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How to Care for Your Child After a Tooth Extraction

Aug 9, 2016 - 10:08 AM EST |  Posted under: Pediatric Dentistry

Tooth extractions have become routine procedures for adults and kids, but you must know how to take care of your child after the procedure to ensure their comfort and proper healing. Use this helpful guide to simple home care for your child after a tooth extraction. 

What to Know About Numbness

The duration of time that your child experiences numbness depends on the amount and kind of anesthesia they were given. While your child’s mouth remains numb, you’ll need to prevent them from biting their tongue or cheek. That’s why they should only be given drinks and liquid foods until the numbness from their tooth extraction subsides. Also, do not let the child consume these with a straw because it could dislodge the blood clot and prevent proper healing. The numbness should wear off within a few hours, but in case it doesn’t, contact the pediatric dental care office.

Make Bleeding Better

Before the child leaves the pediatric dental care practice, a gauze pack will be placed on the tooth extraction site to control and blot any bleeding while the blood clot forms. This gauze should be left in place for about 45 minutes after leaving the office to help stop any bleeding. If some bleeding occurs after the gauze is removed, follow these steps:

  • Fold a piece of clean gauze into a thick pad, dampen it with warm water, and place it on the tooth extraction site.
  • Have the child close their teeth over the pad and bite down with gentle pressure for around 30 minutes. Replace the pad with a clean one as needed.
  • If bleeding continues after 30 minutes, call the pediatric dental care office.

All About the Blood Clot

After a tooth extraction, a protective blood clot forms over the tooth socket to promote healing. For at least 24 hours after the tooth extraction, have the child avoid any activities that could dislodge the clot—or keep it from forming—such as drinking through a straw, rinsing their mouth vigorously, or engaging in strenuous physical activity.

Soothe Any Swelling and Pain

Your child may experience some mild discomfort and swelling for a few days after the tooth extraction. This can be reduced by applying cold compresses to their face for about 20 minutes at a time. If these symptoms are severe or continue, contact the pediatric dental care office immediately.

The Diet Demand

Following a tooth extraction, make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids and only eats very soft, healthy foods for the first 24 hours. Do not let them have hot drinks or sip through a straw. The next day, they can start eating solid foods if they can comfortably chew. Over the next few days, have the child avoid chewing food on the side of the tooth extraction site. But once the child feels comfortable, they can resume chewing on both sides of their mouth.

Careful Cleaning Required

Make sure that your child doesn’t clean the teeth near the tooth extraction for 24 hours after the procedure. But have the child brush and floss their other teeth as usual. The next day, the child can start normally cleaning the teeth near the extraction site and should gently rinse their mouth daily with warm, salted water to prevent infection and promote healing.

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