Finding out that your child needs a tooth extraction is certainly not the best news for any parent. However, these procedures are more common than you may think and are routinely used to restore a severely decayed tooth or to help with orthodontic treatment.
Don’t worry! Your child will likely be sedated throughout the procedure and won’t feel a thing. But, how you care for their oral health after the extraction can make a significant difference in their healing process. In particular, you want to avoid the development of a dry socket.
What’s that, and how can you help your child avoid it?
Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Dry Socket
After the dentist extracts your child’s tooth, they will ask them to bite on a sterile gauze for a couple of hours. This step is essential as it promotes the formation of a blood clot. This blood clot not only protects the underlying tissues, bone, and nerves of the tooth socket but also sets the foundation for the growth of new bone and soft tissue.
If the blood clot is dislodged, your child may develop a painful condition known as dry socket.
Symptoms of Dry Socket
The symptoms of dry socket typically appear a few days after the extraction. These may include:
- Pain that gradually gets worse.
- You can see the bone in the socket where your child’s tooth was removed.
- An unpleasant smell or taste in their mouth
- Swelling of the gums around the extraction site
How to Help Your Child Prevent Dry Socket
Your child’s dentist will give you a list with specific instructions that you need to follow to help the extraction heal and prevent a dry socket.
- Don’t let your child drink water or other liquids using a straw. The suction motion can dislodge the blood clot.
- Don’t give your child any hard or sticky foods. Only offer them liquid and soft foods for a few days, such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, cream soups, and so on.
- Make sure that your child chews on the other side of the extraction.
- Don’t brush the extraction site, but ask your child to gently rinse their mouth with water.
- Make sure that they get plenty of rest and avoid any strenuous physical activities for a few days, such as soccer practice.
What to Do If Your Child Develops a Dry Socket
If your child develops a dry socket, you should contact their doctor as soon as possible. They may require treatment to relieve the pain and promote healing.
Treatment may include:
- Cleaning the socket: The dentist will clean the socket to remove any food particles or debris that may be present.
- Medications: The dentist may prescribe pain medication to help relieve the discomfort associated with a dry socket. They may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent or treat an infection.
- Packing the socket: The dentist may pack the socket with a medicated dressing to promote healing and relieve pain. The dressing will need to be changed periodically.
Are You Anxious About Your Child’s Appointment to Remove a Tooth?
It’s normal to be anxious, but you can rest assured that your child is in good hands with us. The team at Miles of Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry will make sure that your child is safe and comfortable throughout the entire procedure.
Contact us now to learn more about our services.