What To Expect Before, During, and After Tooth Extraction
Pediatric Tooth Extractions: Everything You Need To Know
As a parent, you naturally want the best for your child’s smile. After all, you’ve been taking time to clean their teeth and gums and teach them good oral hygiene since before their first baby tooth appeared.
Often, this is all that’s needed to keep their mouth healthy, yet there may come a time when your child needs dental treatment to prevent damage to permanent teeth and ward against future dental conditions.
A tooth extraction is one of those services. We understand it can be a little nerve-racking to hear your dentist recommend this for your child, so we’re here to put your mind at ease. Today we’re sharing what to expect before, during, and after an extraction so that there are no surprises.
Why does my child’s tooth need to be extracted?
There are a few different scenarios that may require a tooth extraction for your child.
Usually, your dentist will only extract baby teeth if they are severely damaged due to a serious injury. For instance, if they are knocked loose or cracked, your dentist may need to remove them to ensure healthy permanent teeth can grow in their place. The same goes for baby teeth that are severely decayed or infected.
Permanent teeth may also require extractions under similar circumstances. Some of the most common reasons for this procedure include:
- Severe tooth decay
- Overcrowded teeth
- Broken teeth
- Periodontal disease
- Serious injury
Note that some of these dental problems can be solved by a restorative dental procedure, such as a crown. However, your dentist will likely recommend an extraction if the issue is more severe.
Different Types of Extractions
There are two main types of tooth extractions: simple extractions and surgical extractions. Let’s take a look at how each one works.
Simple extractions are exactly what their name implies: They’re relatively quick and easy and can be done right in your dentist’s office. These extractions are for teeth that are clearly visible in your child’s mouth, not ones that are still hiding underneath their gums.
First, your child’s pediatric dentist will gently numb the area surrounding the tooth. Then, they will use special instruments to carefully loosen it from its socket and remove it completely. Recovery time is minimal for this treatment.
Surgical extractions are for teeth that are not visible in your child’s mouth. For instance, if their tooth hasn’t fully erupted yet (like a wisdom tooth) or has broken off beneath the gumline, it may need to be surgically removed.
At Pediatric Dental Specialists, many of our dentists are trained to perform surgical extractions. If you attend a different practice, you may need to visit an oral surgeon instead. These experts are specially trained to conduct a range of dental surgeries.
First, the surgeon will make a small incision in your child’s gum to access the tooth. Then, they will either remove the tooth intact or section it into smaller pieces for easier removal.
Either local or general anesthesia is used for a surgical extraction, depending on the patient’s needs. While your child’s recovery period might be a little longer with a surgical tooth extraction, your dentist will make sure they have everything they need to heal comfortably.
What To Expect Before a Tooth Extraction
Before recommending a tooth extraction for your child, your dentist will perform a thorough evaluation. They will look at the affected tooth (or teeth) to see whether it is restorable. If so, they will recommend appropriate treatment and inform you of your next steps.
If your child’s dentist deems the tooth beyond repair, they will recommend an extraction. Your dentist will take X-rays of your child’s teeth and gums to show you where the problem lies and then discuss the details of the procedure with you and your child.
In severe cases, your dentist may recommend an immediate extraction to preserve your child’s dental health. If the situation isn’t as urgent, they will work with you to set an appointment for a future time.
What To Expect During a Tooth Extraction
During the extraction, your child’s comfort level will be top of mind for the entire dental team.
Whether they’re undergoing a simple or surgical extraction, we will work to ensure that the experience is calm and pain-free from start to finish. If you request sedation or your dentist deems it appropriate, then we will work with you to determine the best option.
Once your child’s dentist removes the problem tooth, they may place stitches if necessary.
What To Expect After a Tooth Extraction
You won’t leave the dental office wondering what to do after the extraction; your dentist will carefully walk you and your child through the exact steps to follow to ensure a comfortable healing experience.
Depending on the type of extraction performed, this might include pain-relieving measures such as biting down on gauze or applying an ice pack to the area. Your dentist may also prescribe or recommend pain relievers to reduce discomfort and will guide you on which foods your child can eat as they recover.
It’s important to follow these instructions exactly. If you’re unclear on any of the points, be sure to ask about them before you drive away. However, you can always call our team when you get home if you have any questions later!
Some children have a tooth extracted, and that’s all there is to it. For instance, their dentist might extract a baby tooth, and a permanent tooth grows in its place. Or maybe they have permanent teeth removed prior to planned orthodontic treatment.
In other cases, a little more work is required. Depending on the location of the tooth and its condition, your child may need a space maintainer following the extraction, or they might require a partial denture or orthodontic work to restore their smile and optimize their oral health.
Does your child need a tooth extraction?
It can be unnerving at first to discover that your child needs an extraction. However, knowledge is key. The more you know about this common treatment, the less overwhelming it becomes and the easier it is to manage.
It’s important to see a trustworthy and experienced dental team for an extraction. Are you looking for a pediatric dentist near you in Omaha, Hastings, Grand Island, or North Platte, Nebraska? If so, we’d love to become your local dental family. Contact us today to learn more about our practice and to schedule an evaluation for your child.