Extractions and Space Maintainers

Extractions are perhaps one of the most frightening things a child can face—at least until he or she understands how the procedure works and what to expect. First, it’s important to understand that there will be very little pain during a tooth extraction. Our pediatric dentists are 100 percent committed to making sure your child doesn’t feel a thing, and will even provide the cleaned, removed tooth at the end of the extraction so your child can cash in with the Tooth Fairy.

However, it’s also important that kids know what to expect in the days following the extraction.

Pediatric Oral Extractions

They’ll likely be asked to bite down on gauze for about 15 minutes after the extraction in order to apply pressure and wait for the bleeding to stop. They’ll be numb for about two hours, and it’s best to avoid eating at this time—however, if the munchies can’t be controlled, something soft and soothing like soup, applesauce, yogurt and of course ice cream are best.

At-Home Care After Extractions

One of the biggest challenges with extractions is making sure kids don’t touch the spot—this can lead to infections and/or pain. Have them avoid drinking from a straw or spitting for 24 hours following the tooth extraction. If the child is wary about swallowing because of the strange taste, dribbling into a cup is okay.

As the numbness subsides after the extraction, a little discomfort might be felt, but it’s nothing an over the counter painkiller like Advil can’t treat (according to instructions on the bottle, of course). The morning after the extraction procedure, there might be some blood on the pillow, but that’s perfectly normal.

However, you may want to warn your child about this.

Making Room with Space Maintainers

Sometimes baby teeth are a little too eager and pop out early. When this happens, we might need to save space for the future adult teeth with a space maintainer. The role of baby teeth is to be “savesies” for permanent teeth, and if a baby tooth is lost early—whether from trauma or a surgical removal—crowding can occur, making space maintainers necessary.

Space maintainers aren’t permanent, but they’ll be there until the adult teeth come in.

Space maintainers come in two varieties: Fixed space and Removable. Fixed are the most common and removable are kind of like retainers. Soon enough, the adult teeth will erupt and space savers will have done their duty.