Losing baby teeth is a rite of passage in a young child’s life. Sometimes it can be difficult for the child or the parents to wait for the pesky tooth to fall out on its own. Removing a child’s baby teeth is only necessary if the tooth is hanging nearly out of the socket. The looser the tooth is, the more likely the process will be painless. Pulling it too early can be painful and may cause infection.
Teaching your young child about the tooth fairy can make the tooth losing process exciting, if the child is scared. Typically, when a child has older siblings, they can hardly wait to lose a tooth and have the tooth fairy make a visit. If they do not have an older sibling to mentor them about the tooth fairy, there are several good quality children’s books about the tooth fairy. After children learn that the tooth fairy leaves money or gifts (or whatever your family tradition is) under their pillow; in a glass or a special tooth holder, they will be wiggling their teeth on their own hurrying up the process. Here are some ideas about how to help your child lose their baby teeth while being safe and making it a celebration or important life passage.
Tooth Fairy to the Rescue: The Tradition
When the time comes and a child really has a lose tooth, this is a great day! It is a sign that your child is moving out of one phase of life and moving into another. Many cultures have different traditions that go along with the loosing of baby teeth and the entry of adult teeth. When your child is aware their tooth is lose, is a good time to talk to them about the tradition of your culture and to help your child become excited about this special passage.
The tooth fairy is a common tradition, but one that plays out in different ways with different families. If your tooth fairy looks for baby teeth under a pillow, you may want to make a special tooth pillow to put under your child’s pillow. Some families put the baby tooth in a glass by the bed that has the special gift inside it when the child wakes up in the morning.
Be sure, your child understands the specialness of this developmental milestone before they actually get a loose tooth. This way they will be prepared for the event and excited it is happening.
Tooth Fairy to the Rescue: Pulling Baby Teeth
There are a few things a parent can do to help their child as they go through the process of losing their first tooth. Below are some suggested steps for pulling your child’s first tooth and maybe others as well.
1. Talk to your child about how to wiggle their tooth around in their mouth with their tongue first to help loosen it.
2. If you decide it is time to help get that pesky tooth out, be sure and wash hands with soap and water before starting the pulling process.
3. If you are really worried about the process being painful, a topical numbing agent like teething gel can be applied to the gum beforehand.
4. Grip the loose tooth between your thumb and index finger using a piece of gauze.
5. Pull the tooth out gently and quickly. If the tooth doesn’t come out easily with one tug, then leave it a few days and try again. Talk to your child again about using their tongue to wiggle the lose tooth around.
6. Use gauze to soak up any excess blood.
7. Apply ice to the gum if they continue to bleed.
8. Once the tooth is out it is celebration time.
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