If you are having a medical emergency, please dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency room

If you have any questions, please call our office. If it is after-hours and you are a patient of record, you can call our emergency phone number, which is located on our answering machine.

General Post-Operative Instructions After Local Anesthesia

Many of the pediatric dental procedures we perform, such as fillings and stainless-steel crowns (silver caps), require that your child receive a local anesthetic to ensure they are comfortable during the procedure. While we are extremely cautious about the amount of local anesthesia we provide to your child, many children have some level of numbness “left over” from the procedure.

While this situation is very normal, there are some things that you as a parent should be aware of to ensure that you and your child are comfortable after dental treatment has been completed:

  • Your child may complain of an itch or “itchiness” of the lip, tongue, or other areas where they received local anesthetic. The tingling is a normal feeling that occurs in many children as the local anesthetic wears off.
  • Watch out for cheek and lip biting in your child while the anesthetic is wearing off. The sensation of being numb causes many children to “explore,” and they will often bite their tongues, lips, and cheeks. Because their tongues, lips, and cheeks are still numb, children can leave significant irritation or even bruising as they chew on a numb area of their mouth. If you see your child biting their lips, tongue, or cheeks after a dental appointment, gently remind your child that they are numb, and their biting can still cause irritation.

General Discomfort After Pediatric Dental Treatment

While most sensitivity will subside, if your child is uncomfortable, you can give your child the medicine you normally give them for aches or a fever (children’s ibuprofen/Advil or children’s acetaminophen/Tylenol). If you are unsure of the dosing for your child, or you are unsure which medicine to give your child, please call the office or call your child’s pediatrician. Do not give aspirin.


In addition to the concerns about local anesthesia noted above, there are normally no special instructions after your child has had a routine filling. Make sure your child waits for the numbness to wear off entirely before eating foods that involve chewing. Parents should expect the child to have some level of sensitivity or discomfort on or around the tooth for a day or two following the filling.

The most frequent situations where children will report this sensitivity are usually with cold drinks or cold foods such as ice cream.

Stainless Steel Crowns (SSC) / Baby Root Canal

Because teeth that receive stainless steel crowns are often broken down and require “baby root canals,” there is a possibility of more discomfort after this procedure compared to what we would expect with a traditional filling. Please call the office if your child seems to have extensive discomfort after a completed procedure.

Space Maintainers

Many children will report a feeling of “having something in their mouth” after they have a space maintainer placed, and this sensation is normal. They may also tell you that they are having difficulty eating. This complaint is also normal, and as with most dental appliances, your child will get used to the space maintainer over time.

Your child may also report soreness or pressure with the space maintainer, and you can give them children’s Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen) as mentioned above under “General Discomfort.” Children with space maintainers need to stay away from sticky and chewy foods, such as gum, caramels, and gummy bears. A space maintainer is just a smaller version of braces, and it needs to be treated with care.

Occasionally, a space maintainer becomes loose. If your child tells you that their space maintainer is loose, please call the office for an appointment so we can evaluate the device.


Other than the post-op information about local anesthesia mentioned above, children do very well after extractions. One of the more common things a parent may see is bleeding from the extraction socket after the procedure.

After your child has had an extraction, they should:

  • Bite down on gauze (we will give you gauze) for 15 minutes to help with initial healing. Note that you may see red on the gauze when you remove it – this is normal.
  • If your child’s extraction socket is bleeding, have the child bite down on gauze for 20 minutes and then check the area. If there is still slight bleeding, have the child bite down on a tea bag, which almost always stops the bleeding. Please contact the office if it would make you comfortable. It is extremely unusual to have prolonged bleeding following a baby tooth extraction. Please call the office if your child is having prolonged bleeding.
  • Maintain a soft-food diet for the first 24 hours, with no chips, hard foods, or foods with rough edges. Soup (not too hot), yogurt (not too cold) are good food choices for after an extraction.
  • Have your child avoid heavy rinsing and spitting, as these actions can lead to bleeding. Please see item #2 in this list if bleeding does occur.


Sometimes when your child has had sealants placed, they may report sensitivity in the areas where the sealants were placed, or they may tell you that their bite feels “a little high.” Both these situations are normal.