Occasionally, for some of our patients a dental extraction may be necessary depending on a number of factors. As a parent this can not only be scary for your child, but also very stressful for yourself as extractions can conjure up uncomfortable thoughts. However, with the advent of pediatric dental technology, in addition to years of experience, extractions are not nearly as scary or painful as pop culture can make them out to be.
A large portion of making the process go smoother is both education for the parent and strong communication skills between the parent and their child. By going through the resources we have below, you will be better prepared when your child may need a dental extraction.
What are Tooth Extractions?
A dental extraction is the complete removal of a tooth from its socket. These tooth extractions are necessary when a tooth is physically broke or so badly damaged by decay that it is beyond repair and is causing too much pain or a danger to the other teeth surrounding it.
When is a Tooth Extraction Needed?
Pediatric dentists and Dr. Dan will always try their best to avoid the need for extractions. Based on their conservative approach, they will try to assist children with as much preventative care as possible. When decay occurs alternatives that pediatric dentists will consider include fillings, sealants and/or crowns. However, sometimes a tooth is so badly damaged that it cannot be repaired and must be extracted.
There are also other reasons that can occur which may call for a child needing extraction. These include:
- Extra teeth that is causing crowding or misalignment of teeth
- Baby teeth that has not fallen out, blocking eruption of permanent teeth
- Preparation for orthodontic treatment to allow for teeth to straighten
When it comes to extractions, your pediatric dentist, and in this case, Dr. Dan will walk through the full diagnosis and the reasons why a dental extraction may be needed. Dr. Dan will always keep your child’s oral health as the number one priority, but will also work with families who may be a little nervous about going through an extraction.
The Dental Extraction Process
X-Rays and Evaluation: Before the extraction, Dr. Dan, or your pediatric dentist, will do a full evaluation of the tooth in question. They will analyze the x-rays taken to understand the best way to remove the tooth.
Numbing: Once a plan is in place to best remove a tooth, Dr. Dan and his dental hygienist team will numb the area around the tooth to be extracted with a local anesthetic.
Extraction: Depending on if the extraction is a simple or surgical (complex) extraction, will change the way a extraction proceeds. If a simple extraction is needed, the pediatric dentist will use an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth and then forceps are used to remove the tooth. If a complex extraction is needed, the surrounding gum tissue will also be removed along with the tooth.
For complex extractions, nitrous oxide may be needed, which Dr. Dan will walk through with you if needed.
The most important part about the dental extraction process is to remember that patients should feel pressure, but no pain. If there is pain, the patient should tell their pediatric dentist who will immediately adjust so that there is no pain.
After Extraction Care
After the extraction is complete, there will still be a couple days of discomfort for the child, so below are recommendations to follow for parents when caring for their child after an extraction.
Once the procedure is complete, Dr. Dan and the team will provide a gauze to be applied to the extracted area. These gauzes will help stop the bleeding until a blood clot forms. Until then, we recommend replacing the gauze with a new one every 20 minutes. Once the bleeding has stopped, there will be no need for the gauze.
There can occasionally be swelling in the area around the extracted area. If this is the case, apply ice to the swollen area for 20 minutes to help keep the swelling down.
Over the Counter Medication
If there is soreness or pain, parents can provide children with over the counter or prescribe medication to help ease discomfort.
This will become obvious once the extraction is complete, but for the day or two after the procedure, provide soft foods for your child. The less movement of the jaw the better!
Straws need to be avoided the day after an extraction as a straw can poke at the extracted area and disrupt the blood clot, leading to more bleeding.
After an extraction, Dr. Dan and the pediatric dental team will sit down with you to walk through care. This is the perfect time to ask a lot of questions and go over things to avoid while the extraction area heals.