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Baby Tooth Extraction

Primary Tooth Extraction

There are several methods a pediatric dentist might use to save a baby tooth from falling out prematurely. Although baby teeth are supposed to fall out eventually, it is important to save a baby tooth if possible. The baby tooth is useful for eating and the baby tooth reserves space for permanent teeth to come in correctly.  Additionally, the front baby teeth are needed in speech and in the development of swallowing correctly. In some cases, however, primary tooth extraction may be needed for the benefit of the child’s dental and overall health.

When is primary tooth extraction necessary?

Sometimes a permanent adult tooth begins to come in while the primary tooth is still present. In these cases, the baby tooth can make the permanent tooth come in the wrong spot so the baby tooth may need to be extracted to make room for the incoming tooth.

Primary teeth may also be removed if they are severely infected or traumatized. Severe inflammation or infection causes severe pain and can worsen, spreading to other parts of the mouth and body. While there are treatments used to fill cavities (which risk being invaded by bacteria) and remove infection, if a tooth is beyond repair, then primary tooth extraction may be needed to eliminate further risk of infection.

What is the procedure for primary tooth extraction?

First, your child’s pediatric dentist will examine the tooth during an office visit. X-rays may be taken and assessed to determine the position of the tooth, the condition of surrounding bone, and whether or not a permanent tooth has started to come in.

During primary tooth extraction, the dentist applies a topical numbing agent to the gum and then an injection is used to numb the tooth and surrounding area. The tooth is then gradually loosened and removed. Clean gauze is used to absorb and stem bleeding at the end of the procedure.

What happens after the primary tooth is removed?

Parents and caregivers should keep a close eye on children after a primary tooth extraction. Children may attempt to bite the cheek, gum, or lip due to the unfamiliar numbness in the area. Because the area is numbed, your child may not realize the amount of pressure he or she is applying, which can cause injury to the mouth.

To avoid dislodging the clot, which is needed to help the site of extraction heal, your child should avoid excessive activity for the rest of the day. This includes jumping, running, swimming, and rough play. Your child should also avoid rinsing, spitting and using a straw for about 24 hours.

Make sure your child does not pick or poke at the area. Inserting fingers and other objects (like pencils) into the mouth can cause injury or increase the risk of infection.

Have your child eat only soft foods for the first few days after the procedure, as hard foods or foods with sharp edges, such as potato chips or candies, can cause debris to get into the hole left at the extraction site.

When the mouth has fully healed, a space maintainer may be placed to hold space for the permanent tooth if it has not yet come in.

If your child is in need of a dental exam to assess the health of his or her primary teeth, contact our office at (818) 360-2131 to schedule your child’s next appointment with us. If a tooth extraction is needed, we will discuss all options available to you and make recommendations based on your child’s distinct dental needs.