Dr. Aka or your child’s orthodontist might determine that your child needs a tooth or several teeth extracted for any number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed or have broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted teeth), or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
The removal of a single tooth can lead to problems related to your chewing ability or shifting teeth, which can have a major impact on your dental health.
To avoid these complications, in most cases, Dr. Aka will discuss the pro’s and con’s of extractions as well as the need for space maintenance.
The Extraction Process
If your child needs to have a tooth (or teeth) extracted, Dr. Aka will determine whether or not he will refer your child to an oral surgeon. Factors involved in the decision-making process can include patient anxiety about the procedure, the expected difficulty of the extraction(s), the length or angulation of the root(s), whether or not teeth are ankylosed, the number of extractions required, etc. Oral surgeons have the instruments, expertise, and techniques available to make even the most challenging of extractions relatively easy. Oral surgeons also have the ability to sedate your child so that they can sleep throughout the extraction(s).
After Tooth Extraction
After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. Bite on a gauze pad for 30 minutes immediately after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times to staunch the flow of blood, and keep in mind that a little bit of blood mixed with a lot of saliva looks like a lot of blood.
After the blood clot forms it is important to not disturb or dislodge the clot. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot and hinder the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours, as this increases blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. If needed have your child take Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen according to manufacturer’s instructions. If your child has post-operative swelling, the swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.
If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
After a few days you should feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately.