My six-year-old had to see the pediatric dentist to have two teeth removed yesterday. He was incredibly sore after and overnight. We tried icing it and giving him ibuprofen, but it didn’t really help. By this morning, it looked like he’d been in a boxing ring. I phoned the dentist to find out what happened and they told me there was nothing out of the ordinary about the treatment—just that sometimes this happens. I want to believe them. We have a good relationship with the doctor and all my kids have seen him, so we’ve been patients for probably a decade by now. But, I’ve never seen or heard of anything like this and it’s quite alarming. My son doesn’t remember anything about the treatment. They sedated him during the visit. So, I really don’t have anything but the word of the dental office to go on. Is this normal? Or should I have my son seen somewhere?
As scary as it may look right now, your son is probably experiencing a side-effect of receiving anesthetic and will be just fine in time. However, you should get him checked out by the pediatric dentist or a physician just to be sure.
Hematomas May Occur by Receiving Anesthetic
As Jacqueline J. Freudenthal, RDH, MHE, associate professor and chair of the Department of Dental Hygiene at Idaho State University explains, “A hematoma develops when a blood vessel (artery or vein) is inadvertently injured by the needle. If the injury is minor or the tissue is dense, a hematoma is unlikely to be noticeable extraorally.” She notes that the care team can help diminish the impact by stopping treatment and applying pressure and ice right away and continuing with ice off and on for the next six hours. So, you did the right thing by applying ice at home. However, she also notes that, “ If an artery or vessel is injured in a vascular area, such as the pterygopalatine or infratemporal fossa, a more dramatic response of swelling and bruising may occur.”
Most hematomas heal on their own with no further care needed. However, more serious cases do require additional treatment and follow-up care with the dentist or a physician. This has been observed and studied in children.
Sometimes Bumps Happen During Extractions
It’s also possible your son is more susceptible to bruising or was bumped during the extractions. This doesn’t happen much with baby teeth because they have shorter roots and tend to come out easier than adult teeth, but it’s possible trauma occurred during the extraction too.
Take Him to the Pediatric Dentist or His Pediatrician
It sounds like your instincts are spot-on here. Your son is in pain and has obvious signs of injury. Whether they happened during the course of normal treatment or not, he should be seen right away. Chances are, he’ll be sore for a bit and the marks will dissipate over the next couple weeks. However, if he is experiencing one of the rarer complications, medical intervention could be necessary. Give the pediatric dentist a call back and let them know you’d feel better if the doctor took another look at your son. If they can’t get him seen right away or you have concerns about what may have happened in the treatment room, have him visit his pediatrician or another doctor instead.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Raymond Bolt, a provider of general and pediatric dental services in Auburn, AL.