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Post-Op Care page Happy Kids Smiling

Post-Op Care

Our recommendations for post-dental care.


Girl blowing bubbles

Tooth Extraction Instructions

Your child's mouth is expected to heal normally. To assure this, please follow these instructions:

1. Make certain that your child continues to bite on the gauze for 15 to 20 minutes after leaving our office. This biting pressure stops the bleeding and allows better clotting.

2. Use the extra gauze we have provided when the initial gauze becomes overly wet. Fold the gauze pad into fourths and place it into the extraction site. Then have your child bite firmly.

3. Bleeding should stop in about 20 to 45 minutes after extraction. A slight oozing of blood for a day is normal. If it is a problem, have the child continue to bite on the gauze. Call our office if there is excessive bleeding. Sometimes, a little blood mixed with saliva appears to be excessive bleeding. Have your child’s head slightly elevated for sleep and use an old pillow case.

4. The area where the tooth was (extraction site) will turn dark burgundy red and a gray-yellow spot may appear in the center. This is normal healing. Within 5 to 10 days after extraction, the area will become pink and look normal again.

5. For one hour following the extraction your child should have nothing to eat or drink. For the remainder of the day your child should eat soft foods and avoid hot foods and eating on the side of the extraction. (Examples of soft foods are soups, pasta, eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, gelatin, puddings, apple sauce, soft cheeses, mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach). If a front tooth was extracted, avoid foods that need to be incised like chicken or ribs on the bone or corn on the cob.

6. On the day of extraction, your child should not rinse his or her mouth or drink through a straw because these activities may disturb the clot.

7. Be careful and watch that your child does not accidentally bite or scratch the numb cheek, tongue and/or lip. It can happen very quickly! The numbness generally lasts one to three hours.

8. Gentle brushing with warm salt water (1 tsp. salt per 8 oz. glass of water) can begin the morning following the extraction. A clean mouth will heal more quickly. Continue the rinsing for several days and longer if there is a problem keeping the area clean.

9. If your child feels discomfort, he or she can have the appropriate dosage of acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) pain killer if your child is not allergic.

10. Do not hesitate to call our office if you have any concerns or questions: (415) 459-1444

Care After Local Anesthetic

Anesthetic numbs the tissues of the lips, the cheeks, and sometimes the tongue of the area involved. Children usually do not understand the effects of this local anesthetic and have the tendency to chew or suck the affected area, occasionally causing laceration and swelling of the tissues. Although this may not be a serious thing, it can be very uncomfortable. PLEASE watch your child very closely until the numbness disappears: upper jaw 2 hours or so, lower jaw 3 to 4 hours if a block is given or about 1 hour if local infiltration is used. If the child bites the numb area, it usually occurs shortly after leaving the office.

The following is a recommended book and excellent preparation prior to a filling appointment where an injection will be given:

Going to the Dentist

by Anne Civardi