Post Operative Instructions

Care of the Mouth After Fillings or Crowns

Remember that it will take time for your child to adjust to the feel of his/her new bite. When a bite is changed or the position of the teeth is altered it takes several days for the brain to adjust to the new position or thickness of the teeth. 

It is typical for teeth to be sensitive to hot and cold sensations.  After removal of tooth structure, the teeth and mouth can take some time to heal, and will be sensitive in the meantime.  Your child’s gums may also be sore for a few days. To reduce pain and swelling, rinse with warm salt water (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) three times a day. 

As soon as the anesthetic completely wears off, you may chew with your composite fillings and crowns.  These restorations are fully set when you leave the office.

Care of the Mouth after Local Anesthetic

After local anesthetic has been applied for a dental procedure, the gums, lip, tongue, teeth, and surrounding tissue will be asleep or numb.  This is normal.

Many times, children do not understand the effects of local anesthesia, and can be prone to chew, scratch, suck, or play with the numb lip, tongue, or cheek. This can be severe enough to cause swelling, ulcerations, and abrasions to the tissue. Please monitor your child closely for about two hours following the procedure. It is a good idea to feed your child liquid and soft foods until the numbness completely wears off.

Care of the Mouth after Trauma

Short term:

  • Keep the affected area as-clean-as possible. A soft wash cloth can work well to aid the process.
  • Ice should be compressed against the area during the first 24 hours to keep the swelling down.
  • Keep a soft diet for 2 – 3 days, or until the child can eat comfortably again.
  • Use caution with sweets or foods that are extremely hot or cold.
  • If antibiotics or pain medicines are given, follow the instructions as directed.

Long term:

  • Watch for infection (gum boils) in the area of trauma. If you suspect infection – call the office so your child can be seen for an appointment.
  • Watch for darkening of traumatized teeth. This could be an indication of a dying nerve (pulp).
  • If you have any concerns, call the office.

Care of the Mouth after Extraction

Avoid rinsing the mouth for several hours.

Avoid excess spitting.

Avoid carbonated beverages (such as soda) for the rest of the day.

Avoid drinking and sucking through a straw.

Keep fingers and tongue away from the extraction area.

Bleeding is typical with extractions.  If bleeding unusual or does not stop, place cotton gauze firmly over the extraction site and bite down or hold in place for fifteen minutes. A tea bag may also be used. Repeat if necessary.

Sick to a soft diet for a day or two, or until the child can eat comfortably.  

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/weight of the child. If a medicine was prescribed, then follow the instructions provided.

Care of Sealants

Sealants form a thin covering over a tooth’s pits and fissures.  This keeps out plaque and food, thus decreasing the risk of decay. Because the covering is only on the biting surface of the tooth, the side of the tooth and the areas in between are not protected. Proper oral hygiene and nutrition are still very important in preventing decay next to these sealants or in areas unable to be sealed.

Children should avoid eating ice or hard candy, as they can fracture the sealant. Regular dental appointments are recommended in order for the 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 applied correctly and maintained regularly, 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 practices are followed, the risk of decay can be reduced or may even be eliminated!

Oral Discomfort after a Cleaning

A thorough cleaning can sometimes produce some bleeding, tenderness or discomfort. This is not due to a “rough cleaning” but, to 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.) Use Children’s Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin as directed for the age/weight of the child.