When your child leaves our office after an operatory appointment—fillings, extractions, crowns—we send home a sheet with care instructions. It is very important that these instructions are followed.

When fillings, extractions, and crowns are performed, anesthetic is necessary. First, we will use “jelly”, a topical anesthetic to numb the area. This is followed by the anesthetic injection. After the treatment is finished, the child is asked to bite on a cotton roll to avoid biting their cheek while they are numb.

It is important to watch your child carefully at this time so that they don’t bite their cheek while their mouth is numb. Since the cheek feels weird and tingly to them, kids often try to nimble or suck on their cheek and lip.

Typically, it takes 1 hour for the anesthetic to wear off. During this hour following the appointment, it is important to limit talking and do not allow your child to eat. Each child reacts differently to anesthetic so it may take longer for the anesthetic to wear off.

If your child has had an extraction it is important that you follow these additional instructions:

  • An extraction site will bleed, so it is important that your child continue biting on the cotton roll or gauze that is placed in their mouth. The harder they bite, the faster the bleeding will stop. We will send home extra gauze in the event you need more. The bleeding will usually subside in 20-30 minutes.
  • Do not allow your child to drink with a stray for 48 hours following the extraction. The sucking disrupts the clot that will form, causing more bleeding and slower healing process.
  • Keep your child on a soft diet for 48 hours—no hard or crunchy foods such as apples or chips. Stick with pudding, soups, ice cream, Jello, and other soft foods. This helps to prevent food getting stuck or disrupting the extraction site.
  • For pain or discomfort, you may give your child children’s Tylenol or ibuprofen.
  • Continue with normal brushing, avoiding the extraction area. This will help prevent infection during the healing process.

A cheek bite after a procedure with anesthetic is very common. A cheek bite usually presents as a yellowish or white soft sore on the cheek or lip. It is often swollen, and may resemble a canker sore. It will be painful for the first few days, and often heals after 5-7 days. There is no treatment to quicken the healing process—ice, or a popsicle, often relieves the pain and soreness from a cheek bite.

This information is to help you be more prepared when your child has a procedure completed. As always, we advise parents to call our office with any questions or concerns.

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