After a tooth extraction, it is important to properly care for your child’s mouth and teeth to ensure their wellbeing and comfort. The duration of time your child will experience numbness will vary, depending on the amount and type of anesthetic used and the area that was treated. While they are experiencing numbness, you will want to make sure they are careful to not bite their cheek, tongue, or lip. It is important they do have have any food that requires chewing while their mouth is numb. For liquid foods, it is important they do not use a straw. When a straw is used, the sucking action may loosen the blood clot and prevent proper healing. Numbness should subside within a few hours. If it doesn’t, please contact our office.
To limit bleeding, we will place a gauze pack on the extraction site. This also confines the blood while clotting takes place. After you leave our office, you should keep this gauze pack in place for 30 to 45 minutes. After the pack is removed, there may be some oozing or bleeding. If so, please follow this procedure:
- Fold a piece of clean gauze into a pad thick enough to bite on. Dampen the pad with clean, warm water and place it directly on the extraction site.
- Apply moderate pressure by closing the teeth firmly over the pad. Maintain this pressure for about 30 minutes. If the pad becomes soaked with blood, replace it with a clean one as necessary.
- Do not suck on the extraction site or disturb it with your tongue.
- A slight amount of blood may leak from the extraction site until a clot forms. However, if heavy bleeding continues, call the office. (Remember, though, that a little bit of blood mixed with a lot of saliva can look like a lot of bleeding.)
Swelling and Pain
Your child may have some discomfort and notice some swelling after a tooth extraction. Applying cold compresses to their face can help reduce pain and swelling. You can periodically use a cold, moist cloth. Please call our office immediately if your child has prolonged or severe pain, bleeding, swelling, nausea or vomiting.
Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids and eats soft, nutritious foods after their tooth extraction. Avoid giving them hot liquids. Do not let them use a straw. They can begin eating solid foods the next day or as soon as they can chew comfortably. For the first few days following the procedure, encourage them to chew food on the side opposite the extraction site. When it feels comfortable for them, they can resume chewing on both sides of their mouth.
Cleaning Your Mouth
The day of their procedure, avoid cleaning the teeth next to the healing tooth socket. However, floss and brush your child’s other teeth thoroughly. Your child can clean the teeth next to the healing tooth socket the next day. We also recommend making sure they clean their tongue. This helps to eliminate the unpleasant tastes and bad breath that are common after a tooth extraction.
To keep food out of the extraction site, in the days following the extraction procedure, have your child gently rinse their mouth with warm salt water after meals. Make sure they do not rinse their mouth too vigorously, as this may dislodge the blood clot.
Choosing oral hygiene products that carry the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance ensures it meets the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness.