Helping your young children through this potentially difficult time.
Thankfully, most children can barely, if at all, remember the experience of when their first teeth erupted. This process can be sore and uncomfortable for them but usually happens at an age when they will not be able to recall it happening.
Providing that they look after these first teeth, with the assistance of their parents or guardians, they should last them for a number of years. Eventually though, these teeth will start to become loose and will eventually fall out, making way for their adult teeth.
As grown ups, we are fully aware of the way that this happens, but for a young child, the first time that they discover a loose and wobbly tooth in their mouth, it can be quite worrying or frightening, especially when the tooth is wobbly for some time, making it difficult to eat.
Mum, my tooth is all wobbly!
It will probably come as an unpleasant surprise to a child when they first notice that their tooth is loose. Rather than simply say ‘it’s OK’, this is a good opportunity to sit down with them and let them know what is happening. They will be reassured to know that this is perfectly normal and that there is another tooth just waiting to come through.
Although it may be a little more difficult, children should still be encouraged to brush around this tooth so that the gum remains healthy for when the new tooth erupts.
For some children, their first wobbly tooth eventually falls out whilst they are eating. For others though, it can reach the stage where it is simply hanging on to the gum itself, past a stage where it is useful for eating, and is very often a hindrance. This can be very irritating and distressing for some children, and may require a little assistance to speed up the process.
Put the pliers down!
Whatever you do, please don’t chase your child around with pliers or similar, threatening to pull the tooth out. This will simply scare them and may contribute towards them suffering from dental anxiety in later life.
Equally, whilst it may be amusing to adults, and even to some children, to remove the tooth using unique techniques, as can be seen with a quick search on YouTube, we recommend that you don’t do this. Some of these methods, such as tying one end of a piece of string to the tooth and the other to the pet dog before throwing a stick, causing the tooth to come out, could cause damage to the gum, and could be quite painful too.
Where possible, it is best to encourage the child to gently manoeuvre the tooth to help it come out as they will be able to feel any discomfort and know, instinctively, when to stop. You might also wish to consider encouraging them to eat sticky foods, such as soft toffee that might encourage the tooth to come out too. A small financial reward from the tooth fairy also often works as an encouragement to do this as well!
If the tooth will not come out easily, with a bit of gentle manipulation, the best thing that you can do is to bring your child to see one of our gentle dental team at Blue Sky Dental. We will be able to remove the wobbly tooth with a minimum of fuss, and without the trauma of some other less conventional methods.
Preparing for adult teeth
Children soon adapt to the loss of a tooth and may even find it quite funny, pulling faces and showing the gap. As mentioned before though, it is important that they clean the area where the tooth was, as well as the rest of their teeth. Any infection of the area could have a negative effect on the adult tooth as it erupts, and it is worth reminding them that, after their adult teeth, there are no more to come through, and it is therefore important that they look after them well.
Both during this phase and when the new tooth erupts, parents should take special care to supervise their children whilst they clean their teeth. Taking the time to do this at this stage of their life will hopefully educate and encourage them to take care of their teeth throughout their life.
Like adults, children too need to have regular examinations at our Chelmsford dental practice. This is important not only to check for problems such as decay and gum disease, but also to monitor the development of their young teeth.
If your child has a loose tooth that needs to come out, or if you simply want to book a general appointment for them, you can call Blue Sky Dental on 01245 211070. Our friendly team are here to help you!