Should You Pull Out A Wobbly Tooth Yourself?

Wickford dentist, Himesh Patel, offers advice to anyone considering doing this.

Dentist Himesh PatelThere is a reasonable chance that many of us, as children, will have had one or more of our first wobbly teeth pulled out by a parent or relative.

Some of these will have been done gently, whilst others may have been done using more aggressive methods, the type of which you may have seen on YouTube and the like.

But there are a number of good reasons why you shouldn’t aggressively remove a loose tooth, whether as a child or indeed an adult. Let’s take a closer look at why in today’s Cygnet Dental blog.

Children’s wobbly teeth

Children tend to lose their ‘baby’ teeth anywhere from around 4 years old. Whilst most will lose the rest at a regular pace from then on, some of us may still have a few of them even into our teens. A wobbly tooth to a child can be an inconvenience and cause problems for them when eating if it stays like that for some time and doesn’t come out quickly. For this reason, (and the fact that we are probably getting pestered because they want money from the tooth fairy!), it is not unnatural that we may want to speed up the process.

Where this is the case, you should make sure that you have clean hands and very gently manoeuver the tooth a little. If it does not come away from the gums very easily, please don’t use force. Doing so could cause tissue damage to the gum and may prove to be very sore for the child too. If the tooth does not come away easily, just give it a little more time.

Although some of the videos available on how to pull out a child’s tooth in unique ways may seem amusing and may appeal to some of you, please don’t do this. It can cause significant trauma to the gum tissue and, where it doesn’t work as planned, can be quite traumatic for the child too.

If your child has a tooth that is causing problems because it won’t fall out even though it feels ready, please allow one of the Cygnet Dental team to remove it safely for you.


Whilst it is natural for children’s first teeth to fall out, it certainly isn’t with adults. Where an adult has a wobbly tooth, there is almost certainly something wrong which needs investigating.

The following are two of the more common scenarios of loose teeth in adults.

Injury by accident

Accidents can happen to any of us and can be very painful when they do. Where a tooth is impacted by a blow to the face, it may cause the tooth to become loose. This could mean one of two things. Firstly, the supporting bone structure may have become damaged, allowing the root to free itself and therefore the whole tooth could come out. Alternatively, the crown of the tooth may have broken away from the root, leaving the root still in place.

Both of these have potential problems and in this situation, you should always see a dentist for further treatment. Pulling the tooth out yourself could lead to pain and a raised possibility of infection or nerve damage. Where the root of the tooth remains, this will need to be removed by a dentist as you will not be able to do this yourself anyway.

Gum disease

The advanced stage of gum disease, known as periodontitis, is also a major cause of wobbly and unstable teeth in adults. Although we refer to it as a disease of the gums, it can and does, in fact, also affect the bone at the root of the tooth. As this becomes damaged by the bacteria, it degrades and is no longer able to secure the root of the tooth in place effectively, causing the tooth to start to become loose.

Again, patients should never try to pull out their own wobbly teeth. In fact, in this particular instance, we may even be able to save and restore the tooth if you come to us as soon as you notice the tooth starting to become unstable.

Whilst a scale and polish is widely used in the management of gum disease, where bone damage has started to occur, you may need to have a deep clean or ‘root planing’. This is an invasive procedure, performed with a local anaesthetic which allows us to clean not only the crown of the tooth and surrounding gum tissue, but also below the gum line and down to the roots and surrounding bone tissue. This can help to restore the bone to a healthier state and may also save the tooth itself. However, at this stage of gum disease, there is no guarantee of success.

If you have a wobbly tooth, always ask a professional to take a look at it. Removing it yourself may be tempting but can cause damage and lead to even more problems down the line. By allowing us to thoroughly examine the tooth, we can either extract it for you safely, or hopefully save the tooth and restore it to good health.

So if you have a loose tooth and would like us to take a look, please call the Cygnet Dental Practice in Wickford on 01268 733078.