As a pediatric dentist, I am in the profession of saving teeth, but sometimes a kid’s tooth extraction is necessary.
Common Reasons for a Kid’s Tooth Extraction
Most often, teeth are recommended for extraction when there is infection under the tooth (known as an abscess). Another common reason for extraction is when the cavity is so big there is not enough healthy tooth structure left for a filling or crown. Other reasons include extractions for relieving crowding and for orthodontic treatment (Braces).
Won’t These Baby Teeth Just Fall Out?
While baby teeth do fall out between age 6 through 12, there are some instances where these teeth must be removed. The baby molars and canines last the longest and fall out between the ages of 9 through 12. If the tooth is not close to falling out and has a large non-restorable cavity in it, the tooth will be recommended to be removed.
By extracting the tooth in these instances we prevent the child from experiencing pain, swelling, and infection. If ignored, the bacteria causing the cavity penetrates the nerve of the tooth and causes an infection inside the tooth and later in the jaw bone underneath the tooth. At this point, the growing adult tooth can be affected, changing its surface contour or creating discolorations in the forming out layer of the tooth.
Don’t Wait if your Child Complains of Pain….
If your child is complaining of pain, do not wait. Please call your pediatric dentist for an evaluation immediately. If your child reports pain symptoms while consuming food or fluids, this may indicate that your child has a big cavity that is approaching the nerve center of the tooth.
If pain symptoms are spontaneous and random, the cavity has breached the nerve chamber.
If there is swelling on your child’s lip or cheek, the cavity causing bacteria that infected the nerve is now infecting the bone underneath the tooth. In extreme cases, tooth infections have been the cause for hospitalizations and can be life-threatening if ignored.
Tooth Extractions at Jr. Smiles®
It is our priority that your child is as comfortable as possible during the extraction procedure. Routinely we provide your child with laughing gas (conscious sedation) . This reduces anxiety in our children and alters their pain perception. If you would like to learn more please see our blog on Kids Dental Sedation Methods.. We then paint on topical anesthetic jelly to start the numbing process. Lastly we apply local anesthesia to the area to complete the numbing process. While your child is getting numb, our doctors and assistants will explain to your child what they will experience through our Tell-Show-Do Technique. After a few minutes, the doctor will remove the tooth as gently as possible and provide you with post operative instructions.
What to Do After an Extraction
Your child will be numb for 2 hours after the procedure. The Doctor will typically advise you to give children’s pain medication as soon as you get home while the numbness is still active.
For routine extractions, your child will only need pain medication for the first day. The doctor will also instruct you to avoid sipping on straws or spitting for 24 hours. Please keep to a soft diet and avoid hot, spicy, or acidic foods.
If you have any questions or think your child may need an extraction, please contact Junior Smiles Children’s Dentistry® for a consultation appointment at 303-455-3313.