Local Anesthesia

Most restorative care (fillings, root canals, and extractions) requires local anesthesia. Local anesthesia (numbing) can be very overwhelming for children. They will often complain that the numb sensation “hurts,” as they do not like the feeling and do not know how to describe it. It is important that you reassure your child that their mouth feels numb, or different, and that it will feel normal again soon.

PLEASE monitor your child while they are numb so they DO NOT play, suck or bite as this can cause trauma to the tissue with subsequent swelling. If this occurs and you are concerned, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you and your child right away.

Restorative Care (Fillings, Crowns, Root Canals)

Most restorative treatment results in minimal discomfort. Any pain your child may experience can be managed with anti-inflammatory medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin).


Having a tooth taken out is a type of surgery. Your child can expect some discomfort even after a simple extraction. Research shows that anti-inflammatory medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can greatly reduce pain from tooth extraction.

Bleeding: Your child will be given gauze to bite on after the procedure. Please keep pressure on the wound for 10-20 minutes until the bleeding has slowed or stopped. It is normal for oozing to occur over 24 hours. If the bleeding or oozing does not stop, a warm moist tea bag can be placed over the site with biting pressure. The tanins in the tea aid in clot formation. If you are concerned with bleeding, please contact our office.

No straws and/or swishing with water or mouthrinse for 24 hours as this may disturb clot formation and cause additional bleeding.

A gentle rinse with warm salt water, started 24 hours after the surgery, can help to keep the area clean. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in a cup of water.

Teeth may be brushed. Be careful not to brush over the extraction site.

Keep physical activity light for 24 hours. After this, normal activity can be resumed.

Extraction of primary teeth does not commonly cause swelling, however, if swelling does occur you can put ice packs on the face to reduce swelling. Typically, they are left on for 20 minutes at a time and removed for 20 minutes. If the jaw is sore and stiff after the swelling goes away, try warm compresses.

Eat soft and cool foods for a few days. Then try other food as your child feels comfortable.

When stitches are needed, we use the type that dissolve on their own over the course of one to two weeks. Rinsing with warm salt water will help the stitches dissolve. If a stitch is still remaining after two weeks, please contact our office as it will need to be removed.

Orthodontic Care

Like many new things, orthodontic appliances will take some getting use to. Here is what your child can expect for a few days after insertion of the appliance:

  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Increased saliva production as the mouth gets used the “foreign object”
  • Temporary speech disruption or lisping
  • Tooth soreness due to pressure as the teeth adjust to the appliance
  • Mouth sores as the soft tissues build up a “toughness” against the appliance

Here are some recommendations to help minimize problems and make the transition more comfortable for your child:

  • Start with foods that are easy to chew and swallow
  • Practice speaking by reading a book aloud until it feels comfortable to speak with the appliance
  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) for 2-3 days if your child is experiencing discomfort
  • Rinse with salt water or apply topical ointment (as recommended) if mouth sores develop
  • If the appliance becomes bent, damaged or loose, contact our office immediately so we can repair or adjust the appliance. Waiting to have the appliance fixed could affect the fit and subsequent need to refabricate the appliance.

Care of the orthodontic appliance:

  • Avoid eating sticky foods (candy and chewing gum), popcorn, and ice
  • Encourage your child NOT to push, pull, or play with the appliance with their fingers or tongue
  • Keep it clean by brushing around all wires, bands, and other areas that can trap food
  • Maintain recommended follow ups so that the appliance can be inspected for any problems and we can make sure the appliance is functioning properly


If your child requires dental treatment under general anesthesia, the anesthesiologist will provide pre and post-anesthesia care instructions. Be sure to follow post-operative instructions for the specific restorative procedures your child underwent in order to help them have a quick recovery.