Your dentist may determine that your child needs a tooth extracted for a number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed, others may have advanced periodontal disease, or have broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted teeth), or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
The removal of a single tooth can lead to problems related to your chewing ability, problems with your jaw joint, and shifting teeth, which can have a major impact on your dental health.
In most cases your dentist will discuss alternatives to extraction, as well as possible replacement of the extracted tooth.
The Extraction Process
At the time of extraction the doctor will need to numb the tooth, jaw bone and gums that surround the area with a local anesthetic.
During the extraction process your child will feel a lot of pressure. This is from the process of firmly rocking the tooth in order to widen the socket for removal.
The anesthetic has numbed the nerves stopping the transference of pain, yet the nerves that transmit pressure are not profoundly affected.
After Tooth Extraction
After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. Bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes immediately after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes.
After the blood clot forms it is important to not disturb or dislodge the clot. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot and hinder the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours, as this increases blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After the tooth is extracted your child may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.
Use pain medication as directed. Call our office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the extraction.
It is important to resume your child’s normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing their teeth at least twice a day. This will speed healing and help keep the mouth fresh and clean.
After a few days your child should feel fine and can resume normal activities. If your child has heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately.