How to Pull out a Loose Tooth

Three Parts:Losing Baby (Primary) TeethDiagnosing Common Problems in AdultsHaving a Tooth Removed

Loose teeth in kids are perfectly normal, if somewhat irritating, part of growing up. Teeth can be hard to pull out. It takes time. Some children are scared to pull out their teeth. If your children are, encourage them and say that everyone goes through this. If they are not, make sure they don't force the tooth (teeth) out. They can be quite distracting, but they’re typically not a serious cause of concern. On the other hand, loose adult teeth can be signs of serious dental health issues that you need to get checked out immediately with a dental professional. While it's better to let children’s baby (primary) teeth come out naturally, there are a few simple things you can do to help the process. Under no circumstances, however, should you attempt to remove adult teeth on your own. The roots of adult teeth run much deeper, and you risk pain and major infection if you attempt to remove them yourself. Always consult a dental professional before attempting any self-corrective measures. Remember, do not force the tooth too much. This creates more blood and pain.

Part 1
Losing Baby (Primary) Teeth

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    Let the loose tooth come out on its own. It’s typical for children’s primary teeth to begin coming out around age 6. By age 12 or 13, most children have lost all of their primary teeth. Whether your child is just beginning to lose teeth or has lost several before, it’s recommended that you not try to expedite process by pulling or tugging forcefully.[1]
    • Teeth always come out on their own, and pulling them out prematurely risks injury and infection. Yanking out a tooth prematurely won't make it feel any better--in fact, it'll feel worse.
    • Keep the area as clean as possible by keeping up a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash.
    • You can carefully wiggle your tooth with your tongue and only your tongue. There's nothing wrong with regularly wiggling the tooth with your tongue to get it as loose as possible. Once it seems close to falling out, you can gently ease it back and forth with your fingers, but don't push or pull it forcefully.[2]
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    Eat hard foods. To speed up the loosening process, try to eat carrots, apples, or other crunchy foods to help get your tooth to loosen gradually. It might even come out on its own and you'll barely notice.
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    Consult the dentist. If the tooth is growing erratically or takes more than 2-3 months to come out, it's usually a good idea to see the dentist and ask whether or not the tooth should be removed or left to fall out on its own.[3]
    • After consulting the dentist, be sure to follow their advice exactly.
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    Take care of your gums. If, after your tooth falls out there's any blood, hold a cotton ball gently to your gums.
    • A tooth left to fall out on its own shouldn't bleed much. If it does, hold a washcloth, cotton ball, or tissue against the tooth gap firmly until the bleeding stops, then rinse out your mouth thoroughly with salt water.

Part 2
Diagnosing Common Problems in Adults

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    Try to determine the cause. Loose teeth in adults is usually a bad sign and can be caused by several factors, and determining which applies in your situation can help you more quickly decide the proper course of action. If you’re unable to determine the cause or have any other concerns, see your dentist.[4]
    • Loose teeth are often a result of periodontal disease, an infection that results from poor oral hygiene. Both loose teeth and receding gum tissue are symptoms of periodontal disease.
    • Malocclusion, which occurs when teeth meet at wrong angles when chewing, can also cause a loosening of teeth. Malocclusion can be treated with orthodontic treatments and/or crown insertion.
    • Frequently grinding your teeth (typically while asleep), termed bruxism, can also lead to loose teeth. A dentist can treat this condition by making a custom night guard for you to wear while sleeping.
    • Trauma from sporting injuries or other accidents can lead to loosened teeth, but in most cases the loose teeth will firm up on their own as long as you maintain good hygiene. If you have any doubt, see your dentist.
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    Check for warning signs. A loose tooth can be a symptom of an affliction that might necessitate extraction. Additionally, certain tooth pain can be a sign of a potentially serious problem that warrants a dentist’s attention.
    • If you feel a brief but fleeting pain after eating hot or cold foods, it may be a sign of small decay, gum recession, or a loose filling, which, though they should be addressed, are not emergency issues.[5]
    • But if you notice pain after eating hot or cold foods that lasts more than 30 seconds, you should see your dentist, as it is likely a sign of something more serious.[6]
    • If you feel a deep and acute pain when you eat sugary foods, it may be a symptom of a cavity, so head to the dentist to get it checked out.
    • If you experience sharp pain when biting down on food, it may be a sign of something relatively minor, like small decay or a loose filling, or it may be a sign of a more serious problem, like a crack in the tooth, or pulp-tissue damage.[7]
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    Examine your gums. One common sign of looseness in teeth for adults is receding gums, which can be the result of periodontal disease, an extremely common affliction among adults.
    • Periodontal disease is an infection in the gums, which, if left untreated, can spread into the bones or teeth, necessitating extraction.[8]
    • If you notice soreness in your gums, redness, or blood when brushing and flossing, as well as wiggly teeth, talk to your dentist about periodontal disease and what you can do to heal and reverse the problem.
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    See a dentist. If you determine that your symptoms are serious or warrant further examination, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.
    • If you don't have dental insurance, research low-income options in your area. Often, dental schools will offer significantly discounted rates for removals and other procedures.[9] Other offices will sometimes offer payment plans that will allow you to pay down the payment with installments rather than paying one big lump sum for the procedure.
    • See if you can get a free consultation to at least find out what the problem is, what your options are, and how long you've got to deal with it before making a decision. Many private practices offer one-time free consultations.
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    Maintain a healthy teeth-cleaning routine. The dental problems that result in loose teeth are nearly all preventable with careful oral hygiene, and keeping up a good hygiene routine can help prevent a minor problem from turning into something more serious.
    • Try to develop a routine that works for you that includes brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, and rinsing with mouthwash.

