At Tiny Tooth Pediatric Dentistry, we are committed to preserving your child’s healthy teeth as long as possible and we vow to exhaust all other options before resorting to extracting a tooth.
However, an extraction may be necessary for a variety of reasons, like when a child:
- undergoes dental trauma that has severely damaged the tooth and the dental pulp
- has broken a tooth at the gum line
- has tooth decay has been left untreated, leading to infection
- has gum disease that causes bone destruction and loose teeth
- has an impacted tooth
- is experiencing overcrowding
- needs to make room for orthodontic treatment
By removing the tooth in these cases, we stop oral health problems from becoming worse and we can then work on restoring the tooth. By removing a severely infected tooth, our Columbia team can prevent the infection from spreading.
Deciduous teeth are more prone to tooth decay than adult teeth.
Your child will come in to our office for a consultation with Dr. Su Kim. She will examine their teeth and take x-rays to determine the extent of damage, infection, or other issues. Dr. Kim will determine if extraction is the best course of action.
Wisdom teeth and severely damaged teeth need to be surgically removed. We will administer local anesthesia and then cut into your gums through an incision to reveal the tooth.
Surgical extractions typically involve sectioning the tooth (cutting the tooth into smaller pieces).
An appliance, known as a dental elevator, rocks the tooth back & forth in the socket to sever the ligaments and loosen the tooth.
Upon loosening the tooth, our Columbia team will remove the tooth with forceps. Any incisions will be sutured shut.
Basic extractions involve extracting teeth that have fully erupted through the gums and are visible. The extraction process is simple because we do not need to make any surgical incisions. A dental elevator is used to loosen the tooth and then it is removed with forceps.
Wisdom teeth or teeth that have broken close to the gum line will require surgical removal to reveal access to the tooth. An incision is made at the gums and then we section the tooth into smaller fragments. Additional soft tissue and bone may be cut for easier removal of the tooth. Then, we loosen and remove the tooth in the same way as a basic extraction.
An extracted baby tooth will require the placement of a space maintainer to prevent shifting teeth.
Immediately following a tooth extraction, your child’s mouth will still be numb and they will experience some bleeding at the extraction site. Gauze will be placed at the site of the extraction to stop the bleeding and they will need to bite down on this for 30-60 minutes.
Minimal bleeding may continue for the next 48-72 hours. Regularly change the gauze before it becomes soaked with blood and always dampen it first. Your child should wait until the anesthetic has completely worn off before eating.
For the first few days, they will need to stick to soft foods and drink plenty of fluids. They should chew on the opposite side of their mouth to avoid food getting in the socket. It’s important to form a blood clot at the extraction site and that they do their best to avoid dislodging it.
To avoid developing dry socket, they should avoid all forms of suction, including spitting, drinking from a straw, swishing around liquid in their mouth, and strenuous physical activity for the first 24 hours.
The swelling will peak 2-3 days after the extraction and your child may feel some tenderness or discomfort for a few days. To alleviate this, have them take their prescription medication or age-appropriate over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication.
They should ice the area for about 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, and keep their head elevated. After the first 24 hours, they can rinse their mouth with a saline solution or a mouthwash that is prescribed by us and can resume brushing and flossing their teeth like normal, but remaining careful to avoid the extraction site.
Around 85% of children see the dentist regularly.