Fear of the unknown can make tooth extraction a difficult process for both children and their parents. Knowing what to expect can help you both to prepare for the experience. Our Kids Smiles pediatric dentists, Dr. Frank Sierra, Dr. Mia Kwan and Dr. Khusbu Patel, any any of our 3 Tampa Bay locations and 1 in Bradenton will make sure that the experience is comfortable. Let's go over some facts about tooth extraction before we answer the question "does tooth extraction hurt."
Reasons for Pediatric Tooth Extraction
First of all, unlike adults, your child will develop to have 20 temporary, primary teeth; and then 32 permanent adult teeth. The primary teeth are still very important as they hold the space for the adult teeth. We attempt to keep them intact until they are naturally ready to come out.
The reasons why a baby tooth might need to be removed include: accidents, major decay, or situations in which they block adult teeth from coming in properly. In teens, sometimes their wisdom teeth are removed due to crowding or bad positioning.
Why a Pediatric Dentist
Dr. Frank Sierra explains, "At Kids Smiles, we understand that children have unique dental needs and that going to the dentist can sometimes be seen as a stressful experience. This is why we have Pediatric dentists who specialize in handling these needs. Our dentists have undergone extensive advanced training on working with children and teens. We have the patience and experience in making frightened children feel comfortable, child-friendly equipment, and an environment helps to make visits a positive experience."
Young children, and even some adults, are naturally apprehensive about dental treatment. At Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we use a "tell, show, do" philosophy. First, we "tell" by explaining the next step in words your child understands. Then we "show" them what we will be doing. It may be using an instrument on their finger. Then, we "do" the procedure. This is the best way to earn your child's trust.
So, Does It Hurt?
It's best to be honest with you and your child. There will be some discomfort during tooth extraction, but preventing pain takes a lot less than for adults. Our office can prevent anxiety with nitrous oxide (happy gas), and may use a combination of topical numbing ointment and a shot if necessary. Dr. Mark Dawoud shares, "Do not give your child any pain medication before their appointment, as this has been shown to cause blood clotting difficulties."
As you may recall, if you ever had a tooth removed, there is also a level of discomfort after the topical or local anesthesia wears off. You can also use children's Tylenol or Ibuprofen, if we do not prescribe anything specific. These should not be used until after the blood clot forms.
Dr. Frank Sierra adds, "You can apply a bag of ice or frozen vegetables to the outside of the cheek to reduce the swelling and numb the pain. If additional swelling occurs or you identify a fever, call us immediately, as it may be a sign of infection."