Top Tips to Pull a Loose Tooth

(And Ensure a Visit from the Tooth Fairy!)

Pulling a tooth is a rite of passage for children as they shed their baby teeth for an adult set. But parents often ask: What are the safest and most painless ways to pull a loose tooth?

In the fall of 2010, the Chicago Dental Society surveyed more than 300 of its members to find out their tips for treating a loose tooth.

Loosen the tooth. Use firm, gentle pressure to wiggle and twist the tooth. Chewing on firm foods like apples can help in removing the tooth.

Numb the tooth. Use a topical anesthetic such as Orajel to numb the area. Popsicles, ice cubes or even a cold rag will also help eliminate pain and discomfort.

Be careful with tools. Avoid the old "floss and doorknob" method, which might scare children or catch them off guard. Instead, use a small amount of gauze and your fingers to pull a tooth. Dentists may use small forceps.

Use a distraction. Talk to the child about their interests or simply encourage them to focus on something else. Count to "three" and pull it on "two." Oftentimes, the tooth is out before they even know it.

Encourage the child to do it themselves. Depending on the child's age and looseness of their tooth, Chicago Dental Society's members agreed that it's best for a child to pull the tooth themselves. They know their own tolerance for pain and will most likely wiggle it out on their own!

Most importantly, use lots of TLC!