I can remember being about seven years old and I had a loose baby tooth. I was being whiney and refused to wiggle it. “It hurts”, I complained.
My grandmother had raised 5 children and so she had pulled many baby teeth by the time I was shedding my deciduous teeth. “Just let me see it”, she coaxed.
“No, it hurts.” In hindsight I could be quite bratty. I don’t remember the pain at all.
“Just let me see it. I won’t do anything but wiggle it”, she assured me.
“You’re gonna pull it, and it’s gonna hurt.” I was petulant.
“No. I’m just going to wiggle it. I promise”. My grandmother was a wise and patient woman.
I think we all know how this tale ends. Sure enough, I finally let her ‘just wiggle it’. Magically, and painlessly the tooth appeared in her hand.
We have a lot of first time moms call our office. They are often concerned when their first born has a loose tooth and the child complains that it hurts. Children complain because it does hurt. The tooth is attached to soft tissue that is being agitated. It’s uncomfortable, they are essentially teething again.
Another condition that alarms first time moms is “shark teeth”. This is when a child’s adult teeth come in behind their baby teeth. This creates two rows of teeth as you can see in the photo below.
I got this photo from http://www.oralanswers.com/2010/10/adult-permanent-teeth-coming-in-behind-baby-teeth-shark-teeth/ which is part of a great article I found online that talks about losing baby teeth.
I have often thought that we could make a fortune by alarming first time moms and recommending that they come in to our office every time they have a loose tooth concern. What we do is tell mom to tell the child to wiggle it. If the child seems very uncomfortable try a little Anbesol, and wiggle- wiggle- wiggle; most of the time the tooth comes out at home, for free, without a problem.
Don’t get me wrong, there are cases when a baby tooth should be pulled by a dentist. It’s unusual but it happens. Occasionally a baby tooth will have a very long root that does not resorb normally, and it blocks the adult tooth from coming in. Sometimes the baby tooth is infected and needs to be treated by a dentist. Please know that we are always happy to see your child anytime you have a concern.
Dr. Urban recommends that you bring your child in for their first visit when they get teeth. We like to see them yearly until they are about five years old or so, then every six months. We can keep an eye on the developing teeth and make sure that things are progressing normally. If things are progressing normally when a baby tooth becomes loose, wiggle- wiggle- wiggle, and then call the tooth fairy. I think she’s leaving a few bucks in change nowadays. She’s far more affordable than a dental visit.