Ask Your Dentist What to Expect
Your child may need to have a tooth extracted due to decay, crowding, or impaction. If this happens, here are some guidelines to help you care for your child at home after the procedure.
If your child is going to be sedated for the extraction, ask your dentist about how to care for him or her both before and after the procedure. Sedation can cause drowsiness and nausea. Ask your dentist what to expect and how to care for your child at home.
After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot will begin to form in the empty space where the tooth was. This is the body’s way of preventing excessive bleeding and beginning the healing process. You can aid the process by having your child bite down on a gauze pad for 20 to 30 minutes after the tooth is extracted. Bleeding should subside. If it doesn’t, have your child bite down on another gauze pad for 30 minutes. You may have to repeat this several times until the bleeding stops.
It is important to protect the blood clot, especially for the next 24 hours. Your child should not suck through a straw, rinse vigorously, spit forcefully, brush the teeth next to the area where the tooth was extracted, or smoke. Any of these activities can dislodge the blood clot, slow the healing process, and cause a painful condition called dry socket. Your child should only participate in calm activities for 24 hours to keep blood pressure lower, reduce bleeding, and help with healing.
Your child may experience some pain and swelling after having a tooth extracted. Ice can help with swelling. Wrap the ice in a towel before putting it on your child’s face. Leave it on for 20 minutes and then take it off for 20 minutes. Swelling should go down within 48 hours. If your child is in pain, you can give him or her pain medication as directed. If your dentist prescribes antibiotics, give them to your child as directed until all of the medicine is gone.
Your child should drink a lot of fluids and eat only soft, nutritious foods on the day of the extraction. He or she can resume normal eating habits on the next day or whenever it is comfortable.
Have your child rinse with warm salt water three times a day starting the day after the tooth is extracted. He or she should rinse gently after meals and resume a normal dental routine after 24 hours.
If your child experiences heavy bleeding, severe pain, fever, chills, or swelling that continues after two or three days, contact your dentist for advice.
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