AFTER DENTAL PROCEDURES

Jul 28 2015

AFTER DENTAL PROCEDURES

Ever wonder what to expect after your child has had a dental procedure?

We expect your provider will give you individualized instructions on what to expect after your visit, but here’s the most common pediatric procedures and some relevant post-visit considerations:

Sealant

Sealants are a white plastic coating that protects the pits and grooves on the chewing surface of your child’s teeth. Your child may notice that when he/she bites there is something on the teeth- this sensation is normal and will go away within a week. Sealants require regular maintenance to stay effective.

Composite (white) Amalgam (silver) filling

If your child’s teeth were restored with amalgam and/or composite, there might be some tenderness and discomfort in the gums around the area. Children’s Motrin/Tylenol at the recommended dose will help; the tenderness should go away in 2-3 days. If pain level cant be controlled with over-the-counter mild medication or lasts too long, you should contact your dentist. In cases of deeper cavities, it may be normal for the teeth to be sensitive to cold for a few days. If after several days your child has pain with cold drinks, hot foods, chewing, or spontaneous pain, contact your pediatric dentist. Its also important to note all fillings require maintenance as they may chip, crack or come out completely. If this happens, notify your doctor immediately.

Stainless Steel Crown (silver crown)

If a Stainless Steel Crown has been placed on your child’s teeth to protect them from further breakdown and decay, you should expect the tooth to fall out in due time  without any major issues. These crowns are cemented (glued) to your child’s teeth and will remain until the teeth are lost normally to as permanent teeth erupt. If crown is lost sooner, save it and call your pediatric dentist immediately. The gums around the tooth can be very sore for several days after the crown is placed. Use child’s Motrin/Tylenol at the recommended dose for discomfort. You may notice your child’s teeth come together differently after the procedure, especially if multiple crowns were placed. This can happen and your child should adjust to this in a few days. If not, you should contact your provider for help. This minor surgery should not keep your child from being back to normal activity/school the next day.

Composite Crown (white crown)

This type of crown is placed on a child’s front teeth to deal with the loss of healthy enamel with maximal esthetics. Composite crowns are not as strong as silver crowns, but can be more acceptable in appearance. These crowns can chip or come off completely. Limiting shearing forces and immaculate hygiene can improve their long term prognosis/esthetics. Call your provider if pain or swelling occurs in the area of crown placement, or if the crown falls off, fractures, or has severe discoloration.

Pulpotomy/Pulpectomy

If your child’s decay was very deep and touched the pulp (nerve) of the teeth, a pulpotomy or pulpectomy (baby root canal) may have been required. Your child will have some soreness for a few days that should easily be manged by Tylenol or Motrin. If not, you should contact your pediatric dentist. In a pulpotomy or baby root canal, the infected part on the inside of the tooth was removed, and the area was disinfected and filled. A filling or crown was then placed on top of the tooth. This procedure greatly reduces the chances of pain and infection. But its worth noting that because the decay was so deep, there is still a ~15% chance the tooth could become re-infected and need to be extracted. If symptoms or gum/facial swelling is noted call your dentist. This minor surgery should not keep your child from being back to normal activity/school the next day.

Extraction

After an extraction, make sure your child does not suck through a straw or vigorously rinse for 48 hours. This can disrupt the blood clot that forms inside the extraction socket, increase postoperative bleeding and slowing healing. The day after surgery, you MUST begin gently brushing your child’s teeth, but be very careful in the areas of the extractions. Gently rinse with water. It is normal to have oozing or minor bleeding for 24-48 hours after an extraction. Have your child bite hard on cotton gauze for 30 minutes if bleeding continues. A routine extraction of a baby tooth should not keep a child from being able to attend school the next day.

Space Maintainer

Space maintainers are designed to manage space left by existing or extracted baby teeth until the adult teeth can erupt to fill that space. The gums around these teeth can be very sore for several days after the space maintainers are placed. Give your child Tylenol/Motrin at the recommended dose for discomfort. Food builds up easily around space maintainers, therefore good brushing and flossing is especially important. Minimizing hard/sticky foods with improve durability of the appliance. Call your pediatric dentist if it becomes loose immediately. This minor surgery should not keep your child from being back to normal activity/school the next day.

Sutures/Stitches

In certain incidence, sutures are placed over an open wound to speed up healing time, reduce bleeding and/or help to heal an extraction site. Most likely resorbable sutures were placed, which will fall out on their own within 2-14 days. Children often have a hard time not playing with sutures placed in their mouth and may even open the suture with their tongue.

Gingivectomy

This procedure is a surgery to remove excess gum tissue. Most commonly, it is done in conjunction with orthodontics and or in response to over-growth of gums caused by certain medications. The area will be very sore for 2-3 days. Tylenol/Motrin will help reduce the pain. If we have prescribed antibiotics or other medications, follow the instructions on the labels closely.

Frenectomy

The procedure is the release of gum tissue attachment that was compromising your child’s oral health. The area will be very sore for 2-3 days. Tylenol/Motrin will help reduce the pain. If we have prescribed antibiotics or other medications, follow the instructions on the labels closely. This minor surgery should not keep your child from being back to normal activity/school the next day.

Fluoride Varnish

A varnish containing fluoride is one of the most common procedures during a well-child visit at the dentist. This is to reduce decay in the future. The teeth may appear to have a sticky yellow/creamy film. This is normal and will go away in 24 hours. Do not brush your child’s teeth tonight.

Fluoride Gel/Foam

Fluoride gel or foams are used as alternatives to fluoride varnish to strengthen a child’s enamel. This is to reduce decay in the future. Most fluoride gel or foam manufacturers request that the child avoid eating/drinking for 1hr.

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