Sometimes children need to have a baby tooth extracted when the tooth does not fall out on its own. The need to remove the tooth usually arises when the adult tooth is already growing. Although some teeth require little effort to remove, the procedure can cause tenderness and pain at the extraction site for several days. If your child experiences mouth pain after having a tooth extracted, he may resist brushing. It is very important, however, to encourage – and help if necessary – to continue brushing the other areas of his mouth, even if there is pain. The following three tips can help you keep your child brushing after tooth extraction:
Follow the dentist’s instructions
One of the best ways to help your child recover from pain after having a tooth extracted is to closely follow the instructions from your dentist. 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 subsides and to only give your child soft foods the first day. Normally the extraction area is not brushed for 4-5 days after 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. Your dentist’s instructions are designed to help your child heal properly and prevent infection.
Use positive reinforcement
If your child resists the idea of brushing because of pain, there are many ways you can encourage him:
- Reward your child for being brave at the dentist’s office and talk to him about how excited the big tooth must be to have room to grow, to help him see how important it is to take care of that new tooth.
- Let your child brush the other areas of the mouth a little at a time. If the pain is too bad, let your child brush a little, then wait, then brush some more.
- Offer your child a small reward for doing a good job of brushing after having a tooth extracted. Consider using the sticker chart where for every ten stickers you earn a prize.
Do not give up
Sensitivity from tooth extraction should go away in a few days. If not, you can talk to the dentist, or inspect the extraction site for signs of infection. Do your best to encourage your child to keep his mouth clean. If brushing is difficult, help him do the best job possible under the circumstances and make sure he rinses his mouth out carefully with water (or salt water, if prescribed) to keep the area clean.