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How to Help Your Toddler Through a Tooth Extraction + Aftercare

toddler blowing bubbles

Every parent knows to expect the milestone of their child losing their first tooth. Most children typically have a tooth fall out first between the ages of 5-7, but someones they’ll need to have a tooth taken out before then.

Here at Toothfairy Pediatric Dental in Reno, we provide treatment for toddlers when one of their baby teeth needs to be extracted. Learning some of the basics of toddler tooth extraction and aftercare will help the process go more smoothly for everyone.

Dr. Ben Salar and our team compiled some frequently asked questions to help parents who are looking for ways to help their toddler through a tooth extraction. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Does a Toddler Need a Tooth Extraction?

Every parent would prefer to let baby teeth fall out naturally. But there are some very compelling reasons that a toddler could need to have a tooth extracted.

  • Trauma: If the child has experienced trauma to the mouth and a tooth has been damaged, your pediatric dentist may recommend extracting it.
  • Cavities: If a toddler’s tooth has decayed to the point that it will affect their overall oral health or cause them pain, it could be best that the tooth is extracted.
  • Poorly Positioned Teeth: On rare occasions, a primary tooth may emerge in a spot that could cause overcrowding as other teeth poke through the gums. But typically, this can be treated through orthodontics.

In these situations, the dentist will likely perform pediatric dental x-rays to get a clear look at what’s going on below the gumline. Then the dentist may recommend a tooth extraction for your toddler. At this time, they’ll explain the procedure, as well as aftercare for toddler tooth extraction.

When Does My Child Get Their Tooth Extracted?

When your child’s pediatric dentist recommends a tooth extraction, you’ll likely have one of two options:

  • Have the tooth removed at the office on the day of your visit. Your child’s dentist may recommend that the tooth is removed while you’re still in the office, avoiding the need to make an additional appointment.
  • Make an appointment for another day. It may be in everyone’s best interest to schedule the toddler tooth extraction and aftercare for another time.

What’s the best choice for your family? There’s no perfect answer! Your decision should be made based on several factors, including the severity of the need, your child’s feelings, and your ability to provide quality aftercare to your child.

Not sure what decision to make? Talk with your pediatric dentist and they’ll help you make the choice that’s best for your toddler.

What Happens When My Toddler’s Tooth Is Extracted?

toddler with glasses

Nobody likes the thought of a tooth extraction, but it’s especially stressful to think of your toddler needing to have a tooth pulled. Fortunately, the process of toddler tooth extraction and aftercare is extremely straightforward.

  • First, your child will be safely sedated so that they can remain calm and pain-free during the procedure. We typically use nitrous oxide (commonly called “laughing gas”) to help your toddler relax. Since it’s the mildest form of anesthesia available, it’s perfect for your young child. A local anesthetic will also likely be used on the gum line near the tooth that is to be pulled.
  • Next, the pediatric dentist will use forceps to remove the tooth as gently as possible. By moving the tooth back and forth, it will release from the gums and the extraction can be completed. The process takes only minutes.
  • Before your child wakes up from their dose of nitrous oxide, the doctor will pack the affected area with gauze. This will help aid in clot formation, which is important for proper healing.

Before you know it, you’ll be on your way back home from your toddler tooth extraction, and aftercare will be the next thing on your agenda.

How Do I Help My Child With Care Once We Get Home?

For the next 72 hours or so, your child may feel some level of pain or discomfort in the area where their tooth was extracted. By following a few important steps, you’ll be able to make them as comfortable as possible.

  • Encourage them to leave their gauze alone for 24 hours. Of course, toddlers love to fidget, and they’ll likely want to take their gauze out of their mouth. For 24 hours, help them resist the urge to take out the gauze, look at their wound, or rinse their mouth. This will encourage the clot to form, which will help ward off infection.
  • Allow them to eat soft foods. What is most toddlers favorite part about toddler tooth extraction aftercare? Ice cream! Soft foods like gelatin, ice cream, and pudding won’t aggravate their mouth too much.
  • Use over-the-counter pain medicine if necessary. If your child is in pain, you can use over-the-counter medicines like Children’s Tylenol or Children’s Advil by following the recommended doses. Remember, dosage is given by weight, not by age.

If your toddler is in extreme pain, has a fever, or suffers from excessive bleeding, call your pediatric dentist immediately. Your child’s pediatric dentist is able to help you with all of your toddler tooth extraction aftercare questions and concerns.

Call Toothfairy Pediatric Dental in Reno

Remember the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Most toddler teeth extractions can be avoided simply by providing your child with regular dental care as soon as their first tooth emerges from the gums.

If you’re living in the Reno area, we’d encourage you to visit one of Toothfairy Pediatric Dental’s six convenient locations. We’re happy to help your toddler receive the very best oral care possible. We are currently accepting new patients, and we accept most forms of dental insurance.

Still have questions about toddler tooth extraction and aftercare? Contact us today for more information. Call (775) 800-4117.