There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk of decay, so we may recommend removal as well as space maintenance. Other reasons for tooth removal include: infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, we may extract the tooth during a regular checkup, or we may request another visit for this procedure. Occasionally we may refer your child to an Oral Surgeon for treatment.
The root of each tooth is encased within the jawbone in a “tooth socket.” It is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, the dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. This is why we say we are going to “wiggle” teeth out, not “pull” them. While this may be just a choice of words, this terminology will help your child with possible anxieties about an extraction.
The extraction procedure is typically very quick, and takes less time than a filling. To help your child through this experience, we may recommend the use of nitrous oxide to decrease their anxiety and help them tolerate any discomfort. It is important to share with us any concerns or preferences you may have about the use of nitrous oxide.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift causing problems with chewing or with jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, we often recommend that you maintain the space for the permanent tooth by having a space maintainer made.
If your child gets home and there is an issue with numbness or discomfort due to the extraction, check out our “Now What?” section for advice. If you don’t find the answers there, don’t hesitate to call us at: 360-675-4613.