Be upbeat. “Some kids worry that they’re falling apart,” says Mary Hayes, D.D.S., a pediatric dentist in Chicago, IL, and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “But if you’re really excited and enthusiastic about this milestone from the beginning, she will be, too.” Also: It’s perfectly fine to let her wiggle away at the tooth as much as she wants — asking her not to touch it can create unnecessary anxiety.
Do the tooth dance. “A tooth is ready to come out when it’s hanging by a single thread or turns pinkish,” says Hayes. To pluck it out, wash your hands, grab some gauze, and wiggle it back and forth and side to side until it comes free.
Get ready for a special visit. Kids get pretty excited about finding a little green under their pillow: “I once had a patient who lost his final tooth, only to exclaim, ‘What am I going to do for money now?’ ” joked Hayes. There’s no standard amount the Tooth Fairy leaves everyone, so focus on the magic instead of the cash. Perhaps your child’s prize arrives in a little pouch (that the Tooth Fairy threw over her shoulder) with some fairy dust (glitter) still left inside.