MOST OF US can still remember what it was like to lose a baby tooth, especially that major Big Kid milestone of losing the first one. How did it happen for you? Did it take longer for you to lose a tooth than most of your classmates, or were you the one who knocked a tooth out on the playground before you knew it was loose? Regardless, losing a tooth is a big deal for kids, and now that we’re parents, we want to help that be a positive experience for them.
While losing baby teeth is a perfectly normal part of growing up, it can still be a scary new experience for little kids, particularly the first time it happens when they don’t yet know what to expect. Parents can make it easier by encouraging the right mindset. Emphasize that losing a tooth is part of being a big kid! Help them focus on what an achievement it is to lose a baby tooth instead of dwelling on how it might hurt. This can be exciting!
The technique is as important as a good mindset. We would discourage parents from chasing their kids down with a pair of pliers or tricking them with that old “I just want to feel it!” ruse to get close enough to pull the tooth. Encourage them instead to gently wiggle the tooth on their own with their tongue, a tissue, or a clean finger. Let them set the pace and only intervene if they ask for your help pulling the tooth.
The standard way of giving a child a good incentive to brave the pain of losing a tooth is the Tooth Fairy, but why not make things a little more unique? Your child might be more motivated by a promise of a trip to the ice cream shop or a new toy. What would be the most exciting prize for your child when they complete this rite of passage?
If you’ve followed all these tips for how to make it fun and exciting but your child is still afraid of losing a tooth, we can help! As a pediatric dental practice, working with children is our specialty. If their teeth don’t seem to be becoming loose when they should, you can also bring them to us so we can investigate why that is.