Although we don’t advise patients to get teeth extracted needlessly, the process is usually a simple one. Southern Cross Dental in Colorado Springs serves patients of all ages, and often performs dental extractions on children in preparation for orthodontic work or to prevent overcrowding from wisdom teeth. When we do this, we do our best to provide clear instructions and arrange follow-ups. However, there are some issues that are known to pop up after extractions, including swollen lips.
When we extract teeth from the lower jaw, we usually use local anesthetic to numb the alveolar nerve. This nerve also supplies feeling to the chin and lower lip, and for many children, a numb lower lip is a strange new sensation. Unfortunately, they often experimentally bite on their lower lips, and being numbed, can’t tell when they’re biting too hard. This could result in a lesion and the lip swelling to many times its usual size.
Typically, this kind of swelling isn’t dangerous. If the lesion remains white and doesn’t produce any odor, and the patient doesn’t have a fever, it is probably not infected and doesn’t need to be drained. It will likely recede to normal after a few weeks, and patients can take over-the-counter painkillers and apply cold packs to their faces for the first forty-eight hours after the extraction. (They can switch to hot packs after that.) Hopefully, simply informing children of the risk of a swollen lip is enough to prevent them from biting, and they’ll be on a soft foods diet immediately after the extraction that will prevent them from biting their lips accidentally. If a swollen lip does show signs of infection, it will need to be cared for professionally.