Will a pediatric dentist pull a loose baby tooth?

My seven-year-old daughter has been complaining about her front teeth being loose for more than two months. All summer long, she has been saying that they hurt and that she can’t eat because of them. When she pushes on them with her tongue, I can see them move around a lot, so they look like they’re ready to go. I wanted to pull them out myself, but she won’t let me near her. I think a pediatric dentist could do it quicker and without issue. It seems like this has been going on forever, and I’d really like to help her.  — Monette

Dear Monette,
Losing a baby tooth can be quite a process, as the ligaments that help hold the tooth in place can stretch like a rubber band, and then tighten back up again. It sounds like your daughter is experiencing some of this, which can make it take longer for the tooth to fall out on its own.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to leave baby teeth alone until they fall out naturally. Understandably, yanking it out prematurely hurts, and it can also traumatize the area. Plus, the baby tooth helps keep the space open, so that the adult tooth has room to come in.

If it’s very bothersome, it’s not a bad idea to schedule a consultation with a pediatric dentist. He can evaluate it to make sure nothing abnormal is happening with the tooth or the adult tooth that should be coming in. Depending on whether he thinks the baby tooth won’t come out on its own for some reason, or if it looks like it will be out on its own soon, he may consider extraction as an option. However, if your daughter is likely to be uncooperative during treatment, it might be better to take a wait-and-see approach.

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