As scary as they may sound, dental extractions are no big deal and our pediatric dentist performs them regularly. Though most baby teeth fall out naturally, there are situations where a manual tooth extraction can be beneficial to your child’s dental health. Baby teeth aren’t permanent anyway, so extracting a tooth can be helpful for maintaining space in the mouth or preventing infection. Learn more about what a tooth extraction entails and whether your little one may need the procedure below!

When would my child need a dental extraction?

Sometimes, a dental extraction is necessary even for pediatric dental patients. An extraction is the complete surgical removal of a tooth. Extractions are sometimes necessary if:

  • A primary tooth is preventing the normal eruption of a permanent tooth. This is the most common type of tooth extraction in our pediatric dental practice, as most of our patients are young and in the process of losing their primary teeth to make room for their permanent teeth.
  • The tooth has suffered extensive tooth decay or trauma that cannot be repaired. This is less common in younger children because they have not been using and damaging their teeth for very long, but this level of decay can result from significant cavities or poor oral hygiene. Tooth damage from accidents that can occur during activities like sports and bike rides and result in emergency trips to the dentist can also lead to your child requiring an extraction procedure.
  • The tooth is impacted – this is usually the case with the third molars, or “wisdom teeth,” as they erupt years after the other teeth and often have insufficient room in the jaw. Wisdom teeth are typically not extracted until the patient’s late teens or early twenties. Many patients in their late teens or later are advised or required to have their wisdom teeth extracted before they get their braces on.

Depending on the complexity of the patient’s situation, an extraction can be performed surgically or nonsurgically. In any case, at minimum, a mild anesthesia is used to ensure the patient is as comfortable as possible throughout their extraction procedure.

Because we are pediatric dentists, we are specifically equipped to work with young patients who may have some apprehension about oral procedures. We are sure to work with both the patient and the parent or guardian to ensure that everyone understands the situation and is well prepared for the procedure and the healing process.

How do I prepare my child for the procedure?

In order to prepare for the procedure, your child’s pediatric dentist will take x-rays of the tooth area in order to fully and thoroughly evaluate the situation. At this point, they will be able to determine whether or not the extraction can be performed as a simple or surgical procedure. If your child is concerned about the pain of having a tooth extracted or being under the anesthesia, we will be able to explain how the process works and put their mind at ease. Luckily, due to the anesthesia, the patient should not feel any pain during the procedure, though they may feel a slight pressure.

What happens after the tooth extraction?

After the extraction is complete, it is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the healing process goes smoothly and quickly. The pediatric dentist will provide you with gauze to apply to the affected area to curb the bleeding until a blood clot forms. Be sure to replace the gauze often to keep everything clean and effective. Once the wound is healed enough for the bleeding to stop, the gauze will no longer be necessary. If swelling occurs, you can ice the area intermittently for 20 minutes at a time.

For a couple of days after the procedure, be sure to have your child eat only soft foods, avoid straws, and keep the area very clean. Once the healing is complete, they will be back on their way to a great smile!