When is Tooth Extraction in Children Necessary?

May 3, 2021

Dentists do not advocate for tooth extractions unless it has been determined as the best chance you have for a healthy smile. It could be that the tooth is severely damaged or infected to the point that it is impossible to restore. There is, of course, an exception to this rule; sometimes, a healthy tooth may have to be removed if the patient has a crowded mouth that is interfering with proper teeth alignment. Extraction usually involves completely pulling the tooth with its roots from the socket.

Tooth extraction in pediatric dentistry, although not common, is sometimes necessary. There is an assumption that since primary teeth will fall out anyway, there is no harm in extracting the teeth before time. This is however, not accurate as they have a significant role to play in preparation for the incoming permanent teeth. They hold the correct spacing for adult teeth, and if they fall out too early, the spacing shifts interfering with the proper spacing for adult teeth to grow.

What is The Procedure Like?

Extraction in both adults and children is relatively the same. First, the dentist takes x-ray images of the teeth and mouth to examine the position of the tooth roots and surrounding bone structures. Next, the area is numbed using local anesthesia, which can be combined with other sedatives for kids with anxiety or dental phobia. The tooth is then removed either through a simple extraction, or surgical extraction, while paying attention not to damage the bone around it.

After the tooth is out, the empty socket will be covered with gauze and pressure applied for about 20 minutes to help a clot form. If surgery was used, stitches might then be applied. Unlike adult extractions which end when the tooth is completely out of the socket, pediatric extractions follow one additional step. This is the placement of space maintainers to hold the space for permanent teeth. Space maintainers prevent the shifting of adjacent teeth, creating sufficient room for the adult tooth to grow correctly.

Situations Where a Child Requires Tooth Extraction

  • When the natural fall-out process does not occur naturally, usually, kids are supposed to start losing teeth at 6 years. The adult tooth begins to grow in, pushing the baby teeth out. The tooth becomes loose and starts to wiggle, and should eventually fall out. However, there are cases where a baby tooth fails to come out, hindering the natural growth of the adult teeth. This makes it necessary to have an extraction performed.
  • Severe tooth decay also leads to extractions in kids. When decay or cavities are left untreated, there is a risk of the infection spreading to other healthy teeth or affecting the development of adult teeth. To prevent any adverse oral health complications, your dentist may recommend having the tooth taken out and the empty socket fitted with space retainers.
  • Trauma or injury that causes extensive damage to teeth could also cause an extraction, especially when it causes pain or increased sensitivity. Depending on the extent of damage, sometimes pediatric pulp therapy may be performed in an attempt to save the tooth. If this is not possible, the tooth has to be extracted.
  • A dentist will also recommend extraction in preparation for certain orthodontic treatments. This is, of course, after it has been determined that it will be of maximum benefit to the child’s oral health.

After having your child’s tooth extracted, make sure to follow your dentist’s aftercare advice to prevent any complications. Oral hygiene still remains important even during the recovery process, and it is, therefore, your parental responsibility to ensure your child cares for their teeth while paying attention not to disturb the extraction area.

To learn more about tooth extractions, visit Islands Pediatric Dentistry or book your appointment today. Our trained team has experience working with kids of all ages, and therefore you can be sure tall get a comfortable and pleasant experience at our clinic.