Caring for Your Child After Local Anesthetic
Local anesthetic is used for most dental procedures to numb the area of your child’s mouth that is being treated. He or she will be numb in that area for an average of two hours after the appointment. If the treatment was done on the lower jaw, the tongue, teeth, lower lip and surrounding tissue will be numb. If the treatment was done on the upper jaw, the teeth, upper lip and surrounding tissue will be numb.
Most children do not fully understand the effects of local anesthesia, and they may chew, scratch, suck, or play with the numb areas. These actions can cause serious injuries, so please monitor your child closely for approximately two hours following the appointment. We also recommend that you keep your child on a soft diet until the anesthetic has worn off.
There is a product called OraVerse® that can be used with certain patients to reduce the amount of time they are numb. If you are interested in OraVerse®, tell the operative assistant before your child’s procedure begins to find out if he or she is a good candidate.
Caring for Your Child After Oral Trauma
If your child has knocked out a permanent tooth, he or she needs to be seen by the dentist immediately. You need to locate the tooth and follow these steps precisely:
- Gently hold the tooth by the crown, not the root, and rinse it off with plain water. Do not scrub it.
- Either re-insert it back into the socket and hold it in place with gauze, or place it in a glass of milk to transport it to our office.
- Call us immediately because time is of the essence to save the tooth. If it’s after hours, our voicemail will give you the phone number of the on call doctor.
- If you cannot locate the tooth and think your child may have inhaled it, call their pediatrician or go to the emergency room for an x-ray.
Over the counter pain relievers are fine to use, and you can apply ice for any facial swelling. The eventual treatment may include anything from a root canal and temporary splint to a porcelain crown or implant.
Caring for Your Child After Extractions
If your child has had one or more teeth extracted, please review the above information regarding local anesthetic and caring for your child when he or she is numb.
Your child will leave the office with gauze or cotton rolls in his or her mouth, and it needs to stay in place for 30 minutes. This will reduce the amount of bleeding and help prevent your child from accidentally biting himself.
Before the numbness wears off, it’s a good idea to give your child the appropriate dose of children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but do not give them aspirin. Your child should only need pain medication for approximately 12 to 24 hours. If pain persists beyond 48 hours, please call our office.
Your child should eat only soft, bland food for the first day or two, and nothing sharp, crunchy or too hot or cold because the area might be sensitive. Encourage your child to drink plenty of liquids (water, soups, juices, etc.)
Do not allow your child to spit or drink through a straw or sippy cup because the force can start the bleeding again.
Gentle brushing around the extraction site can be started immediately along with warm salt water rinses (1/4 teaspoon to a glass of water) to aid with any discomfort.
Activity may need to be limited depending on how your child is feeling. Sometimes a nap is a good idea.
Swelling in the first 24 hours after an extraction is not uncommon and should not cause alarm. If it occurs, apply an ice pack for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off as needed.