How to Make Recovery Easier for Your Kids After a Tooth Extraction

Sometimes a trip to the dentist can be traumatic for even the sweetest, most laid-back child. When that trip ends with getting a tooth pulled, your kid is going to feel not just physically pained but likely emotionally disturbed as well. No one likes seeing their child upset. Caring parents will feel the need to comfort their kid and ensure their physical and emotional recovery from a tooth extraction is as quick and complete as possible, so here’s what you need to know in order to make that happen.

Physical Recovery Needs

There are some very specific steps you’ll need to take to safeguard your child’s oral health following a tooth extraction. It’s likely you won’t leave the dentist’s office until any bleeding from the extraction stops, but that extraction site needs special care to ensure it doesn’t start bleeding again. Extra-gentle brushing and flossing are going to be required until your child is fully healed.

You’ll also have to manage your child’s physical pain and discomfort as well. An over-the-counter analgesic will help with sore, aching jaws, and a cold compress or ice pack, applied for no more than 20 minutes at a time, will help reduce swelling and inflammation. Soft foods for at least a day are ideal — time for that soft-serve ice cream — and don’t serve your child any drinks with a straw to prevent opening that wound up again.

Emotional Recovery Needs

Dental health is an important part of every child’s life, so it’s important that the relatively negative experience of a tooth extraction doesn’t turn into a lifelong fear of dentists. Acknowledging that your child was brave in the face of their fear will show them just how proud you are of them. Celebrate the extraction by taking the tooth home if possible and putting it under your kid’s pillow for the Tooth Fairy to collect overnight to provide some more positive reinforcement.

Most importantly, though, take additional steps to ensure your child doesn’t end up fearing or resenting your dentist. Don’t assign blame for your child requiring an extraction. Develop a positive relationship with your dental office in the future by stopping by with your kid just to say hello, as this reinforces the idea that the dental office is a no-pressure environment. Finally, have as much patience with your child as possible as he or she heals from the emotional trauma of an extraction.

Need More Help? Call Your Local Dentist

If it seems as if your child’s extraction leads to lingering physical effects, don’t be afraid to call your local dentist and ask for advice. Complications from tooth extractions are rare but not unheard of, and your dental health provider will be able to offer help.

If the physical wounds heal but the emotional ones remain, your dentist office can also help with that as well. In addition to dropping by to say hello, think about scheduling an office visit with your dentist and your child to show him or her that dentists are people too — and that they care about their patients very much.

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