In my experience, tooth extractions are one of the scariest procedures for kids.
“My heart goes out to them, I remember when my dad had to extract two of my teeth for braces. I do remember feeling scared but I also remember feeling safe because after all, my dad was my dentist. I treat all my patients like they are my favorite child. First and foremost, they know that I’m in charge of making sure no one and no thing hurt them while they are in my office and if something bothers them, they know to wiggle their fingers and I’ll fix the problem.” – Dr. Jamie
There are many strategies of distraction that Dr. Jamie employs with kids while they are having a tooth extracted. It may look like fun and games in the operatory as we work to ease anxiety and to distract but Dr. Jamie is also utilizing her years of experience and continued education in the field of exodontia. Cutting a tooth in half before taking it out may take a few moments longer but will make the experience for your kiddo go from bitter to sweet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “It’s out already?! I didn’t even feel it!”
The reasons for pediatric tooth extractions
- Tooth infection from extensive decay
- Injury or Trauma
- Preparation for orthodontics (braces)
- Wisdom teeth
Why extract wisdom teeth?
Do you know what it means when you have room for your wisdom teeth? It means you have a big mouth. That may sound rude but it’s true. Well…. That or you have small teeth. Due to our industrialized soft diet and mouth breathing habits, mouths and jaws are growing smaller and smaller compared to our caveman ancestors. Our teeth are staying the same size, which means our mouths don’t have ample room for them. A mouth that’s too small for it wisdom teeth can lead to problems gum disease, cavities, and root resorption of the tooth in front of them.
Third molars start growing under the gums in the “tooth nursery” around the age of 12. A panoramic X-ray and intra-oral exam are usually necessary to determine the root development. There is a “sweet spot” of root development for wisdom tooth extractions. Just like Goldilocks and the 3 Bear, we don’t want to extract the wisdom teeth when the roots are too short nor when they are too long. It is best to extract them when they are just big enough. Dr. Jamie has years of experience of seeing the growth and development of pediatric patients and knows when the best time to refer to an oral surgeon for wisdom tooth extraction.