When your child reaches the age of 6, he may start to experience some wiggling of his baby teeth, signaling the impending arrival of adult teeth. Losing teeth is a milestone for any child and parent, but it also can be a source of anxiety and pain. Understanding why this pain occurs and how to help your child through it can ensure a positive tooth loss experience.
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While losing baby teeth is a normal occurrence for children, it can be accompanied by some degree of pain. As the baby tooth breaks free of its nerve endings, the area can become swollen, red and painful. This is especially true if your child’s tooth became loose due to injury or impact that caused the tooth to become loosened prematurely. While your child’s gums may bleed slightly, excessive bleeding can require medical attention.
Having wobbly and painful teeth can be a source of anxiety for children who have not experienced the sensation of a loose tooth before. Your child may be afraid to eat or drink for fear of the tooth falling out or being swallowed. During this time, reassuring your child is important. This is when the “Tooth Fairy” may come in handy. Explain to your child that the Tooth Fairy will exchange a tooth for coins. Your child may even start to look forward to losing a tooth.
Some techniques can help to lessen loose tooth pain in kids. This includes applying a cold compress to the outside of your child’s mouth to minimize pain and swelling. Place ice cubes in a plastic sandwich-size or snack-size bag and cover it with a paper towel or cloth. Apply it to your child’s face for 10 to 15 minutes. You can re-apply it throughout the day to further reduce pain. If your child’s gums start to bleed as a result of loose teeth, you can wet a piece of gauze and place pressure directly on the gum. Do not, however, place the cold compress directly on the gums as doing so could result in burning the delicate skin of the gums.
If your child’s loose tooth pain is more severe, anti-inflammatory medications also can help to reduce swelling and pain. Talk to a pharmacist or doctor, however, before administering these medication types to get the correct dosage. Examples include acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You also can apply a mild analgesic to numb the area and minimize pain.