Should I Pull a Baby Tooth Out or Just Leave It Alone?

Pulling a baby tooth guide for Marietta parents
Image Credit – DONOT6_STUDIO/

Baby teeth (also known as deciduous teeth) first become visible at around six months of age. As a leading provider of family dental services in Marietta, we frequently hear from parents with questions about their child’s primary teeth. Parents want to know if their child’s baby teeth are developing on track, how to conduct proper oral hygiene, plus other common concerns. But above all else, the main question is what to do when a child’s wobbly tooth just will not fall out by itself.

Every child waits eagerly in anticipation for their wobbly tooth to finally be able to be exchanged for a little cash. They are ready to get that tooth out at any cost. But as a parent, it can sometimes be tough to tell whether you should pull that baby tooth or leave it be. Sometimes issues such as impending adult teeth or gum discomfort can arise.

Parents want the very best for their child, but sometimes it can be hard to make medical decisions without a professional opinion. This is where your Shining Smiles dentist comes in. Our trained professionals are ready and trusted to provide a professional opinion on your baby tooth dilemma.

Typically, most dentists recommend letting the baby teeth fall out naturally. Although those last few days of a tooth that seems so ready can be annoying to your child, gentle care and patience can go a long way.

Maybe an incentive from the tooth fairy could do the trick, as well. However, baby teeth are meant to fall out, and once the tooth is loose enough, it is okay to go ahead and make the move.

Many methods have developed over the years for pulling a tooth, but dentists recommend a simple method. So in the cases when your dentist has authorized you to pull the baby tooth out yourself, how can we handle this properly?

Using a clean tissue or gauze is highly recommended in order to keep it sanitary and allow a stronghold on the tooth. Chances are your child has already done most of the loosening on their own with their tongue or fingers. The tooth should be loose enough to pull it out with a quick twist.

The process is simple and easy for the most part, but sometimes fears or issues may arise. Here are some common questions asked by parents of young children concerning their baby teeth.

What Should My Child Know About Pulling Their Own Teeth? And How Long Should Baby Teeth Stay In?

Some recommendations for a smooth process include:

  • The tongue is the best tool – Encourage your child to use their tongue to loosen the tooth and prepare it to fall out naturally.
  • Fingers are not recommended – While it can be tempting, try to discourage your child from using their fingers or hands to loosen a tooth. Our hands are strong and could create too much force. In addition, children touch many dirty surfaces throughout the day and touching teeth with dirty hands can introduce bacteria that can lead to harmful developments in the tooth or mouth.
  • It is okay if it bleeds – Blood after pulling a tooth can be alarming to children or parents. But this is a natural part of the process. It should not last long if the tooth was ready to come out. The gum will heal quickly.

There are also different groups of teeth and recommendations for each. We know this can be overwhelming and intimidating to a new parent. You can refer to this website to learn about when baby teeth come in.

What if There Is Pain While Pulling a Baby Tooth?

Sometimes, the patience wears out a little too soon. Even when the tooth looks and seems ready to come out, occasionally the roots have not fully dissolved yet. Pulling out a tooth that isn’t quite ready can lead to pain and discomfort.

If the pain is persistent and severe, always contact your dentist. However, most cases are minor and can be soothed with some simple remedies.

Some solutions to pain due to pulling a baby tooth prematurely include:

  • Avoiding hot food or drink while the pain or numbness persists
  • Eating soft foods for 24 hours after the tooth is pulled
  • Avoiding brushing that area for a few days
  • Rinsing the mouth gently with salt water
  • Taking over-the-counter pain meds, such as Advil, provided your child’s doctor is okay with that decision

When Should I Let the Dentist Pull a Baby Tooth?

In rare cases, you will need your dentist to extract the baby tooth instead of letting it fall out naturally. These cases include:

  • Tooth decay – This should be addressed by a dentist and the decaying tooth should be removed as quickly as possible to ensure that it does not spread or affect other elements of the child’s oral health.
  • Space management – Sometimes the dentist will need to make room in the mouth for further orthodontic treatment, which means sometimes baby teeth need to be extracted prematurely.
  • The adult teeth are coming in on top – Occasionally, adult teeth will grow on top of stubborn baby teeth that are not ready to fall out. In this case, the baby teeth will need to be extracted by a dentist.

Losing teeth is an exciting step in childhood. It’s always helpful to know how to properly address these steps and know what is normal and what is not.

As always, your Shining Smiles dentist is here for you and your child. Contact our office today with further questions or if any issues arise. Until then, enjoy these milestones and make way for the tooth fairy!

Visit Marietta’s Trusted Family Dental Office

Shining Smiles Family Dentistry provides expert dental care and treatment for adults and children of all ages. We offer oral care services ranging from dental cleaning and oral exams to fillings, sealants and more. To visit our Marietta dental practice call (770) 420-8550, or request a dental appointment today.


When Children Begin to Lose Their Baby Teeth From American Academy of Pediatrics
When to Pull a Loose Tooth by Colgate
How Do I Pull Out My Child’s Baby Tooth by Healthline
Dental Health and Your Child’s Teeth by WebMD

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