What Parents Should Know About Baby Teeth and Tooth Loss

Is your child about to lose their first tooth? If your child is in kindergarten or early elementary school, chances are a few of their baby teeth are loose and ready to fall out. Take a look at the top questions that parents often have about childhood tooth loss.

Which Teeth Fall Out First?

Like every other physical milestone your child goes through, tooth loss also happens in a regular pattern. For most children, the front bottom teeth are the first to go. The top front teeth typically follow behind closely.

Not only will your child lose their teeth in a regular pattern, but the new ones will typically erupt in the same way. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the permanent lower central incisors (bottom front) break through the gums around six to seven years of age and the top incisors come in from seven to eight years.

Should a Child Pull a Loose Tooth Out?

Your child's wiggly tooth looks like it's about to fall out. Should you grab it, twist, or pull? Before you pull:

  • Test the tooth. According to the ADA, you can gently squeeze a tooth that's about to fall out (place a tissue around the tooth first) — if it bothers your child. Never attempt to pull a tooth that isn't ready to fall out or causes your child pain.
  • Talk to the dentist. If you're in doubt, consult the professional first. The dentist can help you to determine what the next step is or provide information about your child's individual dental needs.
  • Put the string away. Never tie a string around your child's tooth and pull. The same goes for any other potentially traumatic or painful method.
  • Wash your hands. Even if you use a tissue wrapped around the tooth to pull it out, you still need clean hands too. This reduces the risk of infection.

If your child is apprehensive or anxious about their loose tooth, don't attempt to remove it yourself — even if the tooth is about to fall out. 

What Happens If the Gums Bleed?

Whether your child's tooth falls out naturally or they wiggle it out themselves, you may notice some blood around the gums. A small amount of bleeding is normal. If your child's gums gush, the bleeding persists, or they have unexplained pain, contact the dentist as soon as possible.

Comfort your child, and use a clean piece of gauze or towel to stop the flow from their gums. Ask your child to bite down on the gauze or towel gently until the bleeding stops.

What Happens If the Child Swallows the Tooth?

Whether the tooth fell out mid-meal or your child just couldn't catch it in time, some kids accidentally swallow their own baby teeth. In most cases, this won't cause a serious problem. Again, if in doubt, contact the dentist immediately.

How Much Money Should the Tooth Fairy Leave?

This is often the most important question for your child. The answer depends on your beliefs, values, and financial situation.

While the going Tooth Fairy rate was probably close to a quarter when you were young, your child likely expects more. Many parents choose to leave more money for the first lost tooth or if the lost tooth has a special circumstance.

According to the Original Tooth Fairy Poll, in 2018 the average payout was $3.70 per tooth. Even though this is the national average, you can choose another amount or to give something else entirely. The Tooth Fairy can leave behind a gift or even a sweet note.

Does your child need a check-up or cleaning? Contact Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, for more information.