The Truth About Tooth Extractions for Children

pediatric dentist

Bringing in your child for a dental visit can be stressful enough – but even more so when the procedure is a daunting one. Fortunately, Snodgrass-King Dental is here for parents during this stressful time in their lives.

Today, we’re going to talk about tooth extractions for children and everything that’s involved in the process.

First, let’s start with some basics.

Tooth Extraction

Generally speaking, tooth extraction is a procedure during which your dentist removes a tooth to fix an underlying dental problem.

Here are some common reasons why a child might need a tooth extraction:

Tooth Decay

As you might expect, children are often very prone to developing cavities. Considering that many small children do not yet understand the importance of good brushing (or simply don’t know how), this is not surprising. Sugary drinks and frequent snacking also contribute to the development of plaque.

Most often, these cavities can be filled and have few complications. Occasionally, however, a cavity can be bad enough that the tooth cannot be saved. In these cases, your pediatric dentist may recommend a tooth extraction.

Orthodontic Concerns

Another common reason for tooth extractions is orthodontic problems. For example, a very extreme overbite or underbite may require tooth extraction to fix it.

Over-Retention of Baby Teeth

Another likely, and somewhat expected reason for tooth extraction is the over-retention of a baby tooth. In other words, your child’s baby teeth did not fall out within a reasonable amount of time. 

Keep in mind that not every over-retained tooth is a problem. Often, your dentist will recommend waiting until the tooth falls out on its own.

Oral Trauma

One of the least likely reasons for tooth extraction is acute trauma. For example, your child has an accident during soccer that damages a tooth to such an extent that it must be extracted.

Tooth Extraction Procedure

tooth extraction

In the event that your pediatric dentist does recommend a tooth extraction, try not to panic. Although it may sound scary, tooth extractions are a very commonly performed procedure in the US. 

Here is what the procedure itself might look like:

Baby Tooth Extraction

First off, before doing anything, your dentist will first do a full examination of your child’s teeth and explain the purpose of the procedure.

Before the extraction itself, your dentist will most likely administer a local anesthetic for your child’s comfort.

If the extraction is a simple one, and the tooth is clearly visible, your dentist will probably only need to loosen the tooth and pull it right out.

In the case of an impacted tooth that is hidden underneath the gums, a surgical extraction may be required. For these situations, your dentist or oral surgeon will work with you to develop the best plan of action for your child’s specific needs.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Unlike a baby tooth extraction, wisdom teeth are extracted at an older age. Your dentist will most likely perform x-rays in order to determine the position of your child’s wisdom teeth. If a wisdom tooth appears impacted, your dentist will likely recommend an extraction. Please note that some dental experts also recommend proactive wisdom teeth removal to prevent possible future complications.

Fortunately, however, this issue typically pops up during your child’s teen years, so you may not have to worry about wisdom teeth quite yet.

What Is The Best Wisdom Teeth Removal Age?

The best age for wisdom tooth removal is the age when the patient needs it the most. For many patients, the best age to get their wisdom teeth extracted is between the ages of 17 and 20. However, some patients might need their wisdom teeth extracted as early as age 14. Ultimately, if your wisdom teeth are causing problems or leading to problems for you, then it’s a good time to get them removed.

Child Tooth Extraction Recovery

Following the procedure, your child’s dentist will give both of you instructions for after-care. The most important thing is to monitor your child’s healing process and let your dentist know right away if anything seems off.

Tooth Extraction Cost

According to Humana, tooth extraction can cost anywhere from $75 to $800, depending on the exact type of extraction.

A simple tooth extraction will be on the lower side of the scale, while a wisdom tooth extraction will cost considerably more. Generally speaking, any surgical procedure will cost more than a simple wiggle and pull.

The best way to find out the exact cost of your procedure is to ask your dental office. Most dental offices are more than happy to provide you with an estimate.

The other factor to consider is insurance. Always call and ask your insurance company what they’re able to cover under your policy. Then, double-check with your dental office just to be sure. Keep in mind that some insurance plans have in-network and out-of-network providers, which can have a drastic effect on how much of your bill is covered.

Tooth Extraction Aftercare

One of the biggest challenges to any dental procedure is actually the aftercare. Remember that letting the wound heal properly is imperative to preventing infection and other dental complications.

Always make sure to ask your child’s dentist for post-care instructions. These will most likely include keeping the area clean, brushing your teeth, and avoiding hard foods for a few days. Another important tip is to avoid using straws or anything else that can cause your child to create a sucking motion. This can dislodge the blood clot healing over their wound.

Soft Foods For Child After Tooth Extraction

foods to eat after tooth extraction

We know that children can be picky – and dietary restrictions certainly don’t make it any easier. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and compiled a small list of foods you can feed your child while they recover from their tooth extraction.

  • Soups and Broths
  • Smoothies
  • Applesauce
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Avocado (mashed into a paste).
  • Hummus

As well as other soft foods that don’t require heavy chewing.

Commonly Asked Questions

We hope this article helped youbetter understand what to expect during your child’s first tooth extraction. If you still have a few questions left, however, here are some commonly asked Q&A’s.

What Can I Eat After Tooth Extraction?

Following a tooth extraction, your dentist will typically recommend abstaining from any hard or particularly chewy foods. Try to opt for soft foods such as smoothies instead.

Keep in mind that it is very important that the human body continues receiving all necessary nutrients while the healing occurs. This is especially importantregarding children, so  make sure to keep track of your child’s eating habits for a few days following the procedure.

In addition to this, it’s also important not to dislodge the blood clot that forms over the wound. This means no sucking or poking at the healing area for at least 24-48 hours post-procedure.

When Can I Eat Solid Food After Tooth Extraction?

The best way to know for sure would be to check with your dentist before or after the procedure. Try to write down any other after-care instructions as well, and don’t forget to follow your dentist’s order to the T.

How Long Does Pain Last After Tooth Extraction?

Some achiness is expected after tooth extraction. Generally speaking, most of the pain and discomfort should begin fading within a few days of your extraction. If your child experiences discomfort for longer than a week (or if anything generally seems off), make sure to let your pediatric dentist know as soon as possible.

How Long Does A Wisdom Tooth Extraction Take?

A wisdom tooth extraction will typically take less than an hour to complete.

Pediatric Dentist In Tennessee

Are you looking for a pediatric dentist in the Middle Tennessee area? We’d love to help! Here at Snodgrass-King Dental, we offer a variety of dental services for adults and children alike.

Our team of highly-qualified providers is more than equipped to meet all of your oral healthcare needs. Snodgrass-King offers everything from minor procedures such as sealants and fillings to more complicated procedures such as wisdom teeth extractions.

Most importantly, however, our providers are specially trained in pediatric dentistry and have many years of experience under their belt. Not only will your child be able to walk out of our office with healthy teeth, but they’ll feel good about their experience.

As for adult dental services, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered there as well. Snodgrass-King offers check-ups, cleanings, whitening, crowns, and a multitude of other adult dental services. This way, you can sit down for your appointment while your child sits down for theirs.

Go online today to request your appointment – we look forward to seeing you in our office.