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Dental surgery: Discharge instructions

Translations available: Spanish

What can I expect after dental surgery?

If teeth were removed, some bleeding may occur for the first day. Give cold liquids or Popsicles® to help stop bleeding. If bleeding continues, put a folded piece of gauze on the area and apply pressure for 10 minutes. If bleeding does not stop, call the doctor.

Nausea (upset stomach) and vomiting (throwing up) are common during the first 24 hours after surgery. If your child vomits, it may contain blood (bright red or dark coffee-ground appearance).

Your child's mouth may be sore for a few days. The lips and lower face may be swollen for a day or two after surgery. Use ice or a cool wet washcloth on the lips if needed for swelling on the first day.

See your Patient Discharge Summary sheet for specific instructions about pain control and when to see the surgeon again.

How should I take care of my child's teeth?

On the day of surgery, clean your child's teeth using a wet washcloth, or your child may rinse with warm water.

After 24 hours, brush your child's teeth at least twice a day. If a crown loosens or comes off before the tooth comes out, save the crown and call the dentist.

What can my child eat?

Encourage cool liquids the first day. When your child is ready, add soft, easy to chew foods (foods without coarse, rough, or crispy edges), such as:

  • applesauce
  • bread
  • canned fruits
  • cheese, processed
  • cooked cereal
  • eggs, soft-cooked or soft-scrambled
  • gelatin (such as Jell-O®)
  • ground meats moistened with gravy or liquid
  • macaroni and cheese
  • mashed potatoes
  • pudding
  • sherbet
  • soup
  • vegetables, well-cooked


Regular foods can be eaten as comfort allows. If your child received stainless steel crowns, avoid gum and sticky, gooey candy such as caramels, hard candy, or suckers.

How active can my child be?

Your child may do quiet activities the day of surgery and then go back to regular activities.

When should I call the dentist?

  • bleeding in the mouth that does not stop with pressure
  • increasing pain or soreness in the mouth
  • pain that is not relieved with the medicine that has been ordered
  • any numbness in the face

When should I call the doctor?

  • temperature higher than 102° F (38.8° C) and not responding to Tylenol
  • not urinating at least every 8 hours
  • continued upset stomach or vomiting
  • trouble breathing – call 911

Questions?

This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions please call the clinic.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Patient/Family Education
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials.

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