For children between the ages of 6 and 12, losing their baby teeth is a rite of passage. During those years, most children lose all their baby teeth and grow their adult teeth. Typically, a child loses about 20 teeth between the ages of 6 and 12.
While these teeth normally fall out on their own, there are some instances when a tooth might need an extraction. In these cases, it is crucial to see a dentist right away instead of forcibly removing the teeth at home.
Healthy baby teeth are designed to fall out and will usually do so on their own, in their own time. Pulling an otherwise healthy baby tooth or one that is slightly loose can break the tooth or irritate the gums. If your child needs to have a stubborn tooth pulled out, there are a few things to know before you head to the dentist’s office.
Reasons A Child Would Need A Tooth Pulled
Wisdom teeth aren’t the only teeth that can become impacted. A dentist may decide to surgically extract baby teeth for various reasons. In some cases, another tooth might be unable to break through the gum line, meaning the best course of action is to remove it surgically.
The following are some of the most common reasons a child might need a tooth extraction procedure.
In some cases, a child’s lack of dental care may result in significant decay. For example, eating too many sweets, not brushing regularly, and stuck food particles can severely deteriorate a child’s oral health.
A dentist can remove a decayed tooth to protect the other teeth around it. Typically, dentists will only pull a decayed baby tooth if there is no other way to save it.
The dentist might also put a space saver in the area where the decayed baby tooth was. This is to ensure that the adult tooth has room to come in. This depends on how old the child is and how far they are from having their permanent teeth come in.
Infection or abscess
It can be uncomfortable, especially during their growing years. Stuck food particles and bacteria can lead to infections and abscesses.
A child with a dental infection might find it hard to breathe if an inflamed swelling near the lower teeth blocks the airway. In worse-case scenarios, upper teeth abscesses can lead to inflammation reaching the brain.
Swelling and oral pain are the main symptoms of infection or abscesses. If your child is experiencing these problems, make sure to take them to a dentist right away.
Another reason for dentists to pull a primary tooth is if it is damaged due to circumstances such as an injury or accident. Trauma to the mouth can cause a baby tooth to crack or break. Some examples are:
- Getting hit with a ball while playing sports
- Getting knocked in the mouth while roughhousing
- Falling and damaging a tooth
- Knocking a tooth during a car accident
Depending on the severity of the damage, removing the tooth might be the best option.
Teeth removal to make space
Finally, some baby teeth might need to be removed because they won’t fall out on their own. A child needs room in their mouth for permanent teeth to grow.
Usually, dentists remove the canine teeth on the top of the mouth or the incisors on the bottom of the mouth to make way for the adult teeth.
Removing the baby teeth might make sufficient room for the permanent teeth to come in, but in some cases, additional dental work is needed to coax the canine or incisor into place.
Is This A Dental Emergency?
During these formative years, toothaches, swelling, and oral inflammation can turn out to be quite serious. Dental injuries occur in 1 out of 3 children.
If not treated quickly, dental injuries and oral trauma can have lasting effects. If you do not treat your child’s cavity issues right away, it can lead to gum disease, oral infections, and eventually, tooth loss.
Toothaches can also be severe enough to make children lose sleep and not eat properly. They might find it difficult to concentrate on studies or play outside due to persistent oral pain.
If there are cavities and bacteria inside the mouth, they can cause the baby’s teeth to decay. Moreover, they can also proceed to harm permanent teeth and the gums. It is always the best option to treat your child’s dental problems promptly and save them years of oral health issues in the future.
Other Available Alternatives
A dentist only extracts baby teeth in case of an emergency. It is dangerous to opt for premature extraction as this can lead to complications with adult teeth later on.
In case of cavity risks, the best thing to do is to teach your child about good dental habits. Making sure they brush daily and cutting back on excessive sweets can help keep dental problems in check.
Adequate calcium intake, proper oral habits, and timely visits to the dentist can help your child stay away from dental issues that cause the need for immediate teeth extraction.
How To Get Your Child Ready For A Tooth Extraction
If your child isn’t a fan of going to the dentist, they probably won’t be thrilled to have a tooth pulled. Mentally preparing them before their dental visit can help to keep them calm during the procedure.
Help them understand anesthesia
Try to explain the procedure to your child so that they know what will happen in the dentist’s chair. If your child is going to receive general anesthesia, you can tell them that they will be asleep and won’t feel anything while the dentist takes out the problem tooth.
If the extraction only involves a local anesthetic, explain that your child will be awake but won’t feel anything during the process. Let them know that you’ll be right there by their side during the whole thing. You might want to bring along a special toy or stuffed animal to comfort your child during the process.
Sedation is available but the specific options available vary according to the child’s age. Appropriate sedation can help a child feel less stressed or anxious during the teeth extraction procedure. Once they are calmer, the dentist can begin the removal process.
After The Tooth Is Pulled
Usually, the dentist will pack the area of the extraction with some gauze, which absorbs any blood and helps with healing. Tell your child not to chew on the gauze, swallow it, or try to take it out of their mouth. Help them keep the gauze over the surgical area for at least two hours to staunch any bleeding.
When it comes to eating after surgery, start slowly. About an hour after the procedure, start giving your child clear liquids, such as water, Sprite, or a sports drink. After several hours, your child might be able to tolerate something a bit heavier, such as ice cream or yogurt.
Continue to stick to soft foods for several more days. Your child should avoid any foods that can irritate the surgical site, such as spicy or hot foods, salty snacks, and acidic foods until it’s well healed.
Contact Dr. John Paul Gallardo Today
If you are concerned about the state of your child’s teeth or want to know more about your options when it comes to tooth extraction, Dr. John Paul Gallardo is happy to help. He provides routine extractions and the removal of impacted teeth in Miami. He can examine your child’s teeth and recommend the best option for their overall well-being. For an appointment, call (305) 547-8896 today!