Pediatric Tooth Extraction: What You Need to Know

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Parents want to promote their child's dental health. Sometimes children need more advanced dental care beyond cleaning and fluoride treatment.  Dentists extract teeth when there is evidence of decay, overcrowding, or gum disease. Pediatric extraction can be unsettling for parents and children, but learning about the procedure and what to expect can make the process easier.  

When Is Pediatric Tooth Extraction Necessary?

Pediatric tooth extraction is necessary when a tooth is damaged beyond repair, crowded, infected, or causing pain. Children may also require extractions before they get braces if their teeth are growing too close together, as overcrowding can affect the alignment of their teeth. Your dentist may also recommend an extraction if your child's tooth isn't falling out on its own and is hindering the growth of the adult teeth.

What Happens During the Procedure?

Pediatric tooth extraction is a relatively quick and straightforward process. Before the procedure starts, your child will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth. The dentist may use a general anesthetic if the extraction is more complicated. The dentist will then gently remove the tooth using forceps. After the extraction, your child will receive gauze to bite on to stop any bleeding. Depending on the case, your child may receive a stitch that dissolves.

What Is the Recovery Process After Extraction?

Recovering from pediatric tooth extraction requires a few days of rest and some aftercare. Your child must avoid hard or chewy foods for a few days after the extraction. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen for any discomfort. Ensure your child avoids using a straw, as the suction can dislodge the blood clot and cause complications.

Are There Any Risks?

Like any surgical procedure, there are some risks associated with pediatric tooth extraction. The most common complication is a dry socket, when the blood clot dislodges, exposing the bone and nerves. A dry socket can be very painful and can take several weeks to heal. To prevent dry sockets, your child should avoid vigorous rinsing using a straw for the first few days after the extraction.

Pediatric tooth extraction might seem scary, but it's a safe and common procedure that can help improve your child's oral health. Remember to keep an open dialogue with your dentist, ask lots of questions, and provide the aftercare your child needs. With these tips, you'll help your child bounce back quickly and with a healthy smile.

Contact a dentist near you to learn more.