Your child’s baby teeth are there for a reason! As your little one’s jaws grow and mature, baby teeth will fall out and allow the permanent teeth to make their way in. Without baby teeth, your child’s adult teeth wouldn’t emerge into their proper positions, which can lead to crooked or crowded teeth.
Baby teeth don’t normally need to be extracted, but there are a few instances in which a baby tooth might need to come out. When the tooth is so affected by decay that it can’t be saved, or when there’s any significant trauma to the tooth from an accident are two such cases.
Some baby teeth don’t come out on their own and can disrupt the permanent teeth that are on their way in, which can also necessitate an extraction. Some children need to have a stubborn baby tooth removed prior to orthodontic treatment for their permanent teeth.
Getting one or several of your child’s baby teeth removed can be stressful for parents and children alike. While complications from extracting baby teeth are very rare, here are a few potential problems that could happen following your child’s baby tooth extraction.
When a tooth is extracted, a blood clot soon forms over the area to protect the wound and begin the healing process. However, in a very small percentage of cases, the blood clot can dislodge, leaving the surgical site exposed.
Dry socket is usually painful and happens within three days following the tooth extraction . Fortunately, dry socket can be treated by your dentist, so don’t hesitate to reach out if your child complains of pain in their mouth or face that doesn’t get better!
Infection is another rare complication of a baby tooth extraction. The surgical site where the tooth was removed can develop an infection, which can include symptoms such as :
- Pain that can spread outwards towards the face, ears, or neck
- Redness or swelling on the side of the face where the tooth was removed
- Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
If you suspect your child’s mouth isn’t healing properly or that they have an infection, reach out to your dentist as soon as possible!
For children that have a baby tooth pulled from their lower jaw, nerve damage is possible, although again very rare. Nerve damage is almost always temporary and will resolve itself as the site heals and your child’s mouth returns to normal. Symptoms could include numbness in the area around the tooth or even numb lips. If you suspect your child has nerve damage following a baby tooth extraction, always follow up with your dentist!
When Should You Call the Dentist?
Anytime you have a question about your child’s healing process, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist. Signs of an emergency or a potential complication following a baby tooth extraction could include pain or swelling that gets worse in the days following the procedure, a fever, or chills. Your child may also have trouble eating or swallowing.
Complications following a tooth extraction can happen, but they pose a very small risk to your child. As long as you follow your dentist’s instructions for healing, your little one will be feeling better in no time!