Caring for Your Child After Treatment

Whether it’s an extraction, crown, or filling, it’s important to give your child close attention after a dental procedure. With attentive, loving care and comfort, your child will have a quick and effective recovery.

Local Anesthesia

Many dental procedures require local anesthesia. This numbing medication allows the dental work to be completed with minimal discomfort. Depending on the treatment your child may be numb in one or all of the following areas:

  • Teeth
  • Lips
  • Cheeks
  • Tongue

Local anesthesia usually lasts for one to two hours after you go home. Watch your child carefully to make sure he or she does not chew, suck, or play with the numb areas of the mouth.

Avoid letting your child chew or eat anything until all the numbness has worn off. Chewing before the numbness wears off can cause swelling, bleeding and even severe trauma.


After an extraction, we will provide gauze for your child to bite down on at the extraction site. Your child should hold this in place for at least 30 minutes following the procedure.

If the bleeding stops and then restarts, give your child a new piece of gauze to bite down on. Allow your child to rest quietly for an additional thirty minutes during this time. Make sure your child is simply biting down on the gauze, not chewing it.

If your child’s extraction site is actively bleeding after several hours, check to see if is bright blood dripping every 1-2 seconds from the extraction site. If you notice this, please contact the office immediately.

Cleaning the Extraction Site

Avoid brushing the extraction area with a toothbrush for several days. We will give you a small syringe to clean the extraction site. Fill this syringe with warm water to rinse and clean the extraction area. If your child is old enough, he or she may rinse or swish with a salt water rinse or mouthwash.


If you notice any swelling after a dental treatment, place an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables on the area for 10-20 minutes. You may give your child an over-the-counter pain medication (acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed on the bottle) to help reduce the swelling.

Watch closely for signs of infection, such as:

  • Redness in the treatment area
  • Drainage in the treatment area
  • Fever

Contact us immediately if your child is having difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Stainless Steel Crowns

Your child’s gums will be sensitive for several days after the placement of stainless steel crowns. If needed, you may administer an over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen (as directed on the bottle).

The gums may bleed when eating or brushing teeth for several days after treatment. Continue brushing even if the gums are bleeding or sore. This ensures food does not get trapped and cause an infection in the gums. To help make cleaning easier, you may administer a dose of pain medication 30 to 60 minutes before brushing your child’s teeth.

Foods To Avoid after a Stainless Steel Crown

Because stainless steel crowns are glued into place with a special cement, we recommend several simple dietary restrictions. Avoiding these foods will give the cement the best chance to hold the crown in place.

Please avoid sticky or chewy foods, such as:

  • Gum
  • Raisins
  • Fruit snacks
  • Caramel
  • Sticky candies

Space Maintainers

Space maintainers require careful attention. Make sure the appliance does not move when your child eats or brushes. If it does move, please contact us. Additionally, sticky foods such as gum, raisins, caramel, fruit snacks, and candies should be avoided as long as the space maintainer is in the mouth.

If you notice a permanent tooth coming in underneath the space maintainer, a dental appointment should be scheduled right away. The space maintainer will be removed so that it does not interfere with the permanent tooth’s eruption.

Sedation or General Anesthesias

The medications your child received may take six to eight hours to completely wear off. We don’t recommend allowing your child to return to daycare or school. Instead, keep your child resting comfortably at home for the remainder of the day.

Offer your child plenty of fluids to drink. If your child is resting and falls back to sleep at home, wake your child every hour to encourage drinking. You may give over-the-counter pain medications as necessary.

Having an upset stomach after sedation or general anesthesia is not uncommon. To minimize the likelihood your child experiences this initially reintroduce food with a soft diet.

Good foods to start with include:

  • Applesauce
  • Jello
  • Pudding
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Yogurt

You may advance the diet as your child tolerates or requests.


 If you have questions about how to care for your child after dental treatment, call our office at (434) 817-1817. Or contact us online

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Call (434) 817-1817 to Schedule Your Appointment

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