Whether it’s here in our Katy dental office or elsewhere, often the first question we receive after caring for a child or teen is “So when can they eat?”. Although this is a simple question, it’s importance is obvious and should probably be restated as “How should I care for my child now that you’re through!”. Below are some helpful guidelines to taking care of your child or teen after a recent dental procedure.
Local Anesthesia – Unless the treatment provided was simply an exam or cleaning, in all likelihood, your child has received some form of localized anesthetic for their care. Remember their lip, cheek and tongue may be numb for several hours (usually 2). It is extremely important for you to observe and discourage them from touching, sucking or biting these areas as that will likely result in more trauma; often worse than the treatment itself. We recommend a soft diet, such as smoothies with a spoon, until the anesthetic has worn off.
Fillings – Oftentimes, your child will experience discomfort, particularly around the gum tissue after a filling. This should slowly improve with routine pain care you would normally provide as well as warm saline water rinses for the first day. Regardless of the material used to restore the tooth, we discourage eating until after the anesthetic is gone.
Extractions – The level of discomfort when performing extractions varies with the number of teeth removed, the length of the root and the difficulty of the extraction. For example, removing a loose tooth is far less traumatic as opposed to a tooth riddled with decay. Nonetheless, remember to avoid the most common mistakes: straws and spitting. These negative forces will cause the blood clot not to form well and to slow down healing. Biting on gauze as directed by your dentist will slow down any bleeding and although oozing may occur afterwards, it will improve with cooler foods and should resolve quickly. Again, do not eat or even disturb the treated area until the anesthetic has worn off!
To “head off’ your child’s discomfort after a procedure, please give them Motrin using the recommended guidelines on the bottle, soon after treatment and prior to their complaint. Tylenol is an acceptable alternative when indicated.
If the discomfort persists, call our office and a doctor will be happy to discuss further postoperative care options. Call us at 281.395.2112 or fill out this contact form to reach a team member. Your child’s smile and comfort is our top priority at Welch Dental Group!