Pediatric Oral Surgery: How to Talk to Children, What Parents Can Expect

reasons for pediatric oral surgery

Maybe your child has been injured accidentally. Perhaps there’s been a planned tooth extraction due to a medical condition. Your child has been referred to a pediatric oral surgeon. Why do they even need oral surgery? What does that mean for your baby? As a parent, it’s natural to be concerned and to have questions. Dr. Puckett is here to help.

The most common oral surgeries done for kids are tooth extractions, frenectomies, exposure of impacted or unerupted permanent teeth — as well as accidental injury or trauma to the face. Here’s what to expect if your child has been referred to a pediatric oral surgeon.

What Does an Oral Surgeon Do?

An oral surgeon performs maxillofacial surgery related to the teeth, gums, jaws and face that a regular dentist doesn’t do. This includes:

  • Tooth extractions (including wisdom teeth removal)
  • Soft tissue biopsies & soft tissue grafting
  • Dental implants
  • Repair of broken bones in the jaws and face
  • Removal of cysts and tumors of the jaws
  • Jaw realignment surgery to correct bite discrepancies
  • Cosmetic and TMJ surgeries.

Pediatric oral surgery usually involves repairing damaged teeth or bone structure following an injury. Sometimes permanent teeth don’t come in and oral surgery will be needed to correct this.

Before the Appointment

Usually, it’s your child’s dentist that first makes the recommendation for oral surgery. He or she may even recommend a pediatric oral surgeon. They will give you all the details regarding your child’s situation and recommend a treatment plan.

Next, you’ll visit the pediatric oral surgeon. If your child is under 12 or they have specialized health concerns, they will see your child for an exam as well as a meet and greet where you and your child can ask questions and get acquainted with the surgeon.

We’ll go over what to expect, the steps of the surgery, as well as options when it comes to general anesthesia. We’ll also provide pre-op instructions for you to follow before the surgery.

If your child faces an emergency situation such as a tooth injury, we can expedite the process. The important thing is to get the child the care they need. You’re in good hands! Dr. Puckett is a gentle and caring maxillofacial surgeon who prioritizes his patients’ comfort needs.

During the Procedure

Have your child follow the pre op instructions given by Dr. Puckett on the day of the procedure. You’ll accompany the child to the appointment. You can be in the room as we put the child under anesthetic. After that, we will ask you to wait in our waiting room. The length of surgeries will vary depending on the specifics of what is being done, but we can give you a general idea of what to expect.

Healing & Recovery

Following the surgery, we’ll provide you with post-op instructions on how to care for your child during the healing process. Your child will need to rest for the remainder of the day, and perhaps for a day or two following the surgery. Feed your child soft foods such as soup, yogurt, and Jell-O until they start to feel better.

Usually, we don’t request a follow up appointment, though we may in some cases.

How to Talk to Your Child About Oral Surgery

Your child may naturally be nervous about the oral surgery. Avoid saying the words hurt or pain, even when discussing the procedure when you think the child isn’t listening. (Kids pick up on a lot!) Talk to your child about their fears and anxieties. Let them know that a pediatric oral surgeon is a doctor like any other doctor. They do what they do to take care of the child, to help them heal and feel better again.

Bring your child to the consultation. This will be a good opportunity for the child to meet the pediatric maxillofacial surgeon — to interact with Dr. Puckett and his staff so your child feels comfortable.

Stay as informed as possible about the procedure. If your child has questions about the procedure before their consultation, feel free to call our office and ask our staff. And of course, your child can always ask Dr. Puckett personally. Part of the meet and greet is an educational experience. We want to address your child’s concerns and fears. We’re always happy to help!

About Dr. Puckett: A Trained & Certified Pediatric Maxillofacial Surgeon

Dr. Puckett has been a pediatric maxillofacial surgeon since 2000. He’s great with kids — he has three children himself! He likes gardening, being in the outdoors, and is an enthusiastic runner. On his days off, he’s often training for an upcoming triathlon.

Want in on a secret? Dr. Puckett loves candy. And he keeps a candy dish stocked with sweets. In fact, Dr. Puckett has a reputation as a “candy pusher.” After their appointment, your child will be invited to pick from Dr. Puckett’s candy stash as a reward. What’s the record for the most pieces of candy a kid has eaten? 26! We thought the kid was going to barf. Can you beat that?