What to Expect When a Tooth Extraction is Performed on Your Child

child's first dentist appointment, child’s tooth extraction

So the dentist says the tooth has gotta go. Why does it seem like you’re more nervous for your child’s tooth extraction than you would be for yours?  Not to worry.  It’s actually much easier – and less painful – for a child than for an adult.

BEFORE THE TOOTH IS PULLED

Surprisingly, preventing pain takes a lot less for kids than adults. (So why does a skinned knee result in 30 minutes of wailing?!)  Your dentist will most certainly use a flavorful topical numbing ointment on the gums, and they might possibly opt for a shot as well.  Other factors, including your preference, the age and health of the child, and the dentist’s preference, a general anesthesia may be used.  However, children generally require less anesthesia than an adult would.

Do not give your child any pain medication before their appointment, as this has been shown to cause blood clotting difficulties.

THAT TOOTH IS COMING OUT

Here’s the nitty gritty about the procedure:

The dentist will use an elevator to wedge between the tooth and the bone surrounding it to expand the socket and separate its ligament.

Then they’ll use the extraction forceps to manipulate the tooth from side to side and rotate it to further the socket expansion and ligament separation. This helps the tooth come out of the socket in its entirety.

BREATHE EASY. IT’S OVER.

Bleeding is typical.  After all, your child did just have a tooth ripped from its socket. This should only last for about a day. The dentist will apply a small piece of gauze to the socket.  Leave it there long enough for the blood to clot.

It’s important to keep the mouth as clean and sterile as possible while it heals. Try having your child rinse out their mouth with saltwater several times a day.

You can also give your child children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen, if the dentist does not prescribe a specific painkiller. Don’t use these until after the blood clot has formed though.

Apply a bag of ice (or frozen veggies – whatever’s easiest) to the outside of the jaw to reduce swelling and numb the pain.

If any additional swelling occurs or your child spikes a fever, call the dentist immediately, as they could be signs of an infection.

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