Education & Procedures

After Treatment

We want to ensure your child’s comfort even after you leave the office. Here are a list of post-operative instructions for your information. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call our office at (760) 490-0790.

Cleanings

It is normal for your child to have mild stomach irritation after a cleaning. Children tend to swallow small amounts of fluoride during treatment, which may also result in diarrhea and/or vomiting. If this is the case, avoid heavy food or excessive fluid intake. A glass of milk may help calm the effects of the fluoride.

Fillings/Restorations

Your child’s lip, gums and cheeks will most likely be numb for up to an hour after the procedure. Because children don’t fully understand the effects of anesthesia, it is important that your child does not chew or poke their lips, gums or cheeks during this time. They may injure themselves if not monitored closely.

Over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Motrin or Advil can be used to help with any pain your child might be experiencing. However, please contact our office if the pain lasts longer than 24 to 48 hours after treatment.

Swelling is a typical reaction after a filling, crown or other restoration. Make sure to keep the gum area clean and free of food particles. Any swelling that does not go down after 24 to 48 hours, or swelling that keeps getting worse, should be reported to our office.

Extractions

Your child’s lip, gums and cheeks will most likely be numb for up to an hour after the procedure. Because children don’t fully understand the effects of anesthesia, it is important that your child does not chew or poke their lips, gums or cheeks during this time. They may injure themselves if not monitored closely.

After treatment, do not let your child rinse their mouth out, drink carbonated beverages (e.g. Coke or Sprite), or use a straw while drinking for several hours.

Bleeding or Pain

Extractions are typically followed by swelling and bleeding. For about one hour after the extraction, keep pressure on the opening to alleviate bleeding. Dr. Chu will pack the area with gauze and give you some for home use.

If prolonged bleeding occurs, compress the area with wet gauze or have your child bite on a wet tea bag to stop the bleeding. Have your child follow a soft foods diet and administer OTC pain relievers to minimize pain.

Swelling

If swelling occurs, place insulated ice packs on the affected areas in 10-minute intervals for the 24 hours following the procedure. After the initial 24-hour period, apply warm compresses. If swelling or bleeding continues or the swelling gets progressively worse, please call us to schedule an emergency appointment.

Space Maintainers

Following the placement of a space maintainer, a certain amount of pain and discomfort is normal and expected. Be sure your child brushes adequately around the area. Follow a soft foods diet and administer an over the counter pain reliever such as Advil, Motrin or Tylenol, to alleviate discomfort.

If the space maintainer comes loose or is completely removed, please save it if possible and contact us to schedule an appointment.

Sealants

Sealants decrease the risk of decay by keeping out plaque and food. They form a thin coating over pits and fissures over the biting surface of the tooth. Areas in between teeth cannot be coated, so good oral hygiene and nutrition are very important in protecting these unsealed portions of the teeth from decay. Regular flossing and brushing also helps prevent gum disease.

Ice and hard candy should not be eaten because they will fracture the sealant. Dr. Chu recommends regular dental check ups to ensure that your child’s sealants remain in place.

Sealants have been recognized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as an effective tool in the prevention of tooth decay. They can successfully protect the chewing surfaces of your child's teeth if placed and maintained properly. By visiting Dr. Chu’s office regularly for check ups, using fluoride, brushing and flossing daily, and limiting the amount of sugar-rich foods consumed, you are helping maintain your child’s dental health. Coupled with sealants, this program lessens and potentially eliminates the risk of decay.

Sedation Options

If you have been scheduled for a sedation appointment or are have recently been seen by Dr. Chu for one, please read the information below. Dr. Chu will discuss all of this with you in person as well.

  • Remember, your child must be monitored closely after all treatments that require sedation. They will be numb for up to 4 hours, drowsy for up to 8 hours, and may experience vomiting.
  • They should be encouraged to rest for the day of the treatment and not take part in vigorous physical activity.
  • To prevent chewing on lips or cheeks while numb, and nausea, the food given should be light, soft, and not require a lot of chewing, such as yogurt.

