After Dental Treatment Care

Care of Mouth After Local Anesthetic

When your child has received local anesthetic for dental procedure:

  • If the procedure was in the lower jaw: tongue, teeth, lip, and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep.
  •  If the procedure was in the upper jaw: teeth, lip, and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep.

A self-inflicted bite injury is the most common after-treatment complication. Children do not always understand the effect of local anesthesia, and they may chew, scratch, suck, or play with the numb area. These action can cause minor irritation or they can be severe enough to cause swelling and abrasions to the tissue. The injured area may appear swollen, white/yellow and “infected.” However, this is not  RESULT OF INFECTION AND DOES NOT REQUIRE antibiotic. You may apply Vaseline/petroleum jelly and the area will heal in 7-10 days without any scar of the incident.


When your child has had one or more teeth extracted:

  • Gauze should stay in place with biting pressure for approximately 30 minutes. This will reduce the amount of bleeding.
  • Give your child Children’s Motrin, Advil, or Tylenol when you take the gauze out. Do not give aspirin. Your child should need the medicine for 24-48 hours. If pain persist beyond 48 hours, please call our office.
  • Your child should eat only soft, bland food for the first two to three days (nothing crunchy, sharp, too hot or too cold) because the area may be sensitive. Encourage your child to drink plenty of liquids (water, soup, juices, etc.).
  • NO spitting or drinking through a straw or “sippy “cup. This action can start the bleeding again.
  • A clean mouth heals faster. Gentle brushing around the extraction site can be started a few hours after extraction, along with warm salt water rinses (1/4 teaspoon salt to a cup of warm water) to help with discomfort.

Activity may need to be limited. Sometimes a nap may help relieve discomfort. Swelling of tissue in the area of extraction is common and should not cause alarm. If this occurs, apply an ice pack to the face 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off, as needed in the first  24 hours following tooth removal.

Your child’s cheek, lip, and tongue will be numb for approximately 2 to 3 hours. Please be very careful that your child does not bite or pick at this area. A self inflicted bite injury is the most common after-treatment complication. The uncomfortable feeling of the numb area “waking up” can be relieved by giving an over the counter children’s pain medication.