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Pain After Having A Tooth Removed: 3 Tips To Help Your Kids Keep Brushing

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

There's a reason the saying "like pulling teeth" refers to a problematic situation. However, with modern-day dental advancement, tooth extraction is a quite standard and simple procedure. But when kids are involved, it can make things a little trickier. They're most likely getting a pearly white pulled because it's a baby tooth, and the adult tooth is coming up behind it. Which often leads to a tender and painful socket, possibly for days post-procedure. So if there's pain after a tooth is removed, there's a solid chance your little one won't want to brush twice a day as they should. Fear not, parents. Our tips below will help you make sure brushing time doesn't turn into tantrum time.

1) Follow the Dentist's Instructions

Like anything in life, following directions can be important. When it comes to oral health, specifically, your child's, that's even more true. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following after tooth removal:

  • Avoid anything that might prevent healing
  • Avoid drinking through a straw for 24 hours
  • Follow the diet your dentist suggests

Usually, hot or chilled food items are to be avoided for the first day or so. Rinsing gently, ideally with warm salt water, can help the healing process. Brush and floss as usual, but not near the area of the extraction.

2) Use Positive Reinforcements

What you say to your child and how you say it can significantly influence their attitude toward brushing after their tooth removal.

  • Bravery:
    • Get them excited about the courage they showed at the dentist, for having an adult tooth come in, and how they should care for the new tooth.
  • Slow and Steady:
    • Brushing isn't a sprint. It's a marathon. So a little here, a little there, and breaks in between are fine. Just remember to brush around the extraction.
  • Reward:
    • Compensating your kid with a little prize (like staying up a little longer) doesn't do any harm. Tell them how proud of them you are for doing something so difficult.

3) Don't Give Up

Perseverance is everything with a child. Your goal is to make sure the socket stays healthy and avoids any infection. That's easier said than done — all the more reason to press on with the brushing. If the brushing isn't going as well as you hoped, remember that saltwater rinsing can be an effective alternative. If pain persists, speak to your dentist about pain relief medication.

Look, getting your child to do as their told is never easy. And when possible pain is involved from tooth removal, it can be even more challenging. Take these tips to heart and lean on your dental team for more pointers. They have the best intentions for your child's oral health. And chances are your dentist or dental hygienist is a parent who can give you firsthand advice.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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