Why do teeth need extracting?
When a tooth has been damaged either by infection (from tooth decay) or trauma (from a knock or bump), the dental professional will provide advice as to the best treatment for the tooth. If the damage to the tooth is too great, the best option may be to extract the tooth.
How are baby teeth extracted?
The dental professional may take x-rays of the affected tooth to assess the position of the tooth, the surrounding bone and the presence of an adult tooth. The tooth and surrounding area will be numbed (an injection) by local anaesthetic. Once the area around the tooth is numb, the tooth is loosened with movements and pressure. The loosened tooth is then removed. Following an extraction, the patient will be asked to bite down on a piece of sterile gauze to help stop the bleeding.
What are the risks and complications of this procedure?
- Pain – mild, temporary pain may occur after the numbness wears off. The pain can be managed with over-the-counter medicine such as Panadol.
- Bleeding – some bleeding may occur if the clot is disturbed from the hole from where the baby tooth was removed. Putting pressure on the hole with a piece of gauze for 10 minutes should stop any bleeding.
- Loss of space for adult tooth – if a baby tooth is lost early, the adult tooth may not be ready to move into position to fill the space. This can result in a loss of space for the adult tooth.
What are the risks and complications of a local anaesthetic during a dental procedure?
This procedure may require a local anaesthetic. Damage to lips and cheeks – you may bite or rub the numbed area without realising the damage you are causing. Children may need to be supervised until the numbness has worn off.
Failure of local anaesthetic – this may require a further injection of anaesthetic or a different method of anaesthesia to be used.
Bruising – if you take any drug used to thin your blood, you are more likely to get a bruise as this medication may affect the way your body clots your blood. Applying a cold pack to the area will help to minimise the bruising.
Nerve damage – if nerve damage happens, it is usually temporary and will get better over a period of weeks to months. Damage may cause weakness and/or numbness of the mouth, lips, tongue or face that the nerve goes to. Permanent nerve damage rarely happens.
Infection at site of injection – this is uncommon however can be treated with antibiotics.
Allergy to the local anaesthetic solution – is a rare complication and medical attention should be sought immediately.
What care is needed after an extraction of a baby tooth?
- Children will need adult supervision immediately after an extraction of a baby tooth.
- To avoid injury to the mouth, children must not bite or suck the lip, cheek or tongue while the area is numb.
- To avoid dislodging the clot which will form over the hole where the baby tooth was, excessive activity should be avoided for the day (i.e. limit running, jumping, swimming etc).
- Fingers, pencils or any other object should not be placed in the mouth to avoid injury or infection.
- Avoid eating hard or sharp foods such as potato chips or crackers for a few days after an extraction. Hard or sharp foods might dig into the hole where the baby tooth was