My son has a baby tooth left which is next to his incisors. He told me it hurts. When I looked at it there seems to be a pimple on the gum by the edge of the tooth. Is this what is hurting him?
A pimple on a gum is a sign the tooth is infected. Tooth infections are considered a dental emergency. This will spread if it is not dealt with. Unlike typical bacterial infections, this can’t just be dealt with by taking antibiotics. A dentist would normally have to go in and physically remove the infection. In adults, this is known as a root canal treatment. In children, it’s called a pulpotomy and is easier.
However, with baby teeth, this is usually only necessary on a back tooth. Their molars have to remain in place until they are about twelve-years-old. With other baby teeth, you can typically just remove them.
Usually, a child’s decay is caught long before it turns into an infection, though some can blow up quickly. Make sure your pediatric dentist is doing x-rays on your child at least once a year. If they are more prone to decay, which is totally a matter of the genetic lottery, than it is helpful to do x-rays at each visit to prevent decay from getting too far.
A filling is both less stressful and more affordable than a dental crown or an extraction, which your son is facing.
Making Dental Emergencies Less Traumatic
Dental emergencies can be a tad frightening for children. To prevent him from having a traumatic experience which may cause a lifetime fear of the dentist, I’m going to suggest you see a dentist who provides sedation for children. There are two levels.
- Nitrous Oxide
This is likely all your son will need. Removing a baby tooth isn’t as hard as extracting an adult tooth because the roots aren’t as large and settled. Nitrous is a gas he’ll breathe in with a nosepiece. It will make him feel relaxed and allow the topical anesthetic to work better because his anxiety will be less.
Once his procedure is done, they’ll switch the gas to oxygen and he’ll be completely back to normal and ready to get on with his day.
- Oral Conscious Sedation
This is a much stronger level of sedation, usually reserved for patients with a high level of anxiety or for more invasive procedures. It totally relaxes the patient. In fact, most sleep through it completely. The only real downside is its strength. Your son will not be lucid for several hours after the procedure, so you’ll need to keep an eye on him so he doesn’t try to walk on his own.
However, as I mentioned above, this isn’t likely the sedation he’ll need.
Best of luck to you and your son. Please get this seen to quickly.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.