Recovery in Children

Most children return to school and some normal activities within the first day or two after surgery. Many parents schedule the procedure on a Thursday or Friday and their child is ready to go back to classroom by Monday. There is no problem with going out the following day, although it’s best to rest for a day or two. Of course there are always variations in overall response and recovery.


The level and duration of pain generally depend on the complexity of the surgery, the technique, and the child’s tolerance. Most children complain very little of pain after extractions and other minor oral surgery procedure and do not require any pain medications. ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) are certainly adequate for relief of most types of discomfort in children and may be necessary for one to two days. Very rarely do children need a stronger medication such as Tylenol with Codeine.


No swelling is expected with extractions in children, unless the tooth is unusually impacted or malpositioned. But there can be some swelling in the event of injuries, which usually resolves in seven to 10 days.


Upon arrival home,  children may have some water, juices, soups, purees, shakes, and very soft foods. A soft diet is recommended for up to three to five days. No hard, crispy, or very spicy foods should be eaten during this period. The general rule is: if they have to chew it, it’s probably too hard. After five to seven days, patients may gradually return to normal foods.


Parents should make sure that their child gets plenty of rest on the day of the procedure. Some children feel quite well even on the day of extraction and can resume gentle activities. If IV sedation was given, it’s best to rest on the day of surgery and resume some activities on the following day. No sports for two to three days.