Post-Op Dental Care {Mt. Airy, MD}

Post Op Care

When you bring your child to Mt. Airy Children’s Dental Associates for a pediatric dentistry treatment or procedure, we will provide you with a strong post-op care plan to follow. We have different options for your child based on the treatment or procedure they receive.

Patients with Local Anesthesia for Fillings:


  • After the appointment, give age-weight-appropriate Acetaminophen (TYLENOL) and Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) to help the anesthesia “wear off” easier. You may give it every 4-6 hours as needed. Take prescription medications as directed.
  • Your child may eat and drink immediately after the appointment, but give your child liquids or soft food. Make good choices: give them nothing they have to chew excessively while they are numb.
  • Do not allow your child to chew, bite, suck, pick, or scratch the numb area. This can cause a very SORE AND SWOLLEN area that will get better in 5 to 10 days. Call our office if this happens. Over-the-counter liquid Benadryl-Maalox 50-50 mix (swish and spit) works as a magic mouth rinse to help the pain after a lip or cheek bite injury.
  • Your child may brush as normal if they have had a dental filling or crown.

Please do not hesitate to call the office if there are any questions.

Care of the Mouth After Trauma

  • Please keep the traumatized area as clean as possible. A soft wash cloth often works well during healing to aid the process.
  • Watch for the darkening of traumatized teeth. This could be an indication of a dying nerve (pulp).
  • If the swelling should re-occur, our office needs to see the patient as soon as possible. Ice should be administered during the first 24 hours to keep the swelling to a minimum.
  • Watch for infection (gum boils) in the area of trauma. If an infection is noticed – call the office so the patient can be seen as soon as possible.
  • Maintain a soft diet for two to three days or until the child feels comfortable eating normally again.
  • Avoid sweets or foods that are extremely hot or cold.
  • If antibiotics or pain medicines are prescribed, be sure to follow the prescription as directed.

Please do not hesitate to call the office if there are any questions.

Care of the Mouth After Extractions

  • Bite on the gauze for 15-30 minutes to help control bleeding. We tell the kids that “it looks a little red” where the tooth used to be, and the gauze soaks it right up.
  • Soft/liquid diet for the first 1-2 days and nothing hard or crunchy like Doritos, Pretzels, or Pizza Crust. Cool or cold foods: shakes and crushed ice may feel best for the first 6-12 hrs.
  • Don’t use straws, rinse forcefully, or blow the nose for about 24 hours.
  • A towel on your child’s pillow will help because saliva may be “pink” for 24-48 hrs.
  • Don’t brush your teeth in an extraction area for 24 hours after surgery.
  • Keep fingers and tongue away from the extraction area.

Please do not hesitate to call the office if there are any questions.

Care of Sealants

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 in preventing decay next to these sealants or in areas unable to be covered.

Your child should refrain from eating ice or hard candy, which tends to fracture the sealant. Regular dental appointments are recommended in order for your child’s dentist to be certain the sealants remain in place.

The American Dental Association recognizes that sealants can play an important role in the prevention of tooth decay. When properly applied and maintained, they can successfully protect the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth.

A total prevention program includes regular visits to the dentist, the use of fluoride, daily brushing and flossing, and limiting the number of times sugar-rich foods are eaten. If these measures are followed, and sealants are used on the child’s teeth, the risk of decay can be reduced or may even be eliminated!

Oral Discomfort After a Cleaning

A thorough cleaning unavoidably produces some bleeding and swelling and may cause some tenderness or discomfort. This is not due to a “rough cleaning” but to tender and inflamed gums from insufficient oral hygiene. We recommend the following for 2-3 days after cleaning was performed:

  1. Warm salt water rinses 2-3 times per day. (1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water)
  2. For discomfort, use Children’s Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin as directed by the age of the child.

Post Op FAQs

Learn more about dental post-op care with answers to these common questions: 

How can I promote healing after dental surgery?

After dental surgery, there are steps you can take to promote healing. First, hydrate and avoid strenuous activity. Second, stick to a soft food diet to avoid irritating the surgical site. Foods like yogurt and mashed potatoes are good choices. Third, keep your mouth clean. Avoid brushing the surgical area for a day or two. You can gently rinse it with warm salt water to keep it clean. Lastly, follow your dentist’s instructions and take any prescribed medications.

What should I not do after dental anesthesia?

After dental anesthesia, there are a few key things to avoid. Don’t eat or drink until the numbness wears off to prevent accidentally biting your tongue or cheek. Stay clear of hot beverages for the same reason. You should avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours. It can lead to bleeding or slow healing. Also, avoid smoking or drinking alcohol in the 24 hours following the procedure. Lastly, don’t operate heavy machinery or drive until the effects fully wear off.

How long should I take off work after oral surgery?

The amount of time you should take off work after oral surgery will depend on the complexity of the procedure. You might need a day or two for simple extractions or minor oral surgery. More complex procedures, like wisdom teeth removal or tooth implants, could require three to four days of rest. Every patient is different, so it’s important to consult with your oral surgeon for advice.

How long does it take for a mouth to heal after tooth extraction?

The healing process after a tooth extraction typically takes about two weeks. In the first few days after the procedure, a blood clot forms in the socket where the tooth was. The healing process is mostly complete after two weeks. However, every patient’s healing process differs, so that this timeline can vary. Following your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions is always a good idea to promote healing.

How often should a dentist check sealants?

A dentist will check your sealants at regular dental visits, typically every six months. This allows the dentist to ensure the sealants are still in good condition and are working for you. If there is damage or excessive wear to the sealant, it could trap decay-causing bacteria. As a result, regular check-ups are important for maintaining oral health.

What should I not do after receiving dental sealants?

After getting dental sealants, avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods. These can damage or dislodge the sealants. You should also avoid ice, jawbreakers, hard candies, or gummy candies. Remember to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily. Sealants are not a substitute for good oral hygiene.


Please do not hesitate to contact the office if the discomfort persists for more than 7 days or if there are any questions.