Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
Dental and Oral Surgery for Children

Dental and Oral Surgery for Children

Preparation for Surgery

Your child's anaesthetist will meet you and your child before the operation to tell you about the type of anaesthetic to be used. Please feel free to ask them any questions.

Your child may be given medicine to provide pain relief and/or to make them feel sleepy. If it is planned to start the anaesthetic using an injection, cream may be put on to numb the skin where the intravenous needle/drip is to be put in.

After Surgery

Most children stay in the Paediatric Day Unit for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours after surgery, though some stay longer.

Pain Relief

Paracetamol (panadol) will be given to your child before surgery. We suggest that pain relief be continued four to six hourly as recommended for the next 24 hours.

If this is not adequate, please contact your family doctor.


Your child may return from theatre with an Intravenous Cannula (IV) drip in their hand. They may be given antivomiting medication and IV fluids while in theatre and may require further medication via the drip after returning to the ward. A nurse will remove the drip before you go home.

Diet and fluids/vomiting

Luke warm fluid and soft food is best. It is recommended that your child not eat greasy food as this may cause them to vomit. Do not be concerned if your child vomits once or twice after coming home, but if they continue to vomit please contact your family doctor.

Returning to school and sport

Your child should rest at home for up to 24 hours after returning from hospital. Avoid heavy exercise for one to two days to prevent too much bleeding.

Discharge care

Mouth Hygiene

Ensure your child does not rinse their mouth for 24 hours after surgery, except if bleeding occurs (see below).

After 24 hours your child may gently rinse their mouth, if required, with a half teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water. This may be continued four times a day after meals for up to a week.


A local anaesthetic is commonly used causing a numb sensation around your child's mouth. Please do all you can to ensure your child does not bite or chew their lip or gum while it is still numb.


It is normal for your child's mouth to ooze or bleed slightly. If bleeding continues

  • Rinse your child's mouth with cold water
  • With clean hands, place a pad of clean linen or clean, lint free gauze over the bleeding area
  • Ask your child to bite firmly on the pad
  • The pad must be similar in shape and size as the bleeding part. For example, if only one tooth is removed, the pad must be small enough to fit between the remaining teeth but large enough to bite on
  • Keep your child's jaws firmly together.Try to maintain a firm, steady pressure on the pad for 10 - 30 minutes or longer.
  • Keep your child in a sitting position.


Dissolvable stitches may be used. These may feel uncomfortable. The stitches will start to dissolve within seven to ten days.


A gelfoam sponge may be placed in the tooth socket when teeth are removed. The sponge helps to control bleeding and will usually dissolve within 24 hours. Please do not touch the sponge or try to take it out.

Follow up appointments

The dentist will discuss your child's follow up appointment with you.

If you have any concerns after you have left the Hospital please phone the Paediatric Dental Unit (08) 8161 7379 Monday - Friday, or see your family dentist or doctor.

Back to Paediatric Dental Unit

last modified: 30 Mar 2009