Trailhead PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY
Post-operative Care Instructions
Local Anesthetic Recovery
Your child’s mouth was anesthetized (numbed) with local anesthesia. Feeling in their teeth will return within 60 minutes, however their cheek, lip, and or tongue will be numb for 2 to 3 hours. As a result, please be aware of the following details:
- When numb, children tend to scratch, bite, chew, rub and or itch the numb area, especially if it is their first time.
- Areas damaged by any of the above actions can result in large yellowish/white ulcerations, swelling, redness, and or moderate to severe pain.
- Damaged areas can generally be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers, cool and soft foods, and or cold compresses.
- Despite how these injuries may look, they rarely become infected or require antibiotic therapy.
- If a soft tissue injury occurs because of chewing, biting, scratching or itching of the affected area do the following: (a) take over the counter pain relievers as directed on the bottle, (b) have the patient eat softer and cooler foods, (c) use a cold compress or have the patient eat a popsicle.
A porcelain crown was placed on your child’s tooth today so it is important to be aware of the following short and long term details:
- Gum tissues around the crowns may look red, swollen, rough edged, and even a little mobile.
- Often, for a few days after crown placement, the gums can bleed when brushing, if bumped while rough housing, or when eating.
- Moderate pain or discomfort is normal for a few days or even up to a week after crown placement.
- The child’s bite may feel funny or “off” for a week or two.
- Crowns may come off if the child eats sticky foods such as Laffy Taffy, starbursts, caramels, etc.
- Crowns may fracture or fall off if the child sustains facial trauma or bites forcefully in to hard objects.
- Severe pain that cannot be controlled with over-the-counter medications
- Abnormal swelling of the lip, cheek, or gum tissues
- Crown or tooth mobility
- Signs or symptoms of abscess
Cavity reducing sealants have been placed on the biting surface of your child’s teeth today. Sealants cover deep grooves, pits, fissures, and other irregularities on teeth that increase the chances of getting a cavity. Although not foolproof, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of getting cavities on the biting surface of molars by up to 70%. It is important to remember the following after sealants have been placed:
- Although durable, sealants can chip, fracture, or fall off completely. For this reason, it is important to continue seeing your dentist every 6 months so that they can be maintained.
- Chewing ice, biting hard or sticky foods, trains, or grinding or clenching can result in sealant fracture.
- Sealants are not a substitute for proper brushing and flossing or an appropriate diet.
Your child had one or more teeth extracted today. Local anesthetic was used to numb the area which may remain asleep for 2-3 hours. In addition, the extraction site may bleed lightly for the next several hours and mild to moderate discomfort may be experienced. After extractions, caregivers and patients should be aware of the following:
- Children tend to chew, bite, scratch or rub numb areas. This can lead to increased postoperative injury and pain.
- Extraction sites can bleed lightly. Saliva will appear pinkish but large amounts of blood or blood clots should not be present.
- Mild to moderate pain is to be expected and can be managed over the counter painkillers and anti inflammatories
- If bleeding begins again after leaving the office, have your child put pressure on the extraction site by biting on a cold and moist cloth for 10-15 minutes. If bleeding persists, contact the dentist.
- The gums should heal in 2-3 weeks but until then the site will have a yellowish/whitish appearance.
- Bone will grow back in 3-4 months but until then a depression or void may remain in the gums that might require rinsing as food and other debris becomes trapped.
- When teeth are removed, space can be lost which may require spacers or orthodontics.
Your child had one or several composite fillings placed today. These are white in color, and should result in little to no postoperative pain. Local anesthetic was used to numb the area where the filling was done and may last for 2-3 hours. Please be aware of the following:
- Mild cold sensitivity or tenderness when biting may occur for a few days or even up to two weeks. If these go longer than two weeks or sensitivity and tenderness is moderate to severe please contact your dentist
- Sometimes a filling can be a little too high, changing the bite. Please contact the dentist if this is the case.
- Sensitivity of the gums around the tooth or teeth that had fillings placed may experience some mild discomfort and inflammation. They may even bleed a little. This should not last longer than 2-3 days.