Hospital surgery

6 Tips To Prepare For Your Child’s Surgical Tooth Extraction

A few month’s back my daughter had to have 12 teeth surgically removed and it was a dreadful experience for her and me as a mother. We had so many other things going on at the time that was causing distress for our family and looking back now I can see that I was not very well prepared for this procedure. Here are the things that I feel you need to know to prepare for your child’s surgical tooth extraction.

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6 Tips To Prepare For Your Child's Surgical Tooth Extraction

My Daughter’s Surgical Tooth Extraction

My daughter started complaining of a sore tooth, so I took her to the dentist hoping that she wouldn’t need an injection to have her tooth sorted out. Looking back an injection might have been a really nice option rather than what we were about to face.

The tooth that was causing my daughter pain was a baby tooth and the dentist said that there was an adult molar that was a big problem and he might not be able to save it. He took x-rays of her mouth and as soon as the image came up I could see that we had bigger problems.

The way that her teeth were coming out was problematic. Adult teeth were stuck and not able to come out, but pulling the baby teeth to let the adult teeth come out would be a problem because the adult teeth that were already out would be pushed into the gap. The other problem is that there were so many teeth that needed to be extracted that he said it would be a very traumatic thing for him to do. He referred us to a specialist to move forward.

The specialist, Dr Sunil Aniruth, was lovely and explained everything to us. He said that she would need 8 to 12 teeth extracted and the best was to do it surgically. He wouldn’t know how many teeth to extract until he started the procedure, since he would have a clearer picture once he was working on her mouth and he didn’t want to extract teeth that didn’t need to come out. We asked a lot of questions and he was patient and answered in a way we could understand. He had a lovely bedside manner with our daughter.

The procedure date was booked and the night before my daughter and I travelled to Cape Town and spent the night in a guest house close to the hospital. The morning of the procedure my daughter and I were both anxious. When they put the mask on her to put het to sleep she fought it and it was very distressing to watch.

The procedure went very quickly and my daughter was brought to the hospital room after spending a short amount of time in recovery.

It was then that things went pear-shaped for us. My daughter’s mouth was filling up with blood and she wouldn’t stop spitting into the sink, which kept the blood flowing. It took a long time, with the help of a nurse to get my daughter to bite down on some gauze to stop the bleeding. She managed to sleep for a while and then we were given the all clear to go home.

In the car on the drive home my daughter threw up a number of times, and it was not pretty since there was so much blood. The day of the procedure my daughter had quite a bit of pain and discomfort, but she recovered very quickly and from the second day she was uncomfortable but thankfully not in too much pain.

How To Prepare For Your Child’s Surgical Tooth Extraction

From the things that we experienced here are the things that I recommend you do to help yourself and your child prepare for a surgical tooth extraction:

  1. Talk To Your Child About What To Expect From Start To Finish

Your child will be booked into hospital and there will be a bit of a wait to have the procedure done. There will be paperwork that needs to be signed and there will be nurses, the anaesthetist, the surgeon and other hospital staff come and talk to you and your child before the procedure.

Your child will need to get dressed into a hospital gown and remove all jewellery. My daughter did not expect this and found it upsetting, she didn’t want to wear a backless gown. I really don’t blame her.

Your child will then be taken to the pre-operative holding area before being taken into the operating room. Once in the operating room your child will need to move from the hospital bed to the operating table. The next step is the gas mask being administered to put your child under. My child struggled and cried and the doctors told me that all the kids do this and apparently my daughter didn’t fight as much as some kids do. It was hard to watch. My daughter also told me when she woke up that the gas smelt terrible and she didn’t expect that because she was told it wouldn’t smell.

Once your child is asleep you leave and wait in the hospital room for your child. When the surgery is over your child will go to recovery to wake up and be monitored for a certain amount of time before being brought back to the hospital room.

After the procedure your child may be groggy, confused, and crying. There will be blood in the mouth and it can be very unpleasant. It is important that your child knows to bite down on gauze swabs as soon as possible to stop the bleeding and try not to let your child spit as this keeps the blood flowing into the mouth. Your child may feel nauseas from the anaesthetic and from the blood swallowed.

Once the bleeding has slowed down and your child has had a sleep they will let you leave the hospital to go home.

The first day is the worst, but recovery is quite quick from the second day. Make sure you have meds on hand for pain relief, and soft foods that your child can manage to eat. Your child will have stitches and it will feel uncomfortable for a while until they dissolve.

Child in hospital

  1. Have Gauze Swabs On Hand When Your Child Comes Out Of Surgery

We were not given gauze swabs or told to get my daughter to bite down on anything. I had to go and ask a nurse for help and was then given some gauze swabs and told what she needs to do. If I had known about this I would have had a bunch of gauze swabs in my hand when my daughter was brought in so I would have been ready to take action.

Then sooner your child bites down on the gauze swabs the sooner the bleeding stops. I recommend buying some for the drive home and to use at home because there was a little bit of bleeding on and off the first day.

  1. Prepare For Nausea And Vomiting On The Drive Home

Make sure that you have wet wipes, tissues, and plastic bags on hand for cleaning up messes from bleeding and vomiting. My daughter said it would have been nice to have a bucket to vomit in while driving rather than having to stop the car on the side of the road.

  1. Pack Plenty Of Spare Clothing

My daughter wanted to get out of her hospital gown as soon as possible after the surgery, however, this meant that she bled all over the clean clothing. She also threw up on herself in the car twice. Having a few extra pairs of clothing would have been really nice to make her feel better, there’s nothing worse than feeling rotten and having gross, dirty clothing on for a long drive home.

Jelly treat

  1. Have Soft, Easy To Eat Food On Hand

Make sure to have plenty of food that is easy to eat and soft for your child ready to eat. Make jelly ahead of time and have some nice things like ice cream and chocolate mousse.

While sweet treats will be appreciated, also put some thought into wholesome foods your child can eat, such as scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soup, bananas, avocadoes, and pureed butternut.

  1. Mouthwash And Medication

Make sure to have Andolex mouth wash and plenty of pain meds on hand. Your doctor should prescribe something strong like Myprodol for the first day or two. Make sure your child uses the mouth wash after eating.

Time the meds well in the evening. The worst part of the day for pain is when lying down and trying to sleep, so make sure that you time it so that your child gets a good dose of pain killers just before going to sleep.

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