Extractions & Pulpotomies
We know this is the last thing you want to think about. But sometimes, despite all our care, the worst happens and your child's tooth may become severely damaged or decayed. At Arlington Pediatric Dentistry, we are fully committed to your child's dental health, and you can trust us to give him or her the best possible care. Here's a little information on a couple of the procedures we offer in the worst case scenario.
What Is an Extraction?
Simply put, an extraction is the removal of a tooth that has become too damaged or decayed to remain in your child's mouth. There are two main kinds of extractions: simple, and surgical. A simple extraction is called for in the case of a baby tooth that is clearly visible in the mouth. Typically, a dentist will apply a local anesthetic, and then use a device called an “elevator” to loosen the tooth. Finally, forceps are used to gently remove the tooth from the gum. After a simple extraction, we recommend that you keep your child from eating anything until the numbness in their mouth has gone away, to prevent painful bites inside the mouth.
A surgical extraction is a little more complicated. We use this procedure when removing a tooth that has become fully embedded in the jaw, or "impacted". A surgical extraction often requires a full anesthetic or nitrous oxide, although the anesthetic used can vary depending on the situation. As always, our dentists will work with you to make sure that our care is tailored perfectly to your unique child. Following a surgical extraction, you may need to monitor your child more carefully. Even spitting too hard or drinking from a straw can dislodge the blood clot forming in the spot where your child's tooth was, so they'll need to be careful!
When Do We Do an Extraction?
We only recommend an extraction in the case of severe damage or decay affecting your child's tooth. It is very rare to perform an extraction on a child, especially if he or she still has their baby teeth. After a baby tooth extraction, we may need to put a "saver" in the spot where the tooth was, making sure that the adult tooth underneath has room to grow.
What Is a Pulpotomy?
A pulpotomy is another procedure used only in the case of severe damage to a tooth. If your child's tooth has decayed to the point where the sensitive nerve inside, called “dental pulp,” has been exposed, then a pulpotomy is required. After applying a local anesthetic, our dentists will carefully remove any damaged or destroyed pulp in the tooth. Then, they simply place a small stainless steel cap, called a crown, on top of the tooth. A pulpotomy is less invasive than an extraction, although it is still rarely performed on children.
We know these procedures can seem frightening. But remember, the best way to avoid them is through consistent preventative care. We at Arlington Pediatric Dentistry are here to help with both prevention and restorative dental services. If you'd like to make an appointment, or if you just have more questions, you can reach us at 360-657-1650.
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