Primary/baby teeth will fall out on their own when there are no abnormal conditions, but if an extraction becomes necessary before that time, it can create problems, because losing the tooth too soon can interrupt the natural growing process, and the removal of a single tooth can lead to problems with your child’s chewing ability, problems with the jaw joint, and shifting teeth that create problems when the permanent tooth is coming in, which can have a major impact on your child’s dental health.

Children are not always easy to treat, so it’s important that your child sees a pediatric dentist because this specialty requires two additional years of training that are focused on the growth and development of teeth, as well as training in ways to create an environment where children will be more comfortable dealing with the fear and anxiety that will almost certainly accompany the experience.  They have studied the impact dental treatment has on a child and understand how to put the child at ease.  Additionally, a pediatric dentist has the right-sized tools to work comfortably and effectively on a child, and will provide the best option for an excellent outcome.

The main goal of pediatric dentistry, like any dental practice, is to preserve the natural teeth and keep them as healthy as possible.  There are a few different reasons why a pediatric dentist will recommend an extraction:

  • Baby teeth that are growing improperly and may block permanent teeth from coming in properly.
  • A tooth is crowding other teeth.
  • Decay, gum disease, or some type of infection, when a root canal cannot save the tooth.
  • Accidents causing broken or cracked teeth that are beyond repair.
  • Wisdom teeth removal (part of pediatric dentistry), usually recommended for impacted teeth, when needed to prevent damage to adjacent teeth, bone, gum tissue, or nerves and blood vessels.

With any of these problems, if the primary tooth is already loose, extraction would likely be recommended. There is no reason to try to salvage a tooth that will be naturally lost very soon anyway.  If the problem is with your child’s permanent tooth, every effort will be made to save it.

If an extraction is needed, your child will be given anesthesia to keep them from feeling much of the pain, usually either nitrous oxide (laughing gas), or a numbing shot of a local anesthetic.  In some cases Conscious Sedation, given intravenous or orally, may be used to put the child in a profoundly relaxed state.  General anesthesia may be required for a child having six or more teeth removed, and for toddlers or special needs children.

Extractions may be simple, when the tooth is visible and easy to remove with forceps, or it may be a more complex procedure requiring oral surgery, like an impacted tooth, where some gum tissue needs to be opened to reach the tooth.

After a tooth extraction, your child will have a piece of gauze to bite on until the bleeding stops and a blood clot forms.  The gauze should be changed every 20 minutes until the bleeding ceases.  The following trusted tips from pediatric dentists will keep your child healing happily:

  • Pain — Give your child an over-the-counter or prescribed medication to soothe soreness in their jaw.
  • Swelling — Place an ice pack on any swollen areas for about 20 minutes to decrease inflammation.
  • Diet — Serve only soft or liquid foods (cool or cold) for the 24 hours after the extraction.
  • Caution — Don’t let your child spit or drink from a straw — the force could dislodge their blood clot and cause a painful dry socket.
  • Oral Hygiene — Normal brushing and flossing is important, but with an extremely gentle touch, avoiding the area around the tooth extraction until it fully heals around the clot.
  • Call the dentist immediately if your child experiences fever, chills, great pain, or severe swelling.

When it is your child, concern can go into overdrive. One of the best things you can do for your child before any dental procedure is to make the conscious decision to never scare them about losing teeth or going to the dentist.  Staying calm yourself and having an optimistic attitude about pediatric dentistry can keep your child from experiencing anxiety.

<strong>If you are interested in extractions(tooth removal) in Costa Rica, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page.  One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.</strong>