Children may benefit from tooth extraction for a variety of reasons. The most common reason we recommend pulling a tooth is when a baby tooth refuses to fall out on its own. It’s a quick and easy procedure that can help ensure your child’s smile continues to develop properly.
Children typically begin getting their teeth around the age of one, and baby teeth continue to erupt for a few years until the full set of 20 teeth are in. These baby teeth then start to fall out around the time the child is six or seven. Just as it takes a few years for the baby teeth to erupt, it takes a few years for them to fall out, too. Some kids have stubborn baby teeth that just don’t want to fall out on their own, which can then impact how the permanent teeth erupt. If we believe your child’s permanent teeth may be negatively impacted by a stubborn baby tooth, we may recommend extraction.
Baby teeth that refuse to fall out aren’t the only reason we may recommend extraction, though. While we always make every effort to preserve teeth, some teeth may be damaged beyond repair and the best course of action is to remove them. This can happen when:
- A tooth has extreme dental decay that cannot be repaired properly by a filling, root canal or crown
- A tooth is chipped or cracked beyond repair
Why can’t we just wait for the baby tooth to fall out on its own?
Children lose their teeth at different rates, however, the pattern is generally the same. If your child has baby teeth that just don’t seem to want to fall out on their own, there may be reasons our pediatric dentists recommend extraction.:
- Baby tooth can cause permanent tooth to erupt incorrectly, resulting in orthodontic issue
- Permanent tooth is unable to erupt and becomes impacted
- Permanent tooth is unable to erupt properly and an infection or cyst occurs
What is the process for a dental extraction?
In most cases, dental extraction is quick and easy. After we take a thorough look at your child’s mouth, including taking X-rays and images, we’ll use a local anesthetic to numb the area if needed. Then, we use forceps to gently remove the tooth.
What should we expect after the procedure?
Your child’s mouth will be numb for a couple of hours after the procedure. It is important to make sure your child doesn’t bite or chew on the inside of their cheek during this time as they won’t be able to realize if they are causing injury to themselves. Use cause to prevent any bleeding, and an ice pack can relieve swelling or pain. You can also give your child an over-the-counter pain medication to relieve pain and discomfort. Don’t let your child drink out of a straw, as this can dislodge the blood clot that has formed to stop the bleeding in the extraction area. Stick to soft foods until your child’s mouth has healed.
Tooth extractions can serve several purposes, including preventing orthodontic issues from permanent teeth erupting improperly, and can prevent pain, infection and swelling if your child has severe decay that has gone untreated.