be pretty exciting. Once they realize it’s loose, they may want to wiggle it all day long and show their friends and family members. Other kids might be a little freaked out by the idea of a tooth falling out, and you may need to reassure them that it won’t hurt. Either way, it’s a natural process that happens to everyone, and an important milestone to remember.
Generally, a child’s teeth will fall out in the same order they came in. That means that the lower center incisors they were so cute with at six months, will be the first ones that feel wiggly when they are six or seven. After those, the top center pair will follow suit. Some kids will get a loose tooth as early as age 4 and as late as age 8. If you’re worried about them losing teeth too early or late, there’s probably nothing to worry about but check with your child’s dentist just in case.

When a child has a loose tooth, it means that their permanent tooth below it has pushed up to start to take its place. Encourage them to gently wiggle the tooth, but make sure they don’t pull it out before it’s ready. If they do, they could damage the root and be at risk for infection.

If your child continues to wiggle the tooth, it will fall out painlessly when it’s ready. Resist the urge to pull the tooth. Since your child can feel the tooth and if there is any pain, they will be more cautious when handling it. Pain signals that the root has not yet completely dissolved and the tooth is not ready. Your child will know when pulling it out won’t hurt, and they’ll know it’s time.

You may be worried that the tooth will fall out at an inconvenient time and your child might swallow the tooth. Don’t worry. That rarely happens, and when it does, it’s harmless. If the tooth is really wiggly, you can grab a tissue and rotate the tooth to see if it comes out that way. But never yank on it.

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