Skip to content

Post Op Instructions

Caring for Your Child After Local Anesthetic

Local anesthetic is used for most dental procedures to numb the area of your child’s mouth that is being treated. He or she will be numb in that area for an average of two hours after the appointment. If the treatment was done on the lower jaw, the tongue, teeth, lower lip and surrounding tissue will be numb. If the treatment was done on the upper jaw, the teeth, upper lip and surrounding tissue will be numb.

Most children do not fully understand the effects of local anesthesia, and they may chew, scratch, suck, or play with the numb areas. These actions can cause serious injuries, so please monitor your child closely for approximately two hours following the appointment. We also recommend that you keep your child on a soft diet until the anesthetic has worn off.

Caring for Your Child After Oral Trauma

If your child has injured his or her mouth, please review the information on our website about cracked teeth or knocking teeth out.

At home, you should try to keep the traumatized area as clean as possible. A soft wash cloth is usually helpful. Ice can be administered during the first 24 hours to keep the swelling to a minimum. If swelling re-occurs, call us for an appointment.

You need to watch for darkening of the traumatized teeth, which could indicate a dying nerve. Also watch for any signs of an abscess in the area of trauma. If you suspect an abscess, call the office so we can see your child as soon as possible.

Your child should 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.

Caring for Your Child After Extractions

If your child has had one or more teeth extracted, please review the above information regarding local anesthetic and caring for your child when he or she is numb.

Your child will leave the office with gauze or cotton rolls in his or her mouth, and it needs to stay in place for 30 minutes. This will reduce the amount of bleeding and help prevent your child from accidentally biting himself.

Before the numbness wears off, it’s a good idea to give your child the appropriate dose of children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but do not give them aspirin. Your child should only need pain medication for approximately 12 to 24 hours. If pain persists beyond 48 hours, please call our office.

Your child should eat only soft, bland food for the first day or two, and nothing sharp, crunchy or too hot or cold because the area might be sensitive. Encourage your child to drink plenty of liquids (water, soups, juices, etc.)

Do not allow your child to spit or drink through a straw or sippy cup because the force can start the bleeding again.

Gentle brushing around the extraction site can be started immediately along with warm salt water rinses (1/4 teaspoon to a glass of water) to aid with any discomfort.

Activity may need to be limited depending on how your child is feeling. Sometimes a nap is a good idea.
Swelling in the first 24 hours after an extraction is not uncommon and should not cause alarm. If it occurs, apply an ice pack for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off as needed.