After Treatment / Post-Op Care

After Treatment Instructions

After your child undergoes a dental procedure, there are things you can do at home to make sure he or she heals correctly. Home care is essential to maintain a healthy smile, and, as with any procedure, post-op care is vital for healthy healing and maintenance.

We’ll go over all of these tips when you come to see us, but if your child (or you) needs a little reminder, we’ve included them here for your convenience. If you have any questions about what to do, don’t hesitate to contact us.


  • The mouth will be numb approximately two to four hours. Watch to see that your child does not bite, scratch, or injure the cheek, lips, or tongue during this time. Avoid eating foods that require much chewing; a soft food diet is recommended.

Composite Fillings

  • Avoid sticky, hard candies, and chewing on ice to prevent breaking the filling.
  • Avoid using front teeth to bite directly into hard food such as apples, carrots, and corn on the cob.
  • Limit drinking or eating dark-colored beverages and foods, because that may cause staining and discoloration of the resin material.
  • It is important to note that resin fillings are prone to recurrent decay (new decay around the filling margin), so those teeth should be brushed and flossed like a natural tooth.
  • For any discomfort, use Children’s Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin as directed according to the age of the child.


  • By forming a thin covering over the pits and fissures, sealants keep out plaque and food, thus decreasing the risk of decay. Since the covering is only over the biting surface of the tooth, areas on the side and between teeth cannot be coated with the sealant. Good oral hygiene and nutrition are still very important to prevent decay next to these sealants or in areas unable to be covered.
  • Say no to sticky, chewy, and sugary foods like caramel, taffy, roll-ups, and tough fruit chews.
  • Your child should refrain from eating ice or hard candy, which tend to fracture the sealant.

Stainless Steel Crowns / Zirconia Crowns / Space Maintainers

  • To seat the crown or spacer correctly, work must be done just below the gumline; therefore, expect your child’s gums to be sore for 2 or 3 days. Your youngster’s gum tissue may bleed upon brushing for the next few days. To help with healing, keep the area clean by gently brushing two to three times a day and flossing.
  • It may take a few days for your son or daughter to adjust to the crown or spacer. Do not let your little one pick or pull at the crown or spacer, since continuous force and pressure could pull it off.
  • Your child should avoid sticky, hard candies (for example, taffy, suckers, caramels) for the life of the crown or spacer. Although it is cemented onto the tooth structure, sticky foods can cause the crown or spacer to become loose.
  • If your son or daughter’s spacer or crown comes loose or breaks, call our office so we can evaluate and decide whether it needs to be reinforced or replaced.
  • For any discomfort, use Children’s Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin as directed according to the age of the child.

Post-operative Instructions for Extractions

  • Numbness: The mouth will be numb approximately two to four hours. Watch to see that your child does not bite, scratch, or injure the cheek, lips, or tongue during this time.
  • Bleeding: Bleeding is controlled before we discharge your child, but some occasional oozing (pink or blood-tinged saliva) may occur. Hold gauze with firm pressure against the surgical site until oozing has stopped. You may need to change the gauze or repeat this step. If bleeding continues for more than two hours, contact us.
  • Surgical Site Care: Today, do not disturb the surgical site. Do not stretch the lips or cheeks to look at the area. Do not rinse vigorously, use mouthwash, or probe the area with fingers or other objects. Beginning tomorrow, you may rinse with warm salt water (½ teaspoon salt with one cup water) after meals.
  • Daily Activities: Today, avoid physical exercise and exertion. Return to normal activities as tolerated. Smoking is never good for one’s health and may delay healing following oral surgery.
  • Diet: After all bleeding has stopped, the patient may drink cool non-carbonated liquids but should NOT use a straw. Encourage fluids to help avoid dehydration. Cold soft foods (e.g., ice cream, gelatin, Instant Breakfast®, pudding, yogurt) are ideal the first day. By the second day, consistency of foods may progress as tolerated. Until healing is better established, avoid foods such as nuts, sunflower seeds, and popcorn that may get lodged in the surgical area.
  • Oral Hygiene: Keeping the mouth clean is essential. Today, teeth may be brushed and flossed gently, but avoid stimulating the surgical site. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing of all areas, but please make every effort to clean the teeth within the bounds of comfort.
  • Pain: Because some discomfort is expected, you may give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) before the numbness wears off. Do NOT give aspirin to your child. Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosing based upon your child’s age/weight.
  • Swelling: Slight swelling and inflammation may occur for the next two days. If swelling occurs, ice packs may be used for the first 24 hours (10 minutes on, then 10 minutes off) to decrease swelling and/or bruising. If swelling persists after 24 hours, warm/moist compresses (10 minutes on, then 10 minutes off) may help. If swelling occurs after 48 hours, call our office.
  • Fever: A slight fever (temperature to 100.5°F) is not uncommon the first 48 hours after surgery. If a higher fever develops or the fever persists, call our office.
maryland academy of pediatric dentistry american board of pediatric dentistry american academy of pediatric dentistry american dental association international association of pediatric dentistry

Office Hours:

Mon:8:00am to 5:00pm
Tues:8:00am to 5:00pm
Wed:10:00am to 7:00pm
Thur:8:00am to 5:00pm
Fri:8:00am to 1:00pm
6842A Race Track Rd
Bowie, MD 20715
(301) 262-9800