Pediatric tooth extractions can be nerve wracking for both your child and you, regardless of if it's your younger child or your teen that needs the tooth pulled. Fortunately, the procedure is usually routine and there is little need to worry. The following guide can answer some of your questions about a pediatric extraction.
Does extraction indicate a dental hygiene issue?
This depends on the reason for the extraction. Some extractions, such as for wisdom teeth in teens, have nothing to do with poor hygiene. Removal of baby teeth that are impeding the the proper emergence of the adult teeth are another example of a non-hygiene related extraction. In some cases, a child may need an extraction because of major tooth decay that has destroyed the root. This can sometimes be due to hygiene, while in other cases medication or genetics could be the cause. If it is hygiene related, your dentist will discuss with you the best practices going forward so your child can avoid future extractions.
Will my child require anesthesia for the procedure?
Anesthesia isn't used for all extractions. Baby teeth, for example, often come out easily if the adult teeth are close to emerging. In this case, the dentist will likely only use a numbing agent on the area to minimize discomfort. Wisdom and adult tooth extractions will usually use some form of local anesthesia. The dentist may also recommend a "sleep" anesthesia for more involved extractions or when working with very young children. These don't put the child out completely, but they won't have any memory of the procedure.
Is pain going to be an issue after the extraction?
Baby teeth may cause minor discomfort after extraction, but it's typically no worse than if the tooth was lost naturally. There may be a little swelling and discomfort, which can be treated with an over-the-counter children's pain reliever. Adult tooth removal may have more pain. Wisdom teeth in particular can require recovery time, and your child may even require stitches. For adult teeth, you will want to use an ice pack to keep down the swelling and give the dentist-recommended pain relievers. You will also need to help your child avoid dry socket, which is nerve pain caused by the loss of the protective blood clot after extraction. To avoid this, don't allow your child to use a straw or to spit, and only give them soft food for the first few days.
Most children bounce back quickly from an extraction, even if it is a wisdom tooth removal. Talk to your dentist if you have further concerns. Contact a clinic like Kids First Pediatric Dentistry to learn more.