Post-Op Questions

Post-Op Questions

After your child has had a dental procedure, you will be given a set of post-operative instructions. Following these instructions is essential to preventing infections in surgical sites, protecting restorations, and minimizing the possibility of experiencing complications. Post-operative instructions vary from procedure to procedure, and below you will find aftercare advice for the most common procedures. Should you still have some questions regarding care, we are available to answer those questions and respond to any concerns you may have.

Post-op instructions after extraction:

  • Bite on gauze for 30 minutes. Don’t chew on gauze.
  • Do not use a straw to drink for 24 hours.
  • Drink lots of fluid and eat only soft nutritious foods on the day of the extraction. Avoid very hot food/drinks.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise or activities for the rest of the day.
  • Brush teeth gently but don’t rinse or use a mouthwash on the day of the surgery.
  • Ice packs can be used immediately after surgery and for the next 24 hours to reduce swelling. Keep icepacks on for 10 minutes and off for 10 minutes.
  • Take prescribed medication as directed or over the counter pain medication such as Tylenol or Advil but not Aspirin.
  • If bleeding starts again, put a gauze pad, a clean cloth or a damp tea bag over the area and bite on it firmly for an hour.
  • If pain increases after 48 hours or if abnormal bleeding continues, call our office.

Post-op care after other procedures:

Fillings / crowns

When the numbness wears off, the area of the procedure may feel a bit sore and sensitive. Over the counter pain medication such as Tylenol and Advil may be taken, avoid Aspirin. Warm salt water mouthwashes can also help the area to heal. Make sure to keep area clean by gentle brushing and flossing.  Avoid very hard or sticky foods that may fracture or dislodge the restoration. If discomfort continues or gets worse after 48 hours, call us.


The grooves on the biting surfaces of the molars have been filled in with a clear or shaded plastic material to protect these areas from cavities. The bite may feel a bit different the first few days but should then feel normal. Avoid chewing on sticky foods or very hard objects, such as ice cubes, in order for the sealants to last as long as possible.

Local anesthesia

After dental treatment and local anesthesia, the area may feel numb for a couple of hours after the treatment has been completed. Your child should be supervised and reminded not to bite, chew or pull on the numb lip or tongue. Avoid giving your child very hot foods/drinks or chewy foods during this period. The feeling of numbness and the tingling feeling when the area “wakes up” may also be upsetting for a child. He/she should be reassured that the area will go back to normal and feel just like before. If your child does bite his/her lip or tongue, the area may look very sore, bleed and develop a crust that may look like an infection. The area will heal by itself and no antibiotics is needed. Petroleum jelly can be applied to the area which will heal in about a week.