At Home Care Instructions For Your Child For The 24 Hours Following A Pediatric Extraction

Sometimes a pediatric tooth extraction cannot be avoided. If your child is scheduled to have a tooth pulled or has just had the procedure performed, you may be unsure of how to care for your child's mouth afterwards. Here are some home care instructions for your little one for the 24-hour period after a dental extraction:

No Solid Foods

Immediately after the extraction, your child's mouth may still be numb, and he or she may find it difficult to chew without biting the soft tissues of his or her mouth, such as the inner cheek, tongue or lip. Thus, it is best to avoid foods that require chewing until after the anesthesia wears off completely.

No Straws

Even if you offer your little one only liquids immediately following his or her dental extraction, don't provide a straw. The suction created when your child sucks a straw can cause the protective blood clot that forms over the extraction site to be dislodged. The missing clot can impair the healing of the extraction wound and increase your child's discomfort significantly.

Replace Gauze

If your child's dentist placed a piece of gauze over the extraction wound to discourage excess bleeding, don't remove the gauze as soon as your child leaves the office. Allow it to remain in place for about 45 minutes or so. However, if there is bleeding after the gauze is removed, do the following:

  1. Dampen a clean piece of gauze with warm water and fold it so it is thick enough for your child to bite down on.
  2. Place the pad directly over the extraction wound.
  3. Have your child bite down firmly but gently on the dampened gauze.
  4. If the bleeding continues to soak the gauze, replace it periodically with a new pad.
  5. If the site continues to bleed heavily, contact your child's dental office. However, be sure that it is not only a small amount of blood mixed with a large amount of your child's saliva.

No Alcohol-containing Mouthwash

Don't allow your child to use mouthwash that includes alcohol. The alcohol in the mouthwash could discourage blood clotting.

Don't Clean Adjacent Teeth

Your child can brush and floss his or her other teeth as usual. However, the teeth that border the extraction site should be left alone for the remainder of the day.

Chew on the Opposite Side

Once your child's mouth is no longer numb, have him or her chew on the opposite side.

If your child has recently had a tooth extracted, the extraction site should be left undisturbed as much as possible or the first few days. If any unusual symptoms, such as excessive pain, swelling or bleeding occur, contact a pediatric dentist immediately.

Talk to an expert such as John Shea DDS to learn more.