Tissue Injury After Local Anesthesia in Children

A self-inflicted tissue injury in the mouth and around the lips is one of the most common complications after dental treatment in children. The tongue, lips, and sides of the mouth are the common sites for this injury. Because the tissues of the mouth and the lips may continue to be numb after dental treatment ceases, it is possible for the patient to unknowingly injure these tissues by chewing, biting, scratching, sucking, or handling them. The result can be as minor as an irritation or as serious as swelling and/or abrasion to the tissues. The injured area may appear white and/or yellow in color. Infection can occur with the injury.

For this reason, it is essential that your child be carefully supervised by a responsible adult after dental treatment with local anesthesia to avoid any self-inflicted injury. The placement of cotton gauze in the mouth for the child to bite on is intended to help remind the child not to injure his or her self in such a manner.

If an injury occurs, the injured area should be kept clean. If the injury is on the lips or outside cheeks, application of a skin ointment or petroleum jelly is recommended. If the injury is in the mouth, application of a mild oral antiseptic is recommended. The area will generally heal in seven to ten days. However, if there is significant swelling in the surrounding tissue areas, your child should be examined by the doctor as antibiotic drug therapy may be necessary.

If you have any question or wish the doctor to examine the area, please call our office. There will be no charge for this visit.