Sealants are placed on the teeth without the use of local anesthesia; however your child may feel his/her teeth do not fit together properly for a few hours. Crunching ice, eating sticky foods such as candy or gum should be avoided because it might dislodge the sealant. Sealants typically last 3-5 years. We will check the sealants every 6 months.
Postoperative Care After Local Anesthesia
Local anesthesia is utilized in order to numb your child’s mouth allowing your pediatric dentist to complete specific dental work without your child feeling pain. The effects of the local anesthetic generally last for 2-4 hours after your child’s dental services and may include numbness of:
- Surrounding oral tissue
Duration of numbness differs for each patient during postoperative care and depends on:
- Location of injection site
- Patient metabolism
- Amount of anesthetic required for the procedure
Following these postoperative care tips will help your child feel comfortable following the anesthesia:
- Monitor your child during postoperative care until the effects of the anesthetic wear off. Be sure to explain the numbing sensation so that your child will be careful not to irritate the affected area by sucking, pulling, chewing, biting, or scratching at it. These actions can cause:
- Do not let your child chew until the numbness subsides. If your child is hungry, stick to soft foods, such as:
- Smoothies (no straws if an extraction was performed)
- Reassure your child that the “funny feeling” will go away. Some children become frightened because the numbing sensation is unfamiliar and a little TLC can go a long way during postoperative care.
- Be proactive with pain control during postoperative care. It is normal for the injection site to be sore. If your child is generally sensitive to discomfort, you may want to administer over-the-counter pain medicine prior to the anesthetic wearing off, as it is easier to control pain before it starts.
- If your child does bite his/her cheek, lip, or tongue, give age-appropriate ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain, and place a cold compress or ice on the affected area for a few minutes. If the bleeding is severe, or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office.
Restorations requiring local anesthesia: (examples include fillings and crowns) local anesthesia was used to complete your child’s treatment today. The lips and tongue may be numb. Because your child may not be able to control their tongue, it is best if your child does not chew food until the anesthetic has worn off (about 2-3 hours). Soft foods, which do not require chewing such as milkshakes or soups, are suggested to avoid biting the tongue. Children tend to pinch their numb tongue and lips so watch your child carefully to stop this behavior to prevent soreness. Mild swelling and some discomfort are normal occurrences following some restorations. The gum tissue may be sore and some inflammation could be expected. Children’s Tylenol or Advil (ibuprofen) should relieve any minor discomfort.
Once the anesthetic from your child’s dental filling wears off, there is generally no pain other than the soreness at the injection site. For especially deep fillings, the tooth could have some hot/cold sensitivity for a couple of weeks.
Postoperative care for fillings includes:
- Follow aftercare instructions for local anesthesia.
- Avoidance of sticky, hard candies such as Jolly Ranchers, Milk Duds, caramel, and Laffy Taffy. Chewing these types of candies can affect the filling when excessive force is used to separate the teeth.
- For silver fillings, eat a soft diet for 24 hours until the fillings fully harden.
- For composite fillings, a normal diet is fine once the numbness subsides.
It is important to permit a strong clot to form at the site of the extraction. For this reason, carbonated beverages should be avoided for 24 hours and drinks should not be taken through a straw. If spitting is necessary, it should not be done forcefully. Soft foods are recommended for 24 hours. If the child has an activity on the day of an extraction (sports and dance) they should be able to participate, but could aggravate the extraction site and cause recurrent bleeding. Adding pressure with gauze will be effective to stop the bleeding. Mild swelling and some discomfort are normal occurrences following extractions. The gum tissue may be sore and some inflammation could be expected. Children’s Tylenol or Advil (ibuprofen) should relieve any minor discomfort.
Post-extraction care includes:
- Follow aftercare instructions for local anesthesia.
- For bleeding/oozing, place gauze over the extraction site and hold or bite in place with pressure for 15 minutes. You may need to replace the gauze, however, if bleeding is not controlled after two hours, please contact our office. You may want to place an old towel or shirt over your child’s pillow in case of drooling for the first day.
- Feed your child a soft diet for the first day or two after the extraction. Crunchy foods that could lodge in the extraction site should be avoided for several days.
- Avoid carbonated beverages and do not drink with a straw for 24 hours.
- Keep tongue and fingers away from the extraction site.
- Avoid rinsing the mouth for several hours. On the second day, begin to have your child gently rinse his/her mouth with warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt per cup of water) after each meal, if able.
- Most activities can be resumed the same day; however, strenuous activities can cause recurrent bleeding and aggravation.
- Do not spit forcefully or excessively.
- Gently brush and floss teeth as usual, but avoid disturbing the extraction site.
- Use age-appropriate over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, for pain. Do not give your child aspirin.