Post-Op Care

Local Anesthetic

After receiving treatment, your child’s treatment site and surrounding areas can stay numb for up to 2-4 hours. Young children are at greater risk of irritation and abrasions, as they frequently suck on, pull on, scratch, or chew on the numb tissue. It is important to watch the child very closely to help prevent extensive damage to the treatment site. It is also important that your child maintains a soft diet until the numbing sensation has stopped. If they injure themselves, call our office for further instruction. Child’s doses of Tylenol or Motrin are usually good options for pain management until any pain/swelling has reduced to manageable levels.


“Occlusion” refers to your child’s bite. This bite may feel different temporarily after a restoration is placed. This sensation should pass in 1 to 3 days—if it doesn’t, please contact our office, as the restoration may need to be adjusted.

Laughing Gas (nitrous oxide)

Laughing gas is a mild, short-acting sedative that is used to calm your child during dental treatment. It takes about 2-5 minutes for laughing gas to take effect, and a similar amount of time for it to dissipate. After treatment with laughing gas, we will place you child on a 100% oxygen flush, eliminating any nitrous oxide from their system. Your child can resume normal activity immediately after the appointment, unless the dentist has prescribed necessary activity limits based on other procedures your child has had.

Pain Management

Sometimes your child may experience discomfort and sensitivity in the mouth after a filling or crown has been placed. Our office recommends the use of appropriate doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help manage pain and discomfort. The child’s soreness in the gums and tooth sensitivity can last up to 3 days; if it lasts longer, please contact our office.

Pit and Fissure Sealants

There is no need to wait to eat or drink after sealants are placed. However, while sealants are in place, your child should avoid sticky, gooey foods, as well as biting down on hard substances, such as hard candy or ice. These foods can damage or even remove the sealant from the teeth. It is important to have consistent appointments; during each exam we will check to ensure the sealants are still in place and undamaged.

Resin Restorations (white fillings)

After a restoration is placed, your child should be able to eat and drink immediately. However, there are some things your child should avoid: sticky, gooey foods, dark colored foods and drinks, and chewing on ice or hard candies. Sticky foods can pull off the filling, and chewing on ice or hard candy could damage it. Dark colored foods and drinks and stain the resin, which cannot be bleached or whitened. As for cleaning the area, your child can brush twice daily and floss once daily. However, expect a little bleeding for 1-2 weeks following any dental surgery.

Silver Diamine Fluoride treatment (SDF)

After SDF treatment, we apply a fluoride varnish to cover the metallic taste of the silver. This varnish may feel sticky. Your child must avoid eating and drinking for 1 hour after SDF treatment. Do not brush their teeth the night of placement.

Stainless Steel Crowns

The newly placed crown will likely be accompanied by tender or sore gums. Have your child brush and floss normally, but expect a little bleeding for the first 1-2 weeks after placement, as for any dental surgery. Have your child avoid sticky foods to avoid dislodging the crown. If the crown is removed, call our office immediately so that we can re-cement the crown as soon as possible.

Tooth Extraction

After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms over the socket to enable healing. Removal of this blood clot can cause problems. Therefore, have your child avoid rinsing, spitting, and using straws for the first 24 hours after extraction, as these can remove the clot.

Expect some oozing for the first 24 hours, however, if there is active bleeding, have your child bite down on a piece of damp gauze or a damp washcloth for 20 minutes.

Avoid activities that raise the heart rate, as these activities can cause the area to bleed. Also avoid spicy, acid, or crunchy foods, as they can irritate the extraction site.

Your child should avoid brushing over the area of the tooth socket for the first 2 days. Otherwise, brush normally.

Space Maintainers

Your child will probably have some general soreness from the pressure placed on the tooth ligaments, as well as tender or sore gums in the specific area of the spacer. We recommend an anti inflammatory such as Ibuprofen to alleviate the discomfort.

Have your child avoid sticky foods, and watch your child closely to ensure they are not picking at the spacer with their fingers or tongue. This can dislodge the spacer. If this happens, call our office immediately so we can re-cement the spacer as soon as possible.