What to Expect When Your Child Visits a Pediatric Oral Surgeon

girl not nervous about pediatric oral surgery

When your child needs a pediatric oral surgeon, it’s natural to feel a little nervous. It’s your baby after all — do they really need oral surgery?

The important thing to keep in mind is that oral surgery for children isn’t nearly as intimidating as it sounds. Like pediatricians and pediatric dentists, pediatric oral surgeons are specially trained to work with children. They know how to put your child at ease and explain the process. They will do everything they can to ensure the oral surgery is a relaxed and comforting experience as much as possible.

What Ages Do Pediatric Oral Surgeons Treat?

Pediatric oral surgeons treat babies, children, and teenagers — anyone under the age of 18. Dr. Puckett once treated a patient as young as 48 hours old — the baby was tongue-tied and could not latch to feed. We regularly remove wisdom teeth from teenagers. We’ve helped young children with dental trauma and tooth removal. Dr. Puckett understands these experiences can be intimidating, especially for the parents, but he tries to make them as easy on the patient as he can. He believes in gentle care and does everything he can to help ease a child’s fears.

Oral Surgery Procedures that May Require a Pediatric Oral Surgeon

What kind of oral surgeries might a child need?

Root canals are one common procedure, especially if there has been oral trauma. Keep in mind that primary teeth act like guides for permanent teeth. If something happens to the guide, this can have a negative influence on the adult teeth that follow. If the pulp of the tooth is damaged or infected, it may need to be removed. Sometimes even children need root canals. Don’t worry — the process is relatively pain free, aside from the initial pinch as we apply the numbing agent.

Wisdom teeth extraction is a fairly common procedure performed by a pediatric oral surgeon in teenagers. Wisdom teeth removal is often the last experience that will take place over the course of your child’s pediatric dental history. It’s an important step on the path to adulthood. Some people wait until they are young adults to have their wisdom teeth removed. Others do so when they are teens. It depends on the development rate of the wisdom teeth. Due to the expense, the procedure is best performed while the child is still covered under the parent’s dental insurance plan.

Dental trauma is probably the most common need for a pediatric oral surgeon. Playing sports, being a rambunctious kid, or suffering a car accident could lead to tooth extraction. Depending on whether the tooth lost is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth, we may need to find a solution to tooth replacement.

Oral surgery may also be necessary on infants to fix tongue-tied problems that could be disrupting the feeding process.

A pediatric oral surgeon may also be necessary to address overbites, underbites, and crossbites. A bite that does not meet together properly is known as a malocclusion. It can sometimes involve missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth or misaligned jaws. These issues can be the result of an accident, or a developmental challenge — finger or thumbsucking are common causes.

We can address malocclusion through oral surgery. Surgical reshaping, also called orthognathic surgery — a specialized type of oral surgery — can be used to lengthen or shorten the jaw through a combination of stabilizing screws, plates or wires.

Relax! Your Child is in Good Hands

Pediatric oral surgery is sometimes necessary, but nothing to be afraid of. Dr. Puckett is a trained maxillofacial surgeon who will do everything he can to put your child at ease and ensure their oral surgery experience is as relaxed, comfortable and pain free as possible. He is trained in all forms of sedation dentistry to minimize pain and discomfort. If the oral surgery is extensive, your child may not even be awake or remember much from the experience.

We invite you to come to our office where Dr. Puckett will explain the surgery process. You’ll be invited to ask any questions you may have. Your child will meet Dr. Puckett and his staff. We’ll help put you both at ease with a personalized meet and greet so you and your child know what to expect.