Part 3
Having a Tooth Removed

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    Schedule an appointment with your dentist. If you suspect a tooth needs to be extracted contact your dentist and schedule a consultation.
    • Upon examination, your dentist may recommend a procedure other than extraction.
    • If your dentist determines that the loose tooth needs to be extracted, they’ll then schedule you for the procedure.
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    Follow the dentist's instructions. It’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully both before and after the procedure.
    • During the procedure, you'll likely be given a local anesthetic and the dentist will remove the tooth relatively quickly. Most extractions last about an hour.
    • The recovery process will last several days, and you'll probably need to schedule a follow-up appointment with the dentist so they can check on the healing process.
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    Take careful care of the extraction site. After having the tooth removed, be assiduous in caring for your mouth and gums following the procedure.
    • Rinse the extraction site with salt water as a clot begins to form.
    • Avoid using straws, smoking cigarettes, or chewing around the area of the lost tooth while it heals.
    • Clean the area very gently and cautiously. Call your dentist if anything seems amiss or the clot isn't forming properly.[10]
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    Go in for a follow-up. Several days after the tooth has been removed, have the dentist check the health of the extraction site and follow any further instructions they provide you.
    • At this point you can discuss the possibility of inserting a false tooth at the site of the pulled tooth. Ask your dentist to recommend cosmetic dentists in the area, but wait until the area heals completely before moving forward with a false tooth.


  • Don't pull the tooth out if it isn't wobbly enough for you to push it back and forth with your tongue.
  • Don't pull too hard. If it starts to hurt dramatically, stop and wait until the next day.
  • If the gum is swollen, try holding an ice cube to the area to reduce the swelling.
  • When dealing with a loose primary tooth, place your thumb at the back of the tooth and push it back and forth, using just your thumb rather than two fingers. It will help to loosen the tooth and reduce the risk of bleeding.
  • If your tooth is giving you pain and is not yet ready to come out, take some painkillers and/or numb it with ice.
  • Don’t force the primary tooth out before it’s ready, or it may scar and grow in abnormally.
  • Try to eat using the other side of your mouth following a tooth loss, since the open gum may bleed when you eat or drink.
  • Don't pull out every tooth that starts to hurt naturally. This could be a cavity or sensitivity.
  • Don't pull on a tooth that is not that loose. Eat on the other side of your mouth because it will prevent hurting and pain.
  • Don't pull out a tooth that is not loose enough - wait until it is really loose.
  • Just because you think it is really ready, it might not be the case. Ask for opinions from your parents or your dentist before doing anything.
  • Twist it left and right when you think it is about to come out then push. Drink water after.
  • Try flossing your teeth; it will make the wiggly tooth even more wiggly.
  • Don't rinse your mouth or spit forcefully immediately after extraction, as this will prevent clot formation.
  • Never twist your loose tooth, it may damage your adult tooth under it.
  • Let a dentist properly remove secondary teeth, otherwise it could create scars or make teeth grow abnormally.


  • Do not touch your tooth hole with your finger; it may cause an infection by introducing germs to the area.
  • Risk factors for periodontal disease--which can lead to loose teeth in adults--include: smoking, hormonal changes, diabetes, cancer and AIDS treatments, certain medications, and genetics. If you’re unsure of what may be causing the loose tooth, consult your dentist.[11]

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Categories: Teeth and Mouth