Caring for Your Child After a Tooth Extraction

Tooth Extraction Aftercare

Tooth extractions can be necessary — but most of us wouldn’t call them fun. Next to the dreaded drill, tooth extraction might be the main reason why people get a little anxious when thinking about going to the dentist. This can be just as true for parents of children undergoing a tooth extraction, as it would be as stressful as if you were having it done yourself.

Fortunately, tooth extraction methods have become far easier in recent years. And our expert practitioners know how to minimize pain during and after the procedure.

Here at AC Pediatric Dentistry, our caring team will go above and beyond to make your child’s tooth extraction procedure and recovery as comfortable as possible. As a parent and caregiver, you can help by learning more about what to expect during the process. That’s why we’re sharing this helpful guide so you can be as prepared as possible to care for your child after tooth extraction.

Tooth Extraction Procedures Explained

Tooth extraction for children, particularly baby teeth removal, should always be seen as a last resort, but there are times when it is necessary. Infection, misplacement, crowding, deciduous teeth, and irreparable tooth decay can all require extraction to promote overall oral health.

A routine tooth extraction typically takes between five and 30 minutes. The procedure typically involves initial X-ray evaluation, application of a local anesthetic, careful severing of fibers that attach to the tooth, and precise removal of the tooth with forceps. The dentist will then carefully examine the socket to ensure the tooth has been fully removed and there are no remaining roots.

Recovering from a Tooth Extraction

You can expect your child’s extraction site to heal within a couple of days. Although pain should be minimal, there will still be some amount of soreness and discomfort. You will be given detailed instructions for aftercare from your dentist, and you should not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Here are some effective tips to help your child recover from a tooth extraction:

  • Manage any pain or aches with medication and by locally applying an ice pack to the area
  • Administer pain medication only as directed
  • Do not let your child rinse for the first 24 hours, and make sure the first flush is a gentle saline rinse
  • Avoid allowing the use of a straw for the first 24 hours
  • Keep your child hydrated
  • Make sure he or she relaxes and gets plenty of rest, especially right after the appointment
  • Once your child begins eating again, avoid hot, hard, and crunchy foods — soft foods are best!

Eventually, the socket will heal with time as it fills up with bone.

How long does numbness last after a tooth extraction?

While the local anesthetic used during a tooth extraction helps your child avoid pain, the aftereffects can be a little disorienting. Usually, the anesthetic will numb the tooth and socket itself for one to two hours. Residual numbness in the lips, face, and tongue may last for up to five hours though.

These effects can be a little frustrating as they get in the way of normal activities such as talking, drinking, and eating. The best thing your child can do is rest and be patient as this medication wears off naturally.

How to Stop Bleeding After a Tooth Extraction

Some bleeding after a tooth extraction is normal. Pediatric dentists will typically advise caregivers to control their child’s bleeding with a small piece of gauze if it occurs.

  • The gauze can be rolled up or folded into a square and placed on top of the socket
  • Your child can then bite down firmly but gently on the gauze for 45 to 60 minutes
  • A tea bag, which contains tannic acid that helps with clotting, can be used instead of gauze

The goal for the first 24 hours after the extraction is to protect the developing blood clot, which prevents bleeding. This is why children should avoid vigorous rinsing and spitting, as well as hot and/or solid foods.

When can my child eat solid foods again?

Soft or liquid foods are recommended for the first 24 hours to avoid damaging the area, help with pain, and protect the formation of the blood clot.

Apple sauce, mashed potatoes, and soft plain pasta can be good foods to introduce as your little one begins to regain their appetite. This is also a time to indulge in sweets like ice cream, and popsicles can be a fantastic and edible ice pack for the area, as long as your child avoids biting down!

Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry

Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!

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