Advice following dental surgery

Advice following dental surgery

For the first 24 hours your child should avoid:

  • Any food or drinks that are very hot, cold, hard or sharp
  • Mouthwashes or spitting forcefully
  • Exercise, playing sport or rushing around
  • Touching or sucking the wound.

These can all cause further bleeding.

We advise a soft diet for the first 28 hours following your child’s dental surgery.


When your child has a tooth removed, he or she is left with a hole (tooth socket) in the jawbone. At first a blood clot forms, before healing over completely. 

It is normal to have blood stained saliva for about 24 hours after the tooth (teeth) have been removed.

Encourage your child to rest. They should not rush around, play sports or exercise as this will cause further bleeding.

Do not let your child rinse their mouth, forcefully spit, drink through a straw or consume fizzy and sugary drinks.

Do not let your child press his or her fingers (and tongue where possible) into the tooth socket at any time.

If the tooth socket starts to bleed again, take a piece of gauze, place it over the tooth socket and have your child bite down for at least five minutes.  Rest for 10-20 minutes – this should stop the bleeding.

Local anaesthesia

During the dental procedure today your child may have been given an injection of local anaesthetic into the gum, near where the tooth has been removed. This helps to minimise the pain during and after the procedure. The local anaesthetic used causes temporary numbness to the areas inside the mouth.

Take care your child does not bite or chew the cheek, lip or tongue. If a local anaesthetic has been used the numbness should slowly wear off within 2-3 hours.

We advise that your child does not eat and only drinks water during this time.

Pain relief

During the week after dental surgery your child may experience some discomfort, swelling and bruising around the cheeks, jaw and neck.

You may need to give your child pain relief, this can be their usual pain killer. You can buy this at your local pharmacy and follow the instructions on the side of the bottle.


Your child may have had stitches (sutures) to close the tooth sockets. These stitches will be dissolvable, (not require removal) unless you are told by the dentist. It takes about two weeks for the stitches to dissolve.

Do not let your child fiddle with the stitches using his or her fingers or tongue.

Oral hygiene

It is important to keep the tooth sockets as clean as possible for the first few weeks after the procedure.

We advised to brush the teeth with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste avoiding the surgical extraction site. We recommend starting brushing the teeth as soon as possible and depending on the type of surgery/ extraction site. 

We advise the use of mouthwash (salt water or whatever the dentist has advised) for children over the age of five years old that are able to spit; this should only start 24 hours following the surgical procedure.  We recommend that until the stitches disappear and your child’s mouth looks and feels healed you continue with the mouth wash.

In case of an emergency

Please seek advice if your child experiences any of the following:

  • New or increased bleeding
  • Increasing pain not controlled with regular painkillers
  • Increased swelling (you should expect there to be some swelling)

If you have any concerns or questions please contact the dental nurses, NHS 111 or your GP.


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