Monday, December 7, 2015

To Pull or Not to Pull

My six-year-old daughter has two loose teeth. Very, very loose teeth.

At this time (and let's face it, some weeks before) during my own childhood, my father would be trying to hoodwink me into letting him pull at least one of these out. I'll just wiggle it a little, he'd say, and I'd fall for it over and over.

Until I wised up and wouldn't let him near my mouth. Then the teeth lingered. The permanent ones came in before and behind, and when my parents took me to the orthodontist for the first time, he scolded me for not letting my parents pull my teeth. I let one bicuspid grow in fully, coming up under the baby tooth and wedging it into the gum on the inside of my mouth. When my father finally convinced me to let him have at it, what emerged was only a shell of a tooth with a tiny pinprick hole through it.

So considering the two options, I think letting my father pull away was the better one. I only ever lost one tooth because it fell out on its own. Corn on the cob got it, and it went the way of the corn.

Back to my daughter's teeth. I told my husband it was time for him to pull them. I mean, they're barely hanging on. And mothers don't pull teeth; that's the father's job. But he was horrified.
B: What are you talking about? You don't pull teeth! You wait for teeth to fall out!

S: But what if she swallows it?

B: That doesn't happen to anyone! (nevermind my corn on the cob experience)
Seriously, it's like he thought I was a sadist. So, I thought, I'll wiggle the loosest one a little and see what happens. But the flexibility of it gave me the shivers, and I couldn't bring myself to really handle it with the force needed. So I called my dad. He said, Pull and twist. And have a cloth and a bowl of ice cream handy. But still I couldn't do it.
B: No one pulls teeth! You wait for teeth to fall out! Do not pull out her teeth!

S: But what if her permanent ones grow in before or behind all crooked?

B: That doesn't happen to anyone! (nevermind my childhood pictures) OK, at least wait until I do some research. (my husband researches everything)
I decided I'd get a head start on the research in case he tried to present a skewed view to me later. And for the record, at this point I was chalking his view up to what I consider his pampered, squeamish upbringing. I lump no teeth pulling in with summer camps where you don't have to unpack or make your own bed and pronouncing syrup seer-up.

But to my horror, most websites back him up! Parents don't pull teeth anymore! (Or don't get that advice from the Internet.) What is this soft world coming to? Isn't this a rite of passage--getting your teeth pulled and eating your ice cream? Will I next be told the tooth fairy should pay $5 per tooth?!?!?

So here's my question: Is the pulling of extremely loose teeth really and truly not done any more? Do children no longer swallow teeth that fall out or have permanent teeth come in while the baby teeth are hanging on? And here's a hint: support me because I'm using your responses as evidence.

Full disclosure: I wrote this Friday, and both teeth are now gone. One fell out in my hand Saturday morning and one was gone Sunday morning. Swallowed, don't you think?


  1. Hahaha!! When the big kids were little, one of the first grade teachers was the official tooth puller of the building. Kids would actually walk to her room, and she'd yank a loose tooth right out. I miss those days.
    My daughter swallowed her first lost tooth. At a birthday party eating cake and ice cream.
    These days, I don't usually touch the teeth or pull them out, but I make the kid do it. Talk about making sure my kids aren't wimps! :) Every time I walk past the child with the loose tooth, I tell him to wiggle it. The more you wiggle, the faster it comes out, right? They all come out in a nice, timely fashion, and there's no dangling by a thread tooth hanging on for weeks on end.
    Glad those two are out. :)

    1. I can't believe Buttercup lost a tooth eating cake and ice cream. Maggie is horrified by this process. She won't look at the teeth and she won't look at her empty gums.

  2. HA! She forsure swallowed it! At least they're both gone now.

  3. My ex-brother-in-law, a dentist, gave is kids caramels to chew. His daughter's tooth came right out in the candy.


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