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Pain After Having a Tooth Removed: Tips for Kids

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Sometimes children need to have a baby tooth pulled if it will not come out on its own. The need to pull the tooth typically comes up when the adult tooth is already growing in. Although some baby teeth require barely any effort to pull, the procedure can cause the socket to be tender and painful for several days afterward. If your child is experiencing mouth pain after having a tooth removed, he may resist brushing. It is very important, however, to encourage - and if necessary help - your child to continue brushing other areas of his mouth, even if he is in pain. The following three tips can help keep your child brushing after having a tooth pulled:

Follow the Dentist's Instructions

One of the best ways to help your child recover from pain after having a tooth removed is to closely follow your dentist's instructions. Your dentist may restrict your child's diet for the first 24 hours after an extraction. For example, many dentists will ask you to avoid giving your child hot foods for several hours until the numbness wears off, and to give him only soft foods the first day. The area of the extraction is normally not brushed for 4-5 days following the procedure, so the dentist may also want your child to rinse with warm salt water for a few days to help with healing and to keep the area clean. These instructions from your dentist are designed to help your child heal properly and avoid infection.

Use Positive Reinforcement

If your child is resisting the idea of brushing because of pain, there are many ways you can encourage him:

  • Reward your child for being brave at the dentist and talk to him about how excited the big tooth is to have room to grow, and thus how important it is to care for that new tooth.
  • Allow your child to brush the other areas a little at a time. If the pain is too severe, let your child brush a little, then wait, then brush a little more.
  • Offer your child a small reward for doing a good job brushing after having a tooth pulled. Consider using a sticker chart where every ten stickers are worth a prize.

Don't Give Up

The sensitivity from the tooth extraction should fade within a few days. If it doesn't, you may want to follow up with your dentist or inspect the socket for signs of infection. Do the best you can to encourage your child to keep his mouth clean. If brushing is difficult, help him to do the best job possible under the circumstances, and make sure he rinses carefully with water (or salt water, if directed) to keep the area clean.

Learn more about tooth extraction in the Colgate Oral Care resources.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.