Post-Op Instructions

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Post-Op Instructions


The following information is provided to aid you and your child after he / she has had routine dental treatment in our office. Although every situation is unique, these can be helpful guidelines and information regarding your child’s treatment. For any questions regarding your child’s post-operative care, please do not hesitate to call.


Local Anesthetic – Local Anesthetic was used during your child’s dental treatment. As a result their mouth will be “numb” for approximately 2 – 4 hours. Watch them closely to see that your child does not bite, scratch or injure the cheek, lips or tongue. Some children become very upset (even crying) and complain of pain when they realize their mouth feels “different.” Please do not be alarmed! Many children are unfamiliar with this numb sensation and associate this with pain. Reassure your child that the “funny feeling” will go away in approximately 2 hours.


Enameloplasty – Contouring of enamel is indicated in the following situations: (1) to prevent a very small cavity from enlarging (2) to correct an ectopic eruption (3) to correct mild crowding.


Sealants – Avoid sticky foods for 24 hours. The sealant will feel high on the teeth for the first day or so and needs to be ground down naturally by your child during normal chewing. Call us or return if the sealants are still uncomfortable after 48 hours.


Dental Fillings – After the placement of dental fillings (white or silver), teeth may often be sensitive to hot, cold and pressure for a brief period of time. It is not uncommon for recently filled teeth to require several weeks to feel “normal” again. The bite is always checked after any filling is placed. While most fillings have no post-operative issues, some fillings may need to be slightly adjusted. Allow 3-5 days before returning to have a filling adjusted as sometimes the bite can take this long to return to normal.


Stainless Steel Crowns – Your child’s teeth have been covered with a stainless steel crown which has been shaped to fit the tooth, cover it completely and strengthen the tooth thereby allowing your child to maintain that tooth until it naturally falls out. The gum tissue surrounding the tooth may appear to be bleeding. This is normal! When preparing your child’s tooth for a crown, it is necessary to fit the crown closely to the gum tissue, resulting in some hemorrhaging and bruising of the tissue. Following placement of the crowns some parents will notice a purple or gray color around the gums; this is also normal and will subside over time.


Pulpotomy – When your child receives a nerve treatment it is usually NOT necessary to prescribe any pain medication. Children that do experience discomfort usually do fine with Ibuprofen or Tylenol (follow directions on the bottle).


Dental Extractions – After dental extractions your child will have gauze pressure packs placed to control normal bleeding from the site of the extraction. Most dental extractions are routine and it is unlikely that your child will need any pain medication or any antibiotics. Do not allow your child to suck from a straw or drink carbonated beverages for 48 hours – this may prolong bleeding due to disrupting the normal blood clotting process. Always keep the extraction site cleaned with gentle brushing and mouth rinses as discussed by the dentist. Gums always heal best when thoroughly cleaned. It may be necessary for your child to be on a soft diet regimen for 1-2 days and, sometimes, up to a week.


Nitrous Oxide – Oxygen – “Laughing Gas” was used during your child’s dental appointment. Nitrous Oxide has a proven track record of being very safe, providing exceptional relief of anxiety with the only side effect being that of nausea but only in very rare instances.


Swelling and Pain – Mild swelling and discomfort are normal occurrences following some dental procedures. Most mild swellings are best handled with over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen and Tylenol. Any significant swelling or moderate to severe pain needs the attention of the dental office so it can be properly managed. If the swelling is due to dental infection (abscess), the dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to minimize spread of the infection. It is important that you follow the doctors instructions for taking the antibiotic.


Diet and Other Limitations – After dental treatment, especially dental extractions, your child’s diet should initially consist of soft foods (jello, pudding, smoothies) and clear non-carbonated beverages (water, juice, Gatorade) for one to two days or as needed. Avoid eating crunchy or sticky foods as well as spicy foods and citrus drinks.


Sedation Activity Limitations – Your child will probably be sleepy or acting groggy today due to receiving a sedative. Don’t be surprised if your child wants to take a nap for several hours, just make sure your child rests on his/her side or back and is closely monitored by an adult for the rest of the day. Activities should be limited to watching TV, playing quietly with toys inside and resting. Your child should not return to school or daycare today, he/she needs to be under close parental supervision. If work related obligations necessitate that your child return to school/daycare, please inform the teacher/caregiver that your child is to be monitored closely.


We are ALWAYS here for our patients! Do not hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s recovery.


Post-Op Instructions for Oral Sedation Visit


Place your child in a car seat (if available) during your trip home. If your child falls asleep, be sure to keep his/her head up and away from his/her chest. This is why it is important to have another adult with you.


After treatment, when your child is alert, give clear fluids such as water or apple juice as often as he/she wants. Small sips taken repeatedly are preferable to taking large amounts at once. Fluid intake should be encouraged. Wait at least 1 hour after treatment before allowing your child small amounts of soft foods such as jello, applesauce, or soup. Wait at least 4 hours before giving dairy or greasy fatty foods. Add regular foods as tolerated by your child. Nausea and vomiting are occasional side effects of sedation.


Do not plan or permit activities for your child after treatment. Allow your child to rest or nap, always supporting the head and keeping the chin up – propping with pillows to keep this position. Closely supervise any activity fro the remainder of the day.


Local anesthetic is used to numb the mouth during dental treatment, usually lasting 2-4 hours. Watch to see that your child does not bite, scratch, or injure his/her cheek, lips, or tongue. If there is minor intra-oral discomfort, Children’s Tylenol or Motrin may be given. If the discomfort persists, contact us.


1. If vomiting persists beyond 4 hours 
2. If the child’s temperature remains elevated beyond 24 hours or goes above 101 degreesF 
3. If there is difficulty breathing


Once dental treatment is completed, it is normal for slight bleeding and swelling of the gums to occur. Depending on the treatment performed, healing times may be different. The doctor will discuss expected recovery times with you after treatment. It is important to always keep the teeth and gums clean following treatment. Gently brush the teeth to remove daily plaque to allow for proper healing.

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