When is a Tooth Extraction Necessary?
Dental extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, but most commonly to remove teeth that can no longer be restored. Tooth decay, periodontal disease, dental trauma, or orthodontic needs are among some of the many reasons a tooth extraction may be necessary. Accidents happen, and sometimes teeth can’t be repaired with traditional methods. In this event, your child may need to have the tooth pulled or extracted.
Reasons for Tooth Extractions in Kids
- Tooth Decay: If a cavity is left untreated, tooth decay can occur and potentially cause irreversible damage to a tooth. A tooth extraction may be needed to keep the bacteria from leading to more serious oral health conditions.
- Dental Trauma or Injuries: Every parent knows that accidents can happen. In some cases, an accident, fall, or other injury can cause damage to a tooth that can result in tooth extraction being necessary. If the extracted tooth is a primary tooth, a space maintainer may be recommended until the permanent teeth erupt.
- Gum Disease: If gum disease, also known as gingivitis, goes untreated, it can result in periodontal disease. Periodontal disease affects both the gum line and jawbone and is a serious oral health condition when it occurs in children. Tooth extraction may be necessary to help your child maintain a healthy smile.
- Impacted Teeth: Impacted teeth, most likely wisdom teeth, can get stuck under the surface or only partially grow in. In these cases, our pediatric dentists may recommend tooth extraction to decrease the risk of future oral health issues and jaw misalignment.
- Orthodontic Treatment: In some cases, a dentist or orthodontist may recommend extractions of baby teeth or even permanent teeth to prevent overcrowding and allow room for permanent teeth to erupt.
About the Procedure
For little mouths, the procedure is simple and more straightforward than it is for adults. Prior to the procedure, a dentist will do a dental X-ray on your child’s teeth to understand the extent of the damage and determine treatment.
Using local anesthesia, the damaged tooth is removed with small forceps without damaging the socket and the surrounding nerves. Some extractions may also require removing some gum tissue to successfully complete the procedure. Following the extraction, the socket will be stitched up if necessary and covered in sterile gauze. If a baby tooth was extracted, a space maintainer may be used until permanent teeth erupt.
After Procedure Care for Children’s Tooth Extraction
Normally, only slight discomfort will be experienced after an extraction. If pain is present, we recommend an appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen for your child. If the pain is severe, call our office for guidance.
Avoid straws and any sucking action on the first day. Crunchy foods (peanuts, pretzels, potato chips, etc.) should be avoided for the first week following the procedure. Warm saltwater rinses, three to four times a day, are encouraged to help healing on the first day after the extraction.
If your child experiences bleeding after the procedure, the most effective recommendation is positive pressure, which can be accomplished by having your child bite tightly on a piece of cotton gauze for 15 to 30 minutes. If your child is too young to do this, hold the gauze tightly against the extraction site with your finger for the same length of time. Even after long pressure, the extraction site may bleed slightly for several hours and may even stop and start again. Further pressure will usually solve the problem.
Tooth Extraction FAQs
How Long is the Recovery Period?
After tooth extraction, your child should be back to normal quickly. If pain lasts more than a few days, contact our office, and schedule a follow-up visit.
How to Reduce Swelling After a Tooth Extraction Procedure
To reduce swelling following a tooth extraction, simply ice the outside of your child’s jaw with an ice pack.
What Can My Child Eat after a Tooth Extraction?
During recovery after a tooth extraction, only feed your child soft foods for the first few days and avoid hard, crunchy foods for at least a week. This will allow the area to heal properly and help your child avoid experiencing dry sockets.
Contact Dr. Kwon Pediatric Dentistry for information regarding tooth extractions and schedule an appointment at one of our four northeast Atlanta-area locations today!