Emergencies for Pediatric Dentistry

Post-Operative Care

Care of the Mouth After Local Anesthetic
Care of the Mouth After Trauma
Care of the Mouth After Extractions
Care of Sealants
Oral Discomfort After a Cleaning
Care After An Extraction
Care After the Sedation Appointment

Care of the Mouth After Local Anesthetic

  • If 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.

Please do not hesitate to call the office if there are any questions.

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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.

Please do not hesitate to call the office if there are any questions.

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.

Please do not hesitate to call the office if there are any questions.

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Care of Sealants

By forming a thin covering over the pits and fissures, sealants keep out plaque and food, thus decreasing the risk of decay. Since, the covering is only over the biting surface of the tooth, areas on the side and between teeth cannot be coated with the sealant. Good oral hygiene and nutrition are still very important in preventing decay next to these sealants or in areas unable to be covered.

Your child should refrain from eating ice or hard candy, which tend to fracture the sealant. Regular dental appointments are recommended in order for your child's dentist to be certain the sealants remain in place.

The American Dental Association recognizes that sealants can play an important role in the prevention of tooth decay. When properly applied and maintained, they can successfully protect the chewing surfaces of your child's teeth. A total prevention program includes regular visits to the dentist, the use of fluoride, daily brushing and flossing, and limiting the number of times sugar-rich foods are eaten. If these measures are followed and sealants are used on the child's teeth, the risk of decay can be reduced or may even be eliminated!

Oral Discomfort After a Cleaning

A thorough cleaning unavoidably produces some bleeding and swelling and may cause some tenderness or discomfort. This is not due to a "rough cleaning" but, to tender and inflamed gums from insufficient oral hygiene. We recommend the following for 2-3 days after cleaning was performed:

  1. A warm salt water rinse 2-3 times per day. (1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water)
  2. For discomfort use Children's Tylenol, Advil or Motrin as directed by the age of the child.

Please do not hesitate to contact the office if the discomfort persists for more than 7 days or if there are any questions.

Care After An Extraction

  1. Your child has had 1 or more teeth "wiggled" out.
  2. The gauze needs to stay in place with biting pressure for 30 minutes. This will reduce the amount of bleeding.
  3. Give your child the appropriate dose of children's Tylenol, Motrin or Advil when you take the gauze out (NO aspirin). Your child should only need this for approximately 12 to 24 hours. If pain persists beyond 48 hours, please call our office.
  4. Your child should eat only soft, bland food for the first couple days- nothing sharp, crunchy or too hot or cold because the area may be a sensitive. Encourage plenty of liquids (water, soups, juices, etc.). Let your child determine when a regular diet can be reintroduced.
  5. NO spitting or drinking through a straw or "sippy" cup. The force can start the bleeding again.
  6. A clean mouth heals faster. 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.
  7. Activity may need to be limited. Sometimes a nap is a good idea.
  8. Swelling after an extraction is not uncommon and should not cause alarm. If this occurs, apply an ice pack for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off as needed in the 24 hours following tooth removal.
  9. Your child's cheek, lip and tongue will be numb for approximately 1-2 hours. Please be very careful that your child does not bite at his/her cheek or pick at this area. As this area "wakes up" it may feel funny. A self-inflicted bite injury is the most common post-op complication. Please keep an eye on your child!

If you have any questions or should any complications arise, please call the office at: 731-3000-FUN (386)

Care After the Sedation Appointment

  • Travel: As always be certain to place your child in a seat belt or car seat (whichever is appropriate for his/her size) during the trip home. Make sure your child’s head is positioned in such a way as to permit easy breathing—either upright or turned to the side but never tilted downward as if looking at the ground.
  • Sleep: Most children will sleep for a couple of hours after their dental treatment until the sedative medications begin to wear off. Lay your child on his/her side and check his/her breathing periodically. Do not lay your child face down or on his/her back. Call us immediately if your child has any difficulty breathing.
  • Diet: If your child sleeps after the appointment, awaken him/her in a couple hours and begin giving clear liquids such as water, Sprite, Gatorade, apple juice, popsicles or Jell-O. The more liquids your child has the sooner the effects of the medications will begin to subside. When your child is taking clear liquids well, he/she may progress to a soft bland diet and then to a normal diet. Examples of a soft bland diet include: ice cream, pudding, bananas, potatoes, grits, eggs, soup, etc.
  • Activity: After your child awakens he/she may be unsteady on his/her feet for several hours. Therefore, your child should be closely supervised until you are certain he/she has complete control of his/her balance. Do not allow your child to ride or climb anything or participate in sports on the day of the appointment. **Because the effects of the sedation are long lasting you should withhold your child from school or daycare, limit extensive physical activity, and make arrangements for an adult to supervise your child for the rest of the day. Normal activities may be resumed the following day.
  • Medications: The sedative medications and the feeling of numbness usually begin to subside 2-3 hours after the appointment. If your child experiences discomfort then, you may give Tylenol or Motrin as instructed on the label of the medication. While your child is numb make sure he/she doesn’t bite or scratch his/her cheek or lip.
  • Oral Hygiene: You should begin brushing your child’s teeth the day following the dental appointment. If it is difficult to brush due to soreness, it is all right to wipe the teeth and gums clean with a wet washcloth for a day or two.
  • Questions: If you have any questions you may contact us at 731-3000-FUN (386).
  • Thank You: We are grateful you have given us the privilege of caring for your child. Our goal has been to provide quality dental care for your child in a safe environment while minimizing your child’s anxieties in an effort to help him/her develop a positive attitude toward dentistry in the future.

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