There are a number of reasons that your child's dentist might recommend a tooth extraction. Some dental patients suffer from tooth decay; others need to remove teeth hindering orthodontic treatment, whereas various patients simply need wisdom teeth removal. While a tooth extraction can be a serious dental procedure, aftercare is just as critical as the procedure itself.
Care immediately following surgery:
- Keep pressure on the gauze pad that your doctor placed over the surgical area by having your child gently biting down. Dampen the gauze sponge with water if it begins to dry out. Try to maintain constant pressure in intervals of 45-60 minutes, repeating as often as needed, or until bleeding lessens. Change the gauze as needed.
- Keep your child's head elevated and have them sit down and watch a movie or do something relaxing. Avoid sports and running around until the blood has had a chance to clot and form a scab over the wound.
- Keep your child's mouth clean by brushing areas around the surgical site. Try to keep your child from touching or picking at the extraction site.
- Use ice packs to control swelling by placing them on facial areas near extraction.
- Take all prescribed medications accordingly. If any itching or swelling occurs, contact the practice immediately, or go to the nearest emergency room.
- Try to eat softer foods, preferably high in protein.
- Keep your child hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
After your child's tooth has been extracted the healing process begins. Baby teeth extractions in health kids can heal within just a day or two. Permanent tooth extractions can take a few days to heal. If you child is medically compromised or has problems with wound healing, the process can be longer. Dr. Ashley and the SKY Pediatric Dentistry team will work with you so that you understand the step-by-step process for caring for your child after dental extractions.
Possible complications after a tooth extraction
Bleeding – Bleeding after a tooth extraction is entirely normal. A pinkish tinted saliva and subtle oozing is fairly common during the first hours after an extraction. If bleeding gets excessive, control it by using dampened gauze pads and biting down to keep pressure on the area. As an alternative to gauze pads, a moistened tea bag can be used, as the tannic acid helps blood vessels contract. Apply pressure to the gauze or tea bag by gently biting down for 30 minutes. Please remember that raised tempers, sitting upright, and exercise can all increase blood flow to the head, which can cause excess bleeding. Try to avoid these as much as possible. If you are concerned or if your child's bleeding seems unusual please call the practice at 270-715-5437.
Bone or Tooth sequestra (dead bone or tooth fragments) – In very rare situations, there may be a small piece of tooth or bone that the dentist is not able to remove. You will be informed immediately if this occurs. During the recovery period, these dead bone fragments, or bone sequestra, slowly work themselves through the gums as a natural healing process. This can be a little painful until the sequestra are removed so please call our practice immediately if you notice any sharp fragments poking through the surgery site. Again, this is an extremely rare event and you would be immediately informed if this occurs during an extraction.
Dry socket – In the days that follow your tooth child's extraction, pain should gradually subside. Rarely, patients report that pain increases to a throbbing unbearable pain that shoots up towards the ear. Often this is a case of dry socket. Dry sockets are extremely rare in children. We see them more commonly after the removal of wisdom teeth or other permanent teeth, especially in teenagers or adults who smoke. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot becomes irritated and ousted before healing is complete. Food and debris can then get into the socket causing irritation. Dry socket is not an infection but does require a visit to our office. If you think your child may be suffering from dry socket from a permanent tooth extraction, please contact the practice immediately at 270-715-5437.
Numbness – We want patients to be very comfortable during extractions and comfortable means being very numb. The numb feeling will typically wear off within 1 to 6 hours after the extraction. In some cases, Dr. Ashley will administer a reveral agent to take away the 'numb' feeling in about 15 minutes. This is typically done for patients that are at a high risk of accidentally biting and hurting their lip, cheeks, or tongue after dental work. This option will be explained in greater detail during your child's dental appointment.
Swelling – Swelling should subside almost entirely within 2-10 days after surgery. Immediately following your child's permanent tooth extraction, apply an ice pack to the facial areas near the extraction. Continue using the ice in 15 minute intervals on the day of the extraction. After 36 hours, ice will no longer be beneficial in reducing swelling and moist heat should be used instead. To decrease swelling, apply a warm damp cloth to the sides of your face.
Trismus (difficulty opening and closing mouth) – If you experience a sore jaw and difficulty chewing or swallowing, do not be alarmed. Occasionally patients’ chewing muscles and jaw joints remain sore 3-5 days after permanent tooth extraction. This soreness can also make it difficult to open and close your mouth. Soreness should eventually subside.
If you have any worries, or are experiencing any complications not mentioned, please contact our practice immediately so that we may address your concerns.