It may seem like your child’s teeth came in a very short time ago, but time flies. Your child has a wiggly tooth and has begun asking you a lot of questions about the tooth fairy. You may have a lot of questions, and we can help you with them.
Q. How long does this process take?
A. The short answer is “It depends.” The tooth will be slightly loose at first, and over time it will begin to wiggle more and more. Although your child will be tempted to wiggle it all the time, it’s important to let it loosen on its own; this happens gradually and it’s part of the process of losing teeth.
Q. How does it work?
A. It may seem like it’s just a matter of the tooth loosening, but you can’t see or monitor what’s happening below the gumline. The tooth isn’t just loosening in the gums; the roots that hold the tooth in place gradually fall away so the tooth will be able to fall out when the time comes.
Q. What happens when the tooth actually falls out?
A. This is another “It depends.” Sometimes the tooth comes out when your child is wiggling it. In other cases, it comes out when your child is eating. With some children, there is very little blood. Other children experience a fair amount of bleeding when a tooth is lost. In addition, it’s important to remember that your child’s experience may be very different from one tooth to the next. In other words, one tooth may come out with very little blood, but the next one may bleed a little more.
Q. What should I do when my child’s tooth falls out?
A. The first thing is to stay calm. Your child will take his or her cue from you, so if you panic or get stressed, your child will, too. If you remain calm, your child will learn that this is nothing to be afraid of. When the tooth falls out, take a clean paper napkin or paper towel, fold it up so it’s thick enough to absorb fluid, give it to your child, and tell him or her to bite down on it. If it becomes very bloody, exchange it for a new one. Instruct your child to keep biting down until the bleeding stops. Be advised that the space may feel strange to your child at first. Think back to losing your own teeth; it was so tempting to prod the new space with your tongue! It may take a day or two for your child to feel comfortable with this new space.
Q. How will my child react to this?
A. It varies from one child to the next. Some children get a little scared about this new and unfamiliar experience. Others get very excited about it. Some children get a little emotional, and may cry a little, because they may experience several emotions at once. Again, if you remain calm, your child will take a cue from you.
Q. My child is asking a lot of questions; how do I answer them?
A. Be patient and respond to the best of your ability. It may be helpful to read a book together; My Tooth is About to Fall Out was written by Grace Maccarone and illustrated by Betsy Lewin. Your child’s teacher or librarian may have additional recommendations, as well.
Congratulations! This is a special and important new phase for your child – and for you. The entire staff at Moore Family Dental is always willing and available to answer any questions you or your child may have. Please contact us with any concerns.