At Kid Focus Dentistry we always strive to give you and your child a positive dental experience, even when treatment is needed. Our post-operative instructions are tailored according to the treatments performed and your child’s needs and comfort.
We highly request that you:
- Give your child lots of positive acknowledgment on how well they are doing before, during, and after treatment.
- Please refrain from graphic descriptions to avoid traumatizing your child.
- We also highly encourage that you help us prevent further cavities by helping your child follow the oral hygiene instructions as directed. Remember that it does not take long for a cavity to start; as little as three months on a baby tooth and six months on an adult tooth.
- It is critical to have your child’s regular checkup with us every six months, to prevent cavities in the future.
Anytime that you are unsure about your child’s conditions or have questions, please feel free to give us a call at 303-543-8338. If it is after business hours, please leave a message, and we will give you a call back as soon as possible.
Managing numbness in kids following dental treatment
The number one complication that we have with young children, during and after getting work done, is when your child has to be numb for certain procedures. Most of these complications can be prevented with the help of parents:
Is your child biting his/her lips or cheeks?
When your child is numb, they cannot feel the pain of bites on their lips and cheek. This can happen very quickly, so we ask all guardians who take care of the child post the numbing treatment, to be vigilant in watching for signs of chewing or biting. Do not let your child eat anything that requires chewing until the area has woken up.
- Cheek stickers prevent the child from biting their cheek (see below).
- Remind the child to stop, or do the “Blowfish.”
- Numbness usually lasts about 1-2 hours, all depending on your child. The best indication of the numbness going away is when the area becomes itchy!
If your child did bite their lips/cheek, it will become swollen very quickly. Later, the area may also become a whitish color. Many times, parents have mistaken this for infections or an allergic reaction. Due to a large amount of fluid in the oral cavities, swelling is a normal reaction. Once trauma occurs to the soft tissues, the only true treatment is to allow the mouth to heal naturally.
- You can help with the pain by giving your child Motrin/Tylenol throughout the day.
- I find that Canker-Rid (Amazon) can help shorten the time of healing.
Does your child hate the feeling of being numb?
Sometimes they mistake numbness for pain. It is a difficult sensation to comprehend for most people, especially for children. The best way to curb this is to explain to your child that: “It feels weird because the tooth is asleep, but that will go away when it wakes up!”
Other tricks are:
- Drinking or sucking on cold things (i.e. ice-cream/smoothie/popsicle). Avoid hot things because this can burn the child since they cannot sense heat when being numb.
- Giving your child Motrin/Tylenol to curb some sensations.
- Encourage your child to go down for a nap.
Cheek stickers help prevent biting
Patients whose mouths are numbed during treatment tend to play with the numb area by chewing or biting on it. This can produce soreness and swelling on the child’s cheeks. To prevent injury to the tissue, we encourage the use of a “cheek sticker,” which we provide after treatment as an additional method to prevent biting on the cheek.
How to use a cheek sticker
- Has silver foil on one side and white on the other.
- The parent should place the white side on the numbed cheek.
- Once placed, due to its absorbency, the sticker will adhere to the cheek.
- Since the cheek sticker may be a little uncomfortable, we suggest parents only use it if they see their child playing with the numb area.
- To remove the cheek sticker, have the child swish their mouth with water until the cheek sticker softens and slides off the cheek. Then spit it out.
Post-operation instructions for pediatric laser surgery
The use of laser for soft tissue surgery is a very safe and predictable form of treatment. It allows us to do surgery with the result of minimal bleeding and swelling; thus post-operative pain is significantly reduced. However, we want to give you some tips to help the healing process to be as comfortable as possible:
- Please give your child a dose of Motrin or Tylenol following the procedure. This will help with any discomfort and minimize any swelling.
- Your child can eat and drink, but avoid spicy, sour, or hot food for 10 days.
- Rinse well with water after eating and drinking to keep the area clean.
- To help facilitate healing; we give patients a small container of coconut oil to take home. Please apply the oil on the area of surgery before meals 3x a day for 10 days. Rub the oil onto the area, and the lip or tongue will melt it.
- Please be aware that we did numb the tongue or lip area, although in very small dose, please monitor that your child does not chew on his/her tongue or lip.
Tongue-tie release exercises
Please watch the video below and practice the exercises that we have instructed for you and your child. In order to avoid a re-release, these exercises are mandatory.
- Help your kiddo lift the tongue up to the roof of the mouth. Use the stick we gave you and maybe something sweet to help them get into the habit of putting the tongue up there. Do this for at least the first two days.
- Tongue stretch ( 10 times for 3 sets (30 pushes total ) or before eating5 times a day for 10 days.
- Have the guardian do two manual stretches after brushing every morning and night for 10 days.
After the Doctor’s approval, please have your child start the tongue exercise (Myobrace group 1) to help your child re-learn correct tongue placement. It is best that your child does the exercise with a mirror and help of a parent. Keep in mind, due to the previous tongue tie, your child’s tongue has never done these movements before! So be patient and consistent with these exercises.
***If you have a hard time with the exercises; we do offer myofunctional therapy at our office. Give us a call if you want to schedule an appointment at 303-543-8338.
Post-treatment following pediatric fillings
- If your child just had primary (baby) teeth fillings; they would not have the feeling of numbness and could proceed to eat and drink normally.
