Local anesthetic is the most effective way of eliminating any discomfort that may accompany dental treatment. The only downside to a comfortable dental visit and anesthetized teeth is the associated numbness of the adjacent soft tissues, the lips, the cheeks and the tongue.
The duration of numbness varies. The effect will differ between two individuals, even if they are related. Also, the duration and depth of numbness varies with the type of anesthetic agents administered.
We try to use the local anesthetic that best suits the treatment type and normally the numbness wears off within an hour after your child has left the office. Some individuals may experience numbness for less than a half hour while other children have been numb four hours after the treatment visit. Your child will notice his lips and/or tongue beginning to tingle as the feeling returns.
Watch your child carefully following dental treatment. It only takes a second for a child to damage soft tissues by chewing on them or by sucking on lips or cheeks.
To Avoid Cheek, Lip and Tongue Biting:
Younger children will leave the operatory with a “tooth pillow,” which is a cotton roll or gauze. This is placed between the teeth to remind the child that his tissues are asleep. Your child should not chew on the pillow as he may injure the soft tissues. Extra cotton rolls will be given to you in order to replace the original pillow if need be.
Soft food may be eaten during the day of treatment, after the soft tissues regain feeling. A regular diet may be continued the following day unless there has been an extraction. If your child has had a tooth extracted, wait a second day before continuing a normal eating pattern unless the dentist suggests otherwise.
Numbness and Tissue Biting (Cheek, Lip or Tongue)
If your child bites his lip, cheek or tongue following the administration of local anesthetic, you may notice:
- A swollen lip (as much a three-times normal)
- A raw lip surface
- The affected area will be tender and sensitive to acidic and hot or spicy foods
- The following day the lip surface will be covered by a white membranous “scab”
- A white ulceration of the soft tissue
- It will get worse before it gets better. At days 2-3, the ulceration appears the worst.
What to do:
- Call the office and inform the dentist of the incident
- Keep your child well fed and hydrated
- Popsicles and other frozen items will be comforting
- Cold liquids help in addition to soft cold foods such as ice cream and yogurt, etc.
- Avoid acidic and spicy juices or foods
- Infection is extremely rare in cases of these self-inflicted wounds
- Antibiotics are not necessary
- Do not use Vaseline or petroleum jelly type products to coat the tissues
- Use vitamin E oil if you desire to coat the surface
- Normal healing will require a week or 5-7 days.
Schedule an Appointment
Our Hudsonville, MI, pediatric dentists have undergone specialized training in child psychology, sedation, and behavior management. Our team is dedicated to providing a safe, positive dental experience for your child.