The idea of your child needing a tooth removed may sound alarming, but it is not uncommon for children to need to get their teeth extracted. The procedure is usually much less complicated in children than in adults.
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Why Would My Child Need an Extraction?
These are the 4 most common reasons that Dr. Haman recommends kids teeth extractions:
- Space Management & Preparation: Many children have small mouths that don’t have room to accommodate permanent teeth as they grow in. Strategically removing baby teeth can help retain space so adult teeth have room to grow in. Click here to learn more about our orthodontics and space maintenance services.
- Over-Retained Baby Teeth: Occasionally, baby teeth that stay in the mouth after permanent teeth have started to grow in. These will need to be removed to not affect the health and placement of adult teeth.
- Damaged Teeth: Sometimes, teeth get damaged beyond repair. This could be due to dental trauma or disease.
- Tooth Decay: In some cases, tooth decay is too much to repair, and it’s easier to just remove the tooth. To prevent decay, it’s important to brush twice a day, floss daily, and get a professional dental cleaning twice a year.
One of baby teeth’s functions is to reserve space for adult teeth when they grow in. If your child’s tooth was removed due to damage and the corresponding permanent tooth isn’t going to arrive for a while, Dr. Haman may suggest a spacer. This will reserve the space so that it doesn’t close up before the permanent tooth grows in.
What to Expect During the Procedure
It’s perfectly normal for you and your child to feel nervous before a tooth extraction procedure, but there’s no need to worry. In most cases, the process is less involved than it would be in an adult patient, and it’s a routine procedure that tends to run smoothly.
A typical pediatric tooth extraction works like this. Dr. Haman will examine an X-ray of your child’s mouth to evaluate the condition of the jaw bone and the roots of the tooth. She will numb the surrounding jaw, tooth, and gum using an injection called a local anesthetic. After administering the local anesthetic, she will use forceps to rotate the tooth inside its socket, in order to separate the tooth from the periodontal ligaments that attach it to the jawbone.
What to Expect After the Procedure
After the tooth is extracted, your child may experience a little bleeding. Right after the tooth is removed, Dr. Haman will apply sterile gauze to the area. Your child’s blood will start to clot right away, and it’s very important that the clot stays in place. If the clot is removed, this can lead to a condition called dry socket, which results in air and food particles getting into the bone, causing pain and infection.
Your child will need to avoid rinsing his or her mouth during the 24 hours following the procedure. After the 24 hours have passed, you can rinse with salt water to ensure the area stays clean. This also helps to reduce pain. Tylenol or ibuprofen and an ice pack outside the jaw can work wonders to reduce pain and swelling. If your child develops a fever, or you notice excessive swelling, call your dentist as soon as possible. These are signs of an infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics.
You child should eat soup, yogurt, pudding, or other soft foods during their recovery, and avoid crunchy foods. Your son or daughter will also need to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.