Should I see a pediatric dentist for my child’s loose tooth?

My elementary school-aged son has had loose front-teeth for a couple of months now. He complains that they hurt and give her trouble when he eats and applies pressure on them from his tongue. When I look at them, I can see them moving around and that they are very loose, so I can tell they are ready to come out. However, he will not let me near him in order to extract them myself, nor will he pull them out himself. I know a pediatric dentist could remedy the issue quickly and easily but am not sure this is something for which they see patients? I know they will pull teeth that need to be pulled, but will they remove a tooth that is basically hanging by a thread?


Dear Dan,

The ligaments which hold a tooth in place are just like a rubber band. They will stretch out but then tighten back up, causing the process of losing a baby tooth to be quite a process. It appears that your son could be experiencing this to some extent, which could be why it is taking the tooth longer to fall out on its own than you might be used to.

It’s generally a good idea to let baby teeth do their thing until they fall out naturally. Attempting to pull a baby tooth prematurely not only hurts the child but can cause unnecessary trauma to the area. The baby tooth also helps keep the space open for the adult tooth to come in.

If the tooth is bothering your child, seeing a pediatric dentist would not be a bad idea. He or she can assess the situation and ensure nothing out of the ordinary is happening or causing the delay. If the dentist determines that the baby tooth will not come out on its own, he or she may suggest extraction as a solution. But, if you think your son will oppose a dentist, as he does when you try to touch the tooth, it may be better to wait it out and let nature take its course.

This content is brought to you by office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Why are there white spots on my child’s teeth?

My son is a healthy, growing 14 month-old little boy. He is eating what he should be at this age and was breastfed for his first year. Recently, his front two teeth started to appear and have white spots on them. I haven’t seen this before and wondered if it is something I should have checked by a pediatric dentist, or mention it to my child’s pediatrician? I am not sure if this is something I should be concerned about, or if I should just let it be.

Thank you,

Dear Abby,

It is recommended by the American Dental Association that children visit a dentist for the first time after their first year of age and following the arrival of their first teeth. Typically, this is a quick visit to ensure that everything is developing as it should. It is not like that of an adult visit, which would normally include x-rays, a cleaning, and an exam. Most insurance companies cover this visit as a diagnostic visit and even have a  different billing code for it.

The spots you mention are somewhat concerning. Spots such as these are often times called decalcification spots, or signs of early decay.  They appear when minerals are removed from the tooth and it becomes exposed. Although this doesn’t mean she has a cavity, the exposure of the tooth can cause decay and lead to future cavities. It’s important that your child is seen by a pediatric dentist right away, as they may suggest fluoride treatments to strengthen the tooth and prevent future decay.

This decalcification is not typically seen in children this young and may be the cause of another issue. It’s important to take steps to care for your child’s teeth, but, at this point, it is too early to be seeing signs of decay. Therefore, it could be a problem with the development of your child’s teeth and you should work with your pediatric dentist, as well as your child’s doctor, to better determine the cause.

This post is sponsored by the office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.