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Day surgery: Dental surgery - discharge care

  • For children going home after dental surgery in the RCH Surgery Centre.

    Eating and drinking

    • After the anaesthetic, your child can start eating a light diet such as sandwiches, pasta, soup or jelly. Avoid fatty or junk food.
    • Your child should not drink hot drinks or fizzy drinks in the first twelve hours.  
    • For babies: breastfeed or give formula feeds as usual.

    Nausea and vomiting

    • Do not worry if your child feels sick or vomits once or twice after leaving hospital.
    • If they vomit or feel sick, stop giving food for about one hour. Then try a light diet if your child can manage it without feeling ill.
    • If your child keeps vomiting, please call the emergency dental registrar via the Department of Dentistry (the telephone number is at the end of this page), or your nearest hospital emergency department.

    Wound care

    • A small amount of blood from the mouth is normal in the first 24 hours after teeth are removed.
    • The bleeding always looks worse because it mixes with the saliva in the mouth.
    • If the area where teeth have been taken out keeps bleeding, put a clean damp handkerchief or gauze directly over the bleeding area and apply gentle, firm pressure for 30 minutes.
    • Be careful when rinsing the mouth in the first six hours after the removal of teeth.
    • If bleeding continues after applying the gauze pack, contact the Department of Dentistry during office hours or your local hospital emergency department after hours.
    • If your child has sutures (stitches), they do not usually need to be taken out because they are dissolvable after 10-14 days. 
    • Your child may continue brushing and flossing teeth as usual with care 12 hours after their dental procedure.

    Activity

    • Because your child has had an anaesthetic, they should rest for the remainder of the day with an adult taking care of them.
    • Depending on how your child is feeling, they may return to school the day after their dental procedure.

    Local anaesthesia

    • Local anaesthesia is often given for pain relief or to control the bleeding during the removal of teeth.
    • Your child will have a numb lip and/or cheek for up to eight hours.  As a result, they may accidentally bite their lip or cheek.  This can cause an ulcer or bleeding. 
    • Keep reminding your child to try not to to bite or nibble their lip or cheek after the procedure for the first eight hours. 
    • It is best to avoid hot food or drinks, as they may burn themselves if parts of their mouth are still numb. Room temperature foods are better for the first 24 hours.

    Pain relief

    • Paracetamol (e.g. Panadol) can be given at home every four to six hours for one to two days if needed. Read the packaging for the correct dose for your child's age and weight. Ask for help if you're not sure. Do not give any medicine with paracetamol in it more than four times every 24 hours.
    • For more severe pain call the RCH on-call dentist or see your family doctor.

    Follow-up

    • You will get a follow-up telehealth appointment by phone from the Department of Dentistry a week or two after your child's operation.
    • Contact the emergency dental registrar through the Department of Dentistry if you have any questions or concerns about your child's care at home. See contact details below.

    Contact details

    • Department of Dentistry
      Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm.
      T: (03) 934 55344 

    • The Royal Children's Hospital 
      T: (03) 9345 5522 (24hrs) 
      Ask for the Emergency Dental Registrar.

    •  RCH Day Surgery Centre, Reception J
      Monday to Friday 7.00am - 7.00pm. 
      T: (03) 9345 6570


    Factsheet developed by the RCH Day Surgery Centre.  First published 2005. Updated August 2020. 

Disclaimer  

This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.