A guide to tooth extractions for kids- when they are necessary, after-care supports fast healing

Generally speaking, all teeth (including baby teeth!) are essential. Baby teeth serve as placeholders for adult teeth, ensuring that the emerging teeth are correctly positioned. However, there are some instances when tooth extractions may be necessary – even for kids. For example, Dr. Summer at Innovative Dental Care in Omaha, Nebraska, may recommend the removal of the teeth to prepare the mouth for orthodontic treatment. Also, not all badly damaged or severely decayed teeth can be “saved.” In these and other cases, she can gently, painlessly, precisely, and quickly remove the tooth. Depending on the reason for the extraction, and the specific tooth that is affected, we will want to move forward with tooth replacement as soon as possible.

To ensure healing goes off without a hitch, we also provide clear instructions on caring for your child’s teeth after the procedure. Care typically includes:

  • Holding gauze to the extraction site. Replace the gauze every 20 minutes or so.
  • Assuring your child doesn’t bite, scratch, or injure the cheek, lips, and tongue while the mouth is still numb.
  • Taking great care not to disturb the extraction site. Behaviors such as spitting, rinsing, and using straws can dislodge the blood clot that forms at the site, leading to a painful condition called “dry socket.”
  • Urging your child to drink as much as possible (again, without a straw).
  • Feed your child cold soft foods to start, working your way up to firmer foods as tolerated. Good options range from puddings to ice cream.
  • Again, avoid disrupting the extraction site. Don’t probe the area or rinse with mouthwash. You may use warm salt water as directed.
  • Your child should avoid vigorous exercise and physical activity and only return to “normal” activities as tolerated in the days following.
  • Provide pain-relieving medications as prescribed and instructed by Dr. Summer and as needed for your child.
  • Slight swelling and fever are not uncommon during the first 48 hours. Watch for persistent swelling (after 48 hours) and higher or persistent fever. Also, intense throbbing pain on the third to the fifth day of recovery can signify dry socket and require prompt attention.

At Innovative Dental Care, we make every effort to stay ahead of problems that could lead to the need for extractions and restorative dentistry. If it’s been a while since you or your child have seen a dentist, we urge you to contact us without delay today. Please schedule an appointment at our office by calling (402) 933-8005.