How do I care for my child after a dental operation or visit?

Calming an Anxious Child

Table Of Contents

Wondering what to do, or how to help you child after local anesthetic, trauma, or an extraction? Discover professional tips below:

Care of the Mouth After Local Anesthetic

  • Calming an Anxious ChildIf the procedure was in the lower jaw the tongue, teeth, lip and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep.
  • If the procedure was in the upper jaw the teeth, lip and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep.
  • Often, children do not understand the effects of local anesthesia, and may chew, scratch, suck, or play with the numb lip, tongue, or cheek. These actions can cause minor irritations or they can be severe enough to cause swelling and abrasions to the tissue.
  • Monitor your child closely for approximately two hours following the appointment. It is often wise to keep your child on a liquid or soft diet until the anesthetic has worn off.

Care of the Mouth After Trauma

  • Please keep the traumatized area as-clean-as possible. A soft wash cloth often works well during healing to aid the process.
  • Watch for darkening of traumatized teeth. This could be an indication of a dying nerve (pulp).
  • If the swelling should re-occur, our office needs to see the patient as-soon-as possible. Ice should be administered during the first 24 hours to keep the swelling to a minimum.
  • Watch for infection (gum boils) in the area of trauma. If infection is noticed – call the office so the patient can be seen as-soon-as possible.
  • Maintain a soft diet for two to three days, or until the child feels comfortable eating normally again.
  • Avoid sweets or foods that are extremely hot or cold.
  • If antibiotics or pain medicines are prescribed, be sure to follow the prescription as directed.

Care of the Mouth After Extractions

  • Do not scratch , chew, suck, or rub the lips, tongue, or cheek while they feel numb or asleep. The child should be watched closely so he/she does not injure his/her lip, tongue, or cheek before the anesthesia wears off.
  • Do not rinse the mouth for several hours.
  • Do not spit excessively.
  • Do not drink a carbonated beverage (Coke, Sprite, etc.) for the remainder of the day.
  • Do not drink through a straw.
  • Keep fingers and tongue away from the extraction area.
  • Bleeding – Some bleeding is to be expected. If unusual or sustained bleeding occurs, place cotton gauze firmly over the extraction area and bite down or hold in place for fifteen minutes. This can also be accomplished with a tea bag. Repeat if necessary.
  • Maintain a soft diet for a day or two, or until the child feels comfortable eating normally again.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise or physical activity for several hours after the extraction.
  • Pain – For discomfort use Children’s Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin as directed for the age of the child. If a medicine was prescribed, then follow the directions on the bottle.
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