You’ve seen the videos. The string tied to the loose tooth. The other end tied to something that moves fast – a rocket, a slamming door, a javelin … count to three, then let ‘er rip and out she goes! While these techniques make for some great cinema, they might not always be the best route to emancipating that wiggly little friend. There are three questions you need to ask to answer before you prepare that tooth for the tooth fairy.
Should the tooth in question be loose right now?
Baby teeth come and go on a fairly routine schedule that corresponds to our age. So, knowing which teeth should be loose and which shouldn’t can help you in determining whether you should intervene, or leave your kids’ teeth alone. In the dental world, we call the arrival of a tooth an “eruption.” Here’s a handy dandy dental eruption chart from The American Dental Association you can print that’ll help keep you in the loop as those teeth start loosening up. If the tooth in question corresponds to the age timeline, than allowing it to get progressively looser until it’s ready to fall out should be your plan.
But how loose is “loose”?
You’ll never know. But you know who will? Your child. Think of a tooth like a hangnail … would you rather yank it or clip it on your own, or have someone else do it for you? Pain is specific to the individual, and no amount of assuming will ever get you close to understanding how much, or how little, pain your child is experiencing. So if weeks have gone by and your kid is ready to get that sucker out of there, let THEM do the yanking.
A good rule of thumb is to look for considerable back and forth movement, if your child has been fiddling with a loose tooth for weeks and can move it back ’n forth and sideways with little to no discomfort, and they feel comfortable wanting to get rid of it, allow them to try. Nine times out of ten, the tooth will fall out on its own, though, so you can just wait if you’d like.
How should we pull it out?
Believe it or not, there really is no single “correct” way to do it. When a tooth is ready to come out, it really won’t take that much effort to remove it, and that’s why you hear so many creative stories about how people finally lost their baby teeth. A little fun goes a long way! Would you like a few ideas? Check out these videos of kids gearing up for that inevitable moment! If you’d rather do it without a rocket attached, here’s a good guide to follow as well.