First Loose Tooth Woes: How To Help Your Child
That first loose tooth is part of your child's natural process of growth and dental maturity. If you have a child or grandchild that experiences a first loose tooth or is on the cusp of this big event, read on to find ways to help your child better cope with and enjoy this rite of passage.
Validate Their Feelings
Whether your own childhood experience with loose teeth was positive or scary, remember your child is about to experience this event for the very first time and will definitely have emotions! Validate their feelings and let them know you understand how they feel.
A recent study revealed the majority of children felt positively regarding tooth loss. That first wiggle of change brought excitement and pride. Only about one child in five felt afraid or anxious. You can encourage your child to have a more positive experience when you are sympathetic and supportive rather than critical or worried.
Use This Moment to Teach
Whether children are anxious or excited about a loose tooth, you can use this life event to teach them about the process. Teaching them will communicate the importance of teeth and raise their interest in teeth and dental hygiene, prompting them to better tooth care.
You might show them baby teeth charts that illustrate approximate ages when teeth first appear and are lost. If possible, provide a small dental mirror so they can check out all their other teeth from different angles.
Show them a diagram of the different parts of the tooth and explain how they are important. Most children love to see photos of x-rays that display both temporary and permanent teeth.
Include the Tooth Fairy
Parents agree a visit from the Tooth Fairy is one of the best motivators for reluctant 6-year-olds to accept the loss of a tooth. Regardless of what personality your child has, the Tooth Fairy is an entertaining tradition.
Decide beforehand what kind of incentive you will choose to leave from the fairy and how much. The standard rate for a lost tooth is between $1.50 and $2.50. However, you can instruct the Tooth Fairy to leave gifts, toys, or other rewards instead of cash.
Some parents leave notes to their child from the fairy with words of praise, instruction, or encouragement. Not only do children love this type of communication, but it can help them continue good dental habits.
That shaky tooth still needs dental care just like the rest of the mouth. Make sure your child still brushes regularly. Remind him or her that the Tooth Fairy loves healthy teeth and might even increase the tooth compensation.
Be prepared for and advise your child regarding changes like a bleeding tooth, pain, or the early appearance of a permanent tooth. Visit your dentist if:
- Your child has extreme pain or swollen gums
- You see crowding or crooked teeth
- Your child won't eat to avoid using the tooth and won't let the tooth naturally fall out
Keep in mind that a loose tooth can take weeks or even months to fall out on its own. Encourage your child to wiggle it with their tongue or a clean finger to help it along. Accidentally swallowing a tooth is not cause for alarm as it will naturally pass on its own. However, make sure the Tooth Fairy still makes a special delivery.
If you are concerned about your child's loose tooth or the condition of his or her other teeth, visit us at Airport Road Dental Associates. Our caring dentists will make sure your little one and all of their teeth are taken care of.