It’s an exciting time when your child starts losing their baby teeth. It’s a sign that your baby is growing up.
What should you do, though, if your child has difficulty losing some of their teeth? That may be a sign to call your child’s pediatric dentist for some assistance.
If a child’s tooth is being stubborn and not exfoliating when it’s supposed to, it can lead to malocclusion issues, including:
Not only does this impact how your child’s teeth look, but it can also increase their risk of decay and gum disease, partly because it’s more difficult to thoroughly clean crooked, crowded teeth.
Another reason why we might need to extract a baby tooth is because of trauma or deep decay. If the child falls or gets hit in the face, the impact might pop a tooth out. Or if they have deep decay, it might be impossible to restore the tooth because so much tooth structure would be gone once we removed the decay.
If we need to remove a baby tooth before it’s scheduled to naturally exfoliate, we will place a space maintainer. This is a device that fits around the tooth adjacent to the one that was extracted. Attached to the device is a bar or loop that fits in the space where the tooth used to be, preventing the two adjacent teeth from shifting to fill the space. This will allow the adult tooth to come in properly when it’s time.
During the extraction appointment, we’ll start by numbing the tooth and surrounding gum tissue. Then, we’ll use forceps to gently rock the tooth back and forth until it comes out. Extracting a baby tooth is typically easier than extracting an adult tooth because the roots are much shorter. Once the procedure is over, we’ll have your child bite down on some gauze until the bleeding stops.
If your child is especially anxious, we can administer nitrous oxide (laughing gas). The nitrous will help relax your child, so the experience doesn’t feel quite so scary.
Baby teeth aren’t the only teeth that kids need to have extracted. They might need to have an adult tooth extracted if they:
Some bleeding is totally normal after an extraction. We’ll provide you with extra gauze so you can change it occasionally until the bleeding stops.
A clot will form in the socket. Do not allow your child to rinse their mouth or suck through a straw, as this could dislodge the clot.
Some gum soreness is normal for a few days after the procedure. Gently rinsing with warm salt water can help, as can using an ice pack if there’s any swelling.
Dr. Kristi Seibel earned her DMD degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. After working some years as a general dentist, Dr. Seibel returned to Tufts to specialize in her first love, pediatric dentistry. Her training included treating children, young adults, and special needs patients at New England Medical Center, the Cotting School, and Brookline Dept. of Health Dental Clinic.
Dr. Thaker is passionate about providing the highest quality of dental care to children in the most comfortable atmosphere possible. Dr. Thaker has continued her education by taking several courses throughout the years to stay informed about the newest and most proven research and developments in the field of pediatric dentistry.
We understand that seeing your child go through an extraction can be scary for you both. We want to assure you that our entire team understands how you feel. None of us want to see your child in pain. Our team will treat them with the utmost care and ensure they’re comfortable throughout the procedure. We also hope that the extra training our dentists received to become board-certified pediatric dentists will provide some peace of mind as well. Our training helps us provide your child with exceptional, compassionate care.