How to Pull Out a Child's Tooth

When we think about pulling a child's tooth, many of us tend to overthink the process. Remember, children's teeth falling out is a natural part of growing up. In fact, we lose about 20 teeth before we enter our teen years at around 12 years old.
It happens to all of us, and so the process of how to pull a child's tooth doesn't have to be overly complicated. There are methods to pulling a child's tooth that are safe and typically to be pain-free. On the other hand, there are definitely some ineffective ways to pull a child's tooth that could be both painful and damaging.
While pulling a tooth doesn't have to be rocket science, there is a right way to do it to avoid a traumatizing experience. Check out our easy five-step method of how to pull a child's tooth with crucial tips on what not to do during the process.

How to Pull Out a Child's Tooth

Analyze the Situation

First, you need to determine if the tooth is even ready to be pulled. It's easy for parents and guardians to see a wiggly tooth and accidentally cause pain by pulling a tooth that isn't ready to come out. If the tooth is wiggly and seems to be "hanging on by a thread," then it is safe to pull.
If the tooth is just slightly loose but still feels as though it is firmly set in place, it's probably not quite ready. In this case, let the tooth sit for another day or so to ensure the pulling is painless. You'll know when it is ready when you can see the tooth clearly tilt and separate some from the gums.

Clean the Area

Did you know that "More than 600 types of bacteria thrive in your oral cavity"? Once you pull the tooth, there will be a small wound that should heal in the next 2-3 days. Therefore, you'll want to make sure the site is cleaned before you go in to pull the tooth.
Have your child rinse their mouth out with mouthwash or even warm salt water. This will allow them to swish out any harmful germs and ensure no infections or irritation set in.

Numb With Ice

Icing the area will numb your child's lips and gums, which will result in less pain when the tooth is finally pulled. Children typically like the cool feeling of ice or cold packs on their faces. However, if you're having trouble keeping them focused on icing their mouth, you can offer an ice cube to suck on. If you're lucky, they'll bite down on the ice cube and dislodge the tooth on their own.
If your child is upset or nervous about having their tooth pulled, avoid shaming them for their heightened emotions. This is something they haven't experienced before, and the anticipation can be quite scary.
Instead, let them know that the steps you are taking will alleviate their pain. You can also explain to them how you decided their tooth was ready to be pulled in the first place. Rather than invalidating their fears, level with them and let them know that it may hurt a little but no more than a pinch.

Be Calm but Quick

When it's finally time to pull, use a tissue or a small square of paper towel to grip the loose tooth. Depending on the child's demeanor, you can offer a countdown or a simple distraction while you gently twist the tooth and pull upwards.
In this step, it's vital for you to be calm and fast about pulling the tooth. Your child is probably anticipating the worst-case scenario, and it's your job to show them that having a baby tooth pulled isn't something to be upset about.
Making this a peaceful experience will help them approach future instances with less anxiety. On the flip side, if their first tooth extraction is painful and stressful, it only makes sense that they will anticipate that energy going forward.

Rinse and Celebrate

Believe it or not, this is the most important moment of the entire process. Having a tooth pulled can be quite unnerving for some children. Therefore, it's important to celebrate their bravery and to make a fun occasion out of losing a tooth.
At the same time, it's essential that you set up your child for successful future tooth pulls by making it a joyful memory versus one of pain, shame, or fear. Allow them to rinse their mouth out with some warm salt water and refrain from making any remarks about their new toothless appearance.
Remember, many children go through phases where they are very concerned and self-conscious about their appearance. Making them feel as though they look "funny" or even extremely different can give them a bad relationship with the process of losing their baby teeth.

You've Got This

It can be a nerve-wracking experience for parents and guardians to pull their child's first baby tooth. However, with the right approach, it doesn't have to be all that bad. Remember, baby teeth are meant to come out.
Although it may be an uncomfortable experience, the right approach can make it a painless process.

FAQ

How do you pull a child's tooth out without it hurting?

You can use products such as Orajel for children to numb the area for about ten minutes before you pull the baby tooth. Most of the time, simply icing the area provides a sufficient amount of relief to extract the tooth without lasting pain.

Is it okay to pull a child's loose tooth?

Of course. For humans and most mammals, losing teeth is just a part of the timeline of growing up. Instead of risking your child accidentally swallowing their tooth, it is recommended that you pull it just before it is ready to fall out.

Can I pull my own tooth with pliers?

For adults, it is recommended that you see a dentist or a dental surgeon for mature dental extracts. Unlike baby teeth, adult teeth are deeply rooted in our jawbones. Therefore, pulling them requires medical attention.
Pulling teeth with pliers can result in extreme pain, permanent damage, and a dangerous infection. You might end up crushing the tooth or damaging the surrounding teeth and jawbone. That type of damage will make it a longer, more painful, and more expensive issue to correct.