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Tooth Extraction 101: How Seeing an Austin Dentist can Prepare Your Child for Braces

Many children need braces to correct their smiles. This is a very normal practice and sometimes requires extra steps depending on the condition and placement of the teeth. Often, parents want to have a game plan laid out for fixing their child’s orthodontic woes, but every patient is unique. An Austin dentist, like Heart of Texas Oral, can provide you with an orthodontic treatment plan prior to getting braces put on to ensure that your child is getting the best results.

In light of February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, this article discusses the ins and outs of children’s oral health, focusing mainly on the purpose of tooth extractions prior to getting braces put on. Generally, the number of patients requiring extractions are fairly low (approximately 10-20%). However, performing an extraction is sometimes very necessary to move forward with the patient’s treatment. Below are some frequently asked questions regarding tooth extractions and their corresponding answers.

What is a tooth extraction?

Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth (either “adult” or “baby”) by a general dentist or oral surgeon. Deciduous (baby) teeth typically are replaced by permanent (adult) teeth once they have been naturally lost or pulled out. However, when an adult tooth is removed, there is no successor to take its place. This newly-opened space is used to help with bite correction and to improve alignment in orthodontic treatment.

How will I know if my child needs to get a tooth extraction?

Your child’s orthodontist’s recommendations will depend on the type of issue your child needs corrected and what the outcomes are with and without extractions. Many times, there are several treatment options. The only way to get a reliable recommendation is to consult an Austin dentist or orthodontist. The doctor will assess your child’s teeth, facial profile, airways, and x-rays in order to determine if an extraction is necessary or recommended.

Is an extraction necessary for braces?

When your mouth is overcrowded with teeth, it can lead to a bad bite or a crooked smile. A lack of room means that your teeth have limited space to grow into the correct spot. This means that the teeth have no choice but to emerge in irregular positions where there is adequate space to do so. Sometimes, removing one or more teeth can help orthodontists to free up some much-needed room for the rest of the teeth to become properly aligned by braces.  

What are the side effects of tooth extractions?

Similar to any other medical procedure, tooth removals have potential side-effects that patients should be aware of. Any well-trained Austin dentist will remind you of these side-effects to make sure that you are taking the best care possible of your oral wounds. As long as your dentist or oral surgeon has recommended the procedure, the benefits are most likely going to outweigh the risks. Potential side effects could include the following:

  • Swelling at the surgical site
  • Bleeding that lasts longer than 12 hours
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pain and shortness of breath

If these symptoms persist, contact your orthodontist immediately to prevent worsening of your child’s condition.

How long does it take to heal?

Some pain is normal for tooth extraction after your child’s anesthetic wears off. Additionally, a little swelling and residual bleeding are both normal after-effects of tooth removal. Most patients find that the pain decreases after about three days. However, due to some teeth having deeper roots than others, some take longer to heal than others. Most patients are able to return to work or school within one to two days, although the soreness and swelling may remain for three to five days.

What are the aftercare recommendations?

There are many rules to follow when it comes to allowing your mouth to heal post-extraction. The best practices for one to two days after surgery are listed below:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Change the gauze as necessary
  • Avoid rinsing
  • Do not use straws
  • Do not spit
  • Your child should avoid blowing their nose or sneezing
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers any additional medications that the oral surgeon recommends
  • Use cold compresses
  • Keep the head elevated

After three days, the following practices are recommended to keep your child’s mouth clean and to keep the healing process going:

  • Use saline rinses
  • Brush and floss as usual
  • Eat soft foods

How much does an extraction cost?

Because each extraction is performed on a case-by-case basis, it is close to impossible to give an accurate estimate of the cost until your dentist or oral surgeon does an examination that includes a panoramic x-ray. Variations in cost depend on several factors, including the number of teeth being removed, whether those teeth are erupted or impacted, and what type of anesthesia you choose.

Most extractions are covered by dental insurance, but some impacted teeth are covered by medical insurance. Be sure to present both types of insurance to your dentist to avoid paying unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses.

If your child is due to get braces soon, be sure to take the necessary steps of having them evaluated by a professional Austin dentist or oral surgeon. Here at Heart of Texas Oral, we can take care of those pesky teeth that need extraction by providing your child with highly skilled and experienced oral surgeons and the confidence they need to embrace the brace face. Contact us today to start the process.