Having a tooth extracted can seem scary for children and can leave parents feeling nervous about what to expect. Don’t worry – it’s actually much easier and less painful than tooth extraction for adults.
There are many reasons your child might need to have a baby tooth pulled, including:
- Accidental trauma, causing a fracture beyond repair
- Major decay
- Teeth crowding
- Stubborn baby teeth that are blocking adult teeth
- And more...
Before Tooth Extraction
Leading up to the procedure, try to remain calm and encouraging. Preventing pain for kids surprisingly takes a lot less than with adults. You won’t need to give your child any pain medication before their appointment. This has actually been shown to cause blood-clotting difficulties.
Instead, your pediatric dentist will use a flavored topical ointment on the gums and may choose to also opt for a numbing shot as well. Other factors, including your preference, the age and health of your child, and the dentist’s preference could lead to general anesthesia being another option. However, children generally require less anesthesia than an adult would.
Proceeding with the Procedure
The type of procedure needed depends on the type of extraction needed. If the tooth is visible and easy to remove, the dentist can simply extract the tooth with forceps after the numbing agents are applied.
If the tooth in question is impacted, the dentist will need to remove some of the surrounding gum tissue in order to get to the tooth and remove it. For this type of procedure, your child will need to be numbed with nitrous oxide or sedated via IV.
After the procedure, your dentist will place a small piece of gauze over the socket to help the bleeding to stop and encourage blood clot formation. Ongoing bleeding is normal and you should replace gauze every 20 minutes until the bleeding ceases.
Once you’re home, follow these trusted tips for happy and healthy healing:
- Use over-the-counter or prescribed medication to soothe soreness
- Place an ice pack on any swollen areas for about 20 minutes to decrease inflammation
- Serve only soft foods for the 24 hours after the procedure
- Ensure your child doesn’t spit or drink from a straw - this could dislodge their blood clot
- Continue their normal dental care routine, but brush and floss very gently
- Tell your child to avoid brushing the area of the tooth extraction until it fully heals around the clot
- If your child experiences fever, chills, great pain, or severe swelling call your pediatric dentist immediately
- Follow any additional dental care directions from your dentist.