Although it’s always ideal to save your natural teeth, there are times when tooth extractions are the best path forward. For example, your child may have a tooth that becomes too damaged or too decayed to save.
David Epstein, DDS, and Nikita Vakil, DMD, regularly perform these low-risk procedures right here at The Woodlands Dental Group in The Woodlands, Texas. As family dentists, we offer positive and compassionate care for the whole family, and as part of that, we want to explain how you can help your child recover as quickly and pain-free as possible after an extraction.
When it comes to caring for your child after an extraction, there are a few things to consider: their emotional state, their pain, their diet, and their extraction site.
Getting a tooth pulled can be scary, and once it’s over, your child may feel drained. Plan on taking the rest of the day to help them rest and recover. You might enjoy a quiet day playing puzzles or reading together. You may even enjoy watching a light movie cuddled up on the couch together.
Your child may also experience some discomfort and swelling. You can help manage the pain and swelling by:
Do note that when you first arrive home, your child’s mouth may still feel numb. The duration of the numbness will depend on the type and amount of anesthesia used. Because your child may accidentally bite their tongue or cheek, it’s best to postpone any drinking or eating until all numbness subsides.
After your child’s tooth is pulled, their mouth will form a protective blood clot at the extraction site. This clot, which is a normal part of the healing process, will cover the nerves and bone tissue at the site.
Dislodging the blood clot can cause a painful condition called dry socket. You can help them prevent getting dry socket by serving them soft food, not allowing them to use a straw, and making sure they don’t brush the blood clot directly.
Examples of soft foods include scrambled eggs with cheese, mashed potatoes, soup, cottage cheese, smoothies, ice cream, yogurt, rice, boiled carrots, mashed summer squash (without the seeds), boneless fish, and pasta.
And remember, if you make a smoothie, don’t give it to your child with a straw. Instead, serve it in a bowl with a spoon.
Keeping your child’s mouth as clean as possible and not dislodging the blood clot can help reduce the risk of infection. Our team will provide specific instructions, but in general, you can expect to:
If your child is prescribed antibiotics, administer the medication as directed, and always complete the full dose. If you spot any signs of infection, such as fever, increased swelling, pain and bleeding that get worse, or pus, let us know right away.
While extractions can help treat a tooth that can no longer be saved, our dedicated team can work with you to help reduce the need for future extractions. For example, dental sealants can help protect your child’s teeth against decay, while mouthguards can help reduce the risk of damaging teeth.
If you think your child may need an extraction, or if your child needs other dental work, call 281-367-3085 to book an appointment with The Woodlands Dental Group today.