Nitrous Oxide (“Laughing Gas”)

We employ Nitrous Oxide to help relax your child and relieve anxiety. This is a safe way to help an anxious child relax or a calm child have a more pleasant experience. Your child will get to choose which “flavored nose” the gas will be administered through. However, this treatment is only meant to relax your child, not put them to sleep.

  • Very apprehensive, combative, or extremely young children do not benefit from nitrous oxide.
  • It is most useful on young children during morning appointments.
  • It is important that your child not eat prior to the appointment. Food will only complicate matters if your child gets an upset stomach during the procedure.
  • We cannot use nitrous oxide on your child if he/she has an ear infection or ear ache. Please inform us if this is the case.
  • If your child has an issue breathing through his/her nose for any reason, please let us know. This may limit the effectiveness of the sedation.
  • Please inform us of any medication your child is taking on the day of the appointment.

I.V. Sedation

We recommend I.V. Sedation for apprehensive, very young or special needs children. It is designed to calm your child, reduce anxiety and lessen discomfort during treatment. A pediatric anesthesiologist will administer and monitor the I.V. sedation while Dr. Chu performs the procedure in-office.

Prior to your I.V. sedation appointment:

  • Any changes in your child’s health or medical condition need to be mentioned. If he/she has a fever, ear infection or cold, please contact us to see if we need to postpone the treatment.
  • It is important that you tell Dr. Chu about any medication your child is taking, any drug reactions or change in medical history. 
  • Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Please make sure that your child goes to the bathroom immediately prior to arriving at the office.
  • Your child should ONLY drink clear liquids (water, apple juice, Gatorade) for up to six hours prior to the scheduled procedure. No solid food or milk is allowed after midnight.
  • A parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the whole procedure.

After the sedation appointment:

  • Your child will be very drowsy for up to 8 hours after the treatment. Please keep a very close eye on them and away from potential dangers.
  • Place your child on their side with their chin up if they want to sleep. Wake them every hour and encourage them to drink in order to prevent dehydration. It is best to give your child sips of clear liquids at first to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
  • If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure that they do not inhale the vomit.
  • Please call our office for any questions or concerns that you might have.

Outpatient General Anesthesia

We recommend Outpatient General Anesthesia for apprehensive, very young, and special needs children that would not work well under conscious sedation or I.V. sedation. General anesthesia puts your child completely to sleep. This is performed in a hospital or outpatient setting only.

The risks of general anesthesia are greater than of other options. However, if suggested for your child, the benefits have been deemed to outweigh the risks. The risk of a serious reaction is in the range of 1 in 25,000 to 1 in 200,000 according to most pediatric literature. This is even less than the assumed risk of driving a car day-to-day. Not choosing the general anesthesia has its own risks, including multiple appointments, potential physical restraint, and possible emotional/physical injury to your child while completing their dental treatment. The risks of NO treatment include tooth pain, infection, swelling, the spread of new decay, damage to their developing adult teeth and possible life threatening hospitalization from a dental infection.

Prior to your appointment:

  • Any changes in your child’s health or medical condition need to be mentioned. If he/she has a fever, ear infection or cold, please contact us to see if we need to postpone the treatment.
  • It is important that you tell Dr. Chu about any medication your child is taking, any drug reactions or change in medical history. 
  • Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Your child should ONLY drink clear liquids (water, apple juice, Gatorade) for up to six hours prior to the scheduled procedure. NO solid food or milk is allowed after midnight.
  • A parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the whole procedure.
After the appointment:
  • Your child will be very drowsy. Please keep a very close eye on them and away from potential dangers.
  • Place your child on their side with their chin up if they want to sleep. Wake them every hour and encourage them to drink in order to prevent dehydration. It is best to give your child sips of clear liquids at first to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
  • If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure that they do not inhale the vomit.
  • You will be given a detailed list of "Post-Op Instructions" and an emergency contact number prior to leaving the hospital or outpatient facility.