Before & After Appointments
Please do not feed your child immediately prior to dental appointments unless directed by Dr. Adams. Solids should not be eaten with 2 hours of dental visits. Please limit your child’s intake of liquids also.
Preparing for a Dental Visit
Children are curious and will want to know what will happen when they arrive at the dental clinic. Remember to be honest with your child. Stay relaxed and calm in discussing dental visits with your child. If you are not sure what will happen at your child’s next appointment, tell your child that you are not exactly sure what the dentist will do to fix his/her teeth, but the dentist will explain everything when you get to the clinic. Also tell them that the dentist likes children and does not wish to hurt anyone. The dentist wants to give you a bright healthy smile or keep you from having any toothaches.
Feel free to bring your child to our clinic for a tour; just ask when scheduling your appointment. One of our goals in the dental clinic is to help children cope with and understand how to be a good patient. Another goal is to make children happy and less fearful while receiving dental care. Kids are special to us, and we want them to know it.
Dental Checkups and Cleanings
Dental checkups and cleanings are an essential part of a complete oral health regimen and should be done every 6 months. This includes taking x-rays periodically for diagnostic purposes and a prophy (teeth cleaning) to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. During this appointment, you can expect Dr. Adams and staff to:
- Review your child’s history
- Respond to your questions and concerns
- Talk with you about your child’s overall oral health, including subjects such as:
- Bite (how your child’s teeth will come together)
- Soft tissues such as gums and cheeks
- Oral habits such as thumb sucking or teeth grinding
- Cavity risk factors such as diet, hygiene practices and fluoride use
- How to prevent trauma to your child’s mouth
Home Care Recommendations
During the dental cleaning and checkup, we will make specific recommendations about home care. This includes oral hygiene, diet and the use of fluoride toothpaste. Oral health education is also important so that we may discuss specific milestones to expect as your child grows and develops.
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:
- A warm salt water rinse 2-3 times per day. (1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water)
- For discomfort use Children’s Tylenol, Advil or Motrin as directed by the age of the child.
Please do not hesitate to contact the office if the discomfort persists for more than 7 days or if there are any questions.
After your child’s first visit, Dr. Adams will suggest a schedule of follow-up visits. In general, pediatric dentists typically recommended follow-up visits every six months. In our office, we recognize that each patient is different and will tailor your child’s recall and x-ray schedule according to his/her individual needs and risks. Depending on your child’s caries risk, he/she may not need x-rays every 6 months.
Preventing Dental Emergencies
It is difficult to prevent injuries with children, but there are a few things that you can do to help reduce the risks:
- Always put your child in a properly sized car seat.
- Move furniture around in your house to clear paths for your child, especially coffee tables
- Your child should always wear a mouth guard for contact sports i.e. rollerblading, skate boarding, football, soccer, surfing, basketball, baseball, etc.
- Your child should always wear a helmet when cycling, rollerblading and skate boarding.
Post-Operative Care Instructions
Care of the Mouth After Local Anesthetic (Sleepy juice)
- If the procedure was in the lower jaw the tongue, teeth, lip and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep.
- If the procedure was in the upper jaw the teeth, lip and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep.
- Often, children do not understand the effects of local anesthesia, and may chew, scratch, suck, or play with the numb lip, tongue, or cheek. These actions can cause minor irritations or they can be severe enough to cause swelling and abrasions to the tissue.
- Monitor your child closely for approximately two hours following the appointment. It is often wise to keep your child on a liquid diet until the anesthetic has worn off.
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 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 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.
Care of the Mouth After Extractions
- Do not scratch, chew, suck, or rub the lips, tongue, or cheek while they feel numb or asleep. The child should be watched closely so he/she does not injure his/her lip, tongue, or cheek before the anesthesia wears off.
- Do not rinse the mouth for several hours.
- Do not spit excessively.
- Do not drink a carbonated beverage (Coke, Sprite, etc.) for the remainder of the day.
- Do not drink through a straw.
- Keep fingers and tongue away from the extraction area.
– Some bleeding is to be expected. If unusual or sustained bleeding occurs, place cotton gauze firmly over the extraction area and bite down or hold in place for fifteen minutes. This can also be accomplished with a tea bag. Repeat if necessary.
- Maintain a soft diet for a day or two, or until the child feels comfortable eating normally again.
- Avoid strenuous exercise or physical activity for several hours after the extraction.
– For discomfort use Children’s Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin as directed for the age of the child. If a medication was prescribed, then follow the directions on the bottle.