Kate's Fear of TMJ

How-To Make Your Child Feel Better About A Tooth Extraction

Sometimes, tooth extraction is a necessary dental procedure — even for children. If your child has overcrowding (too many teeth in too tight a space), injury or an infection, the dentist may recommend a tooth removal. Even though it's completely normal for your child to feel some anxiety, you can make the time leading up to the procedure easier. Take a look at how you can help your child to relax and feel better about the extraction.

Ask About Anesthesia

Your child doesn't need to fear the pain of an extraction procedure. The dental team will do everything they can to make the patient as comfortable as possible. Depending on your child and their needs, this may include a local anesthetic, IV sedation, or a combination.

Encourage Questions

What concerns your child about the tooth extraction? For some children, it's the fear of the unknown. If your child doesn't know what to expect (or has created a far from true imaginary scenario in their mind), open up the floor to questions.

If you don't have the answers to the questions, ask a professional. Call ahead and ask if someone at the dental office can speak to your child before the procedure and answer all of their questions. What may seem like a small slice of knowledge can work wonders when it comes to calming an anxious child's nerves.

Role Play

Give the extraction a dry run (minus the actual tooth removal). Pretend to do the procedure with your child, allowing them to act as both the patient and the dentist at separate times. They can practice each step, from numbing the area through the extraction, on a stuffed animal or favorite doll friend. You can also play the role of dentist and give them a preview of the procedure with an imaginary scene.

Review Post-Procedure Care

Your child also needs to know what will happen following the tooth extraction. It's normal to feel some discomfort and have some bleeding. Give your child the basics, explaining that they may need to hold gauze in their mouth, take medication to make them feel better (pain medication), or use ice to reduce swelling.

You can also make post-procedure care into a together-time experience by shopping for foods to eat. Before the procedure day, visit the grocery store and pick out a few fun foods that are easy to eat. These can include yogurt, a favorite soup, popsicles, or pudding.

Helping your child to feel more comfortable about a tooth extraction is a simple process that any parent can handle. Whether you spend time answering questions, role play, or shop for post-op foods together, these easy ideas will help to reduce anxiety and make the procedure as painless a possible.