A dentist’s main goal is to preserve your child’s natural teeth and keep them healthy for as long as possible. There are times, however, when it is in your child’s best interest to have a tooth extracted (removed). This could be the case for a variety of reasons. Perhaps your child has a tooth that’s been severely damaged by trauma or decay; or an adolescent with an impacted wisdom tooth that is causing them some discomfort. Maybe your teenager will eventually undergo orthodontic treatment and has insufficient space for their adult teeth, which is normally referred to as crowding. Or your younger child still has a baby tooth that needs to be removed so that his/her permanent tooth could emerge. Whatever the reason, tooth extraction is more often than not a very routine procedure. How straightforward this minor surgery is will depend on where the tooth to be extracted is located in the mouth, and what its roots look like. For example, a front tooth with a single straight root is easier to remove than a molar with multiple roots.
The process of extracting a tooth:
The first step would be for your dentist to perform a complete examination to assess the position of the tooth’s root and the condition of the surrounding bone. The dentist will need to take an x-ray to make an accurate assessment of the tooth below the gum level. This will allow for any possible complication to be anticipated. A complete medical history will be taken to ensure that your child is healthy enough to undergo the procedure. The dentist, or a professional member of his/her staff, will also discuss the options for anesthesia. Tooth extraction is usually carried out with local anesthesia, which will numb the tooth to be removed, and the surrounding bone and gum tissues. Other sedatives might be recommended, such as oral sedatives (taken in pill form) or nitrous oxide (which is inhaled) and/or conscious sedation, which are given intravenously (into a vein) for the extraction of wisdom teeth. The latter is usually required for more complicated (or multiple) tooth extractions.
What to expect after a tooth extraction:
Bleeding is typical after a tooth has been extracted. This may last for only about a day. A small piece of gauze will be applied to the area of the tooth extraction. This should be kept in place long enough for the blood to clot. It is important for the child’s mouth to be kept as clean as possible during the healing period. Have your child rinse their mouth with salt water several times a day. If any additional swelling occurs, or if the child begins to feel ill, or comes down with a fever, then be certain to call your dentist immediately. Children’s Tylenol, or Ibuprofen, could be given for your child’s pain after an extraction. However, it is best if these are not used until the blood clot has formed. Apply a bag of ice to the outside of the child’s jaw to keep swelling to a minimum and to aid in numbing.
Call us if you have any questions and/or regarding your post-op instructions given by our office.