Why Does My Child Need a Tooth Extraction?

August 11, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drlindasteele @ 9:59 pm
Laughing child

Children can expect to lose their first set of teeth naturally, but needing a baby or adult tooth extracted can be an unpleasant surprise. While undesirable, sometimes dental emergencies can make tooth extractions necessary for children. Read on to learn about what dental issues can require the removal of a child’s tooth and how you can help your little one be prepared for the procedure.

When Is Tooth Extraction Necessary for a Child?

Children naturally lose their first set of teeth, but a baby tooth won’t become loose before the permanent one below pushes its way through the gums. There are some cases that require a pediatric dentist to pull a primary tooth before the permanent one is ready to come in, though most will only do so as a last resort. The most likely reasons for extraction are:

  • Tooth decay beyond what a filling or a root canal can repair.
  • Damage that a crown or cosmetic bonding cannot fix.
  • Overcrowding that might lead to problems in the developing jaw.
  • To make room for braces.

A tooth being extracted too early can potentially lead to problems with a child’s speech, chewing, and alignment, so any other treatment available would generally be preferable. If a dentist must remove baby teeth, they will sometimes place a space maintainer in the gap to ensure there will still be room for the permanent tooth when it comes in.

How Can I Help My Child Be Prepared for the Procedure?

Simple extractions will require only a local anesthetic and can often be performed by a general dentist, but more complex extractions will involve nitrous oxide or IV sedation and may require a specialized dental surgeon. While you would want your child to understand what to expect during the procedure, you wouldn’t want to scare your child while explaining it. The best way to prepare your child for the extraction might be to take them to the dental office beforehand so that the dentist can explain how it will go. You could also ask the office staff for tips on how to talk to your child about it.

How Should I Care for My Child Afterward?

Your child’s recovery from an extraction may be painful, so your dentist will probably prescribe a pain reliever or recommend an over-the-counter alternative. You will need to make sure that gauze is kept on the surgical site until the bleeding stops. Your child should get plenty of rest while keeping their head elevated until blood clots form, which facilitates healing. While feeding them a strict ice cream diet might be tempting, make sure they get plenty of water and soft nutritious foods for the first few days after the procedure.

It might seem daunting for both you and your child if you’ve been informed that they need one or more of their teeth extracted, but it is not the end of the world. While it might be unpleasant now, doing what is necessary can protect your child’s oral health in the long run. That’s something to smile about.

About the Author

Dr. Linda Steele earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery at Baylor College of Dentistry and has served as a dentist for nearly thirty years. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Texas Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the Southwestern Society of Pediatric Dentistry. Her office in Coppell, TX, provides pediatric services such as general, restorative, and emergency dentistry including extractions. If you suspect your child might need an extraction, contact her online or dial (972) 315-3355.

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