Pediatric tooth extractions can be performed for many reasons. The most common include:
trauma or disease that is so extensive, the tooth cannot be saved with a root canal, crown or any other approach
to make room for teeth in a mouth that's too crowded, prior to orthodontic treatment
to remove teeth that have become impacted, such as wisdom teeth, and which could wind up causing problems with other teeth or increase the risk for decay
to remove baby teeth that have been delayed in falling out, and which could have an effect on the emergence and spacing of the adult teeth below the baby tooth
Prior to extraction, an x-ray will be taken to assess the tooth and determine the best way to extract it. If your child is feeling anxious, we offer the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to make our patients feel more relaxed. Laughing gas also helps patients when the local anesthetic is placed next to the tooth that needs to be extracted. If a tooth is broken below the gum line or impacted (“stuck” under another tooth or beneath the gum), an incision may need to be made into the gum to access it. In most cases, though, the tooth can be extracted simply by grasping it with a special instrument. Once the extraction is complete, a piece of sterile gauze will be applied to the extraction site to help control bleeding. In some cases, a few sutures might be needed.
Once the local anesthetic wears off, your child may experience some discomfort and minor swelling. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help your child manage discomfort until swelling and pain resolve, usually within a couple of days. Ice packs applied to the cheek and jaw area can also help as can eating soft foods during the initial stages of healing. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection.
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