- If your child had an adult tooth filling (unless otherwise noted), they are experiencing numbness. Please proceed to the numbness page for additional information.
What to expect post fillings:
- Sensitivity to hot/cold up to 3 months, but this should gradually get better.
- Although the decay did not reach the nerve, it has weakened the nerve over time. We cannot fully predict how it will react other than to give it time to calm down. Most nerves will make a full recovery; however, some will die on their own due to stress over time.
Pediatric deep fillings
A deep filling occurs when the decay on the tooth is large and close to the nerve of the tooth.
What do I do if my child received a deep filling?
- First of all, you can expect your child to experience some sensitivity to hot or cold up to 3 months. The sensitivity should decrease over the 3 months.
- Anytime your child has pain that keeps them up at night at night or if discomfort increases over time, please give us a call so we can examine the tooth.
- We will continue to monitor the tooth; since the nerve has been weakened by the deep decay, and can slowly die on its own. This usually does not happen, but when it does, we can treat the tooth with an additional root canal procedure.
Does your child show these symptoms?
- Pain that keeps your child up overnight
- Gum boil/pimple on top of the tooth
- Increasing discomfort to hot/cold 3 months post-treatment.
If so, give us a call so we can see your child.
Post-treatment following space maintainers
What is the purpose of a space maintainer?
It is placed to keep an open space for a permanent tooth that has yet to erupt. We leave the maintainer there until a new permanent tooth could be seen.
What should you avoid?
Chewy, sticky snacks can get wrapped around the wire or bend the wire, causing the appliance to break or become loose. In addition to being difficult to clean, residue from certain foods sometimes encourages children to pry and poke around the wire with his/her fingers.
Examples of foods to avoid include:
- Chewing gum
- Taffy and gummy bears
- Hard items like corn nuts and ice
Checking the space maintainer periodically will ensure that it is still properly placed. If it happens to break or becomes loose, please be sure to call our office immediately so that we can decide if the appliance needs to be re-cemented or re-made.
Post-treatment instructions for pediatric stainless steel crowns
- Mild numbness and a weird feeling upon biting are the most frequent complaints a child has with SSC placements. This is normal.
- These crowns are pre-formed and we find the closest match to your child’s tooth. Because it is stainless steel, it will mold to the way your child bites over the next week.
- When we place the SSC, its margin does go underneath your child’s gum line, thus we ask you to help them maintain the area clean and healthy so it can heal.
- You should notice a number toward the cheek side by the gum line. With healthy brushing, this number should gradually disappear within 2-3 days. This is a great way to help gauge your brushing in the area.
Post-treatment instructions for pediatric root canals
A root canal is considered to be a major dental treatment, so some discomfort is to be expected following the patient’s visit. Since root canal treatment involves the root of the tooth, the most discomfort will come from the gums swelling up as the tissue heals. In special circumstances, a root canal treatment may require multiple appointments. It is very important for the patient to come back and complete the treatment as recommended by the doctor.
Medication post pediatric root canal
- To manage the swelling and soreness, we strongly recommend Motrin (or Tylenol, if the patient is allergic to Motrin) for three days following treatment.
- For more moderate pain, the dentist will prescribe additional medication.
- Once in a while, if a tooth has a severe infection, we will also prescribe antibiotics.
For the first 24 hours following a pediatric root canal
- Avoid putting pressure on the tooth by eating on the other side of the mouth.
- Brush and floss normally.
Post-treatment instructions for pediatric tooth extractions
Extractions of permanent (adult) teeth in kids
- Other than numbness, your child might complain of some dull discomfort.
- We recommend Motrin to help with the pain. We like Motrin because it has longer pain mitigation properties and less chance for liver/drug interactions in larger doses.
- Bleeding is normal for extractions, with bigger extraction sites oozing can happen up to 12 hours.
- Try not to change gauzes too often. We like to preserve the blood clot and if it changes too often this can cause unintentional dislodge of the clot.
- The same goes for the use of straws and suction motions. Try to abstain from these for 2-3 days unless otherwise advised.
Extractions of loose baby teeth
- If a tooth is loose, we often just use oral-gel to numb up the gum area so there should be little to no sensation of numbness.
- Bleeding should be minimal and will clot very easily.
- Have your child bite on gauze for 10-15 minutes post-treatment.
- Minimal pain is expected, but you are welcome to give your child Motrin/Tylenol if they complain of discomfort.
Pain management for kids
For routine dental care, such as sealants and fillings, we do not anticipate much patient discomfort following the procedure. However, it’s common for children to experience mild postoperative discomfort following crowns, tooth extractions, and root canals.
In these cases, we may recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Motrin and Tylenol. In the event that we anticipate more obvious discomfort after a procedure, the dentist will proactively prescribe pain medication for the patient.
Antibiotics following pediatric dental treatments
We only prescribe antibiotics to a patient if they have a severe infection or if we cannot treat the infection site right away. The type of antibiotics that we prescribe depends on the patient’s needs, especially the site of the infection.
When the doctor prescribes an antibiotic:
- It is very important to follow the exact instructions.
- Antibiotics only work if the patient takes the medication on time, and finishes the entire amount.
- It is dangerous if a patient is lax about taking the medication, or stops taking it once they feel better.
- Doing this enables the bacteria to become more resistant to the drugs. Thus, making the patient’s condition—and future infections—more difficult to treat.