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Pediatric Dental Extractions: Frequently Asked Questions

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As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your child's smile. However, there will be times when your child might require a pediatric tooth extraction, which can be uncomfortable for your child and stressful for you. If your younger child is facing a tooth extraction for whatever reason, here are some answers to a few frequently asked questions you might have about the process and recovery of a pediatric dental extraction.

Why Does Your Child Need a Tooth Extraction?

There are several reasons why your child might require one or multiple tooth extractions, including:

  • To prepare your older child for braces. If your child's mouth is too small to properly accommodate their teeth or your child is having braces fitted on their teeth, your dentist might recommend a tooth extraction.
  • Extreme tooth decay. If your child's tooth is severely decayed and cannot be saved by a root canal, your child might require a tooth extraction.
  • Damage or trauma to the tooth. When a tooth is broken or severely cracked and once again a root canal is not possible, getting an extraction is an option.

Another common reason why a child might require an extraction is because their baby tooth or teeth are not coming out and the adult teeth are trying to push through. This is a condition called an over-retained baby tooth.

What Will Happen During the Procedure?

Before the extraction, the dentist will perform a physical examination of the affected tooth or teeth to determine which type of extraction is necessary to safely remove the entire tooth. For example, if the tooth is not severely damaged and only has a single root, the dentist can typically perform a simple extraction.

A simple extraction involves numbing the affected area before removing the tooth in the office. However, if the tooth is broken into several pieces and cannot be easily removed or if there are multiple roots coming from the tooth into the gums, a surgical extraction is necessary. This will require the assistance of an oral surgeon, and your child will need to be sedated as an incision will be made to completely remove the tooth.

How Can You Help Your Child Recover from a Tooth Extraction?

Your child will be uncomfortable after the extraction. Make sure your child is able to rest and is provided with any pain medications and antibiotics prescribed by the dentist. Use an ice pack to reduce the swelling and only give your child soft foods for several days after the procedure to prevent irritation and ensure the extraction site heals properly.

From severe decay to a baby tooth that simply refuses to fall out on its own, there are several reasons why your child might require a tooth extraction. Contact a local children's dentist to learn more.