Health Library
Dental Procedure Aftercare

How Do You Care for Your Child after Dental Procedures?

Your child had a dental procedure today. These instructions will help you care for them when you get home.

Care for Pain, Discomfort, or Fever

Your child may:

  • Run a low-grade fever (less than 102 degrees)
  • Have sore throat from the tube helping them breathe
  • Have discomfort from their dental work

Alternate Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin (ibuprofen) every three hours to help reduce pain and fever. (For example, give Tylenol, three hours later give Motrin, three hours later give Tylenol, and so on.)

  • If not alternating both, Tylenol or Motrin on their own should be given according to instructions on the package.
  • Before giving Tylenol and Motrin at home, look at your discharge paper for these medicines. Your child may have already started Tylenol or Motrin while at the hospital.
  • If you have questions about your child’s Tylenol or Motrin dose or your child requires pain control for longer than two or three days, contact your provider.

Your child’s bite may feel different after the procedure. Your child’s bite should feel normal again in one to two weeks.

Eating and Drinking

  • Drink plenty of clear fluids (apple juice, chicken soup, popsicles, Jell-O)
  • Vomiting (throwing up) can happen after a procedure with anesthesia. If your child is throwing up a lot or for a long time, contact your child’s provider.
  • Avoid hot and crunchy foods for two hours after the procedure to give fluoride full contact on teeth.

Brushing and Flossing

Begin normal brushing and flossing the morning after the procedure.

  • Brush twice a day, floss every day.
  • Be gentle when brushing around extraction (tooth removal) sites.
  • Brush white caps and silver caps just like normal teeth.

Fluoride placed on your child’s teeth after the procedure may make them look sticky, filmy, or dirty.

Stainless Steel Crowns (silver caps)

Silver caps are basically glued to teeth. Be sure to follow the eating and drinking section rules.

  • If a cap comes off, call your dentist right away. The dentist will need to see your child.
  • The cap and the tooth will all fall out as one piece, at the right age.
  • Avoid sticky food like fruit snacks and gum that can lift caps off teeth.

Strip or Zirconia Crowns (white caps)

White caps are very fragile. Be sure to follow the eating and drink section rules.

  • The cap and the tooth will all fall out as once piece, at the right age.
  • Cut hard foods like carrots and apples into small pieces. Chew the small pieces with back teeth.

Extractions (tooth removal)

If numbing medicine was used, it may last for two or more hours after the procedure.

  • Your child cannot feel their lips, cheeks, or tongue with numbing medicine.
  • Some children may bite, pinch, pull, suck, rub or scratch at their face with numbing medicine. This can cause serious damage.
  • Keep your child’s hands away from their face.
  • Remind your child not to chew or suck their cheeks or lips.

A packing material is sometimes placed in the tooth socket to stop bleeding. This packing will either fall out or dissolve (melt away) by itself in one to two weeks.

If stitches were placed, they will dissolve by themselves in one to two weeks. If your child has a different type of stitches, your provider will tell you.

Do not suck from a straw or spit forcefully for one week after extraction. This may cause the healing area to bleed.

Avoid spicy, salty, sour foods for several days. It can be uncomfortable to the healing gums.

Avoid crunchy foods that break into many pieces like chips, popcorn or peanuts for several days. Food can get stuck in tooth sockets which can cause problems.

What to do for Bleeding

Some bleeding or oozing is normal after tooth removal. Saliva may look pink or your child may complain of metallic taste.

Bleeding that doesn't stop or is dark red should be reduced.

To reduce bleeding, help your child.

  • bite down firmly on a wet gauze or wet washcloth for 20 minutes.
  • If this doesn't help, bite down on a moist tea bag.
  • If bleeding does not stop after about 20 minutes, contact your dentist.

Follow-Up Care

Your child’s dentist will tell you if and when follow-up care is needed.

Plan to continue with routine visits every six months to your dentist.

If you plan to continue routine dental care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Pediatric Dental Clinic, please call the scheduling center at 513-636-4641.

Last Updated 05/2023

Reviewed By Scott Schwartz, DDS, MPH