General Rule of Thumb - It is important to follow instructions after you have dental treatment to ensure proper healing and to avoid complications. Always wait the allotted time before eating to let the anesthesia wear off. Trying to eat before this could result in soft tissue damage because you are not able to feel all of your mouth. The instructions found below are guidelines. After dental work, the doctor or dental assistant will give you full instructions on how to properly recover safely and don't hesitate to call the office or reach out to the staff if you have any questions.
Root Canal Therapy - You can expect soreness after a root canal procedure for a few days. You should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed so you do not irritate the area and also to ensure that the temporary restorative material properly sets. You will also need to take an antibiotic to treat any remaining infection in your tooth. If you notice an increasing amount of pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication, or the loss of the temporary restoration (filling) call your dentist immediately.
Crowns and Bridges
- Before you receive your permanent crown/bridge you will first receive a temporary restoration. This is not as sturdy as the permanent version, so you should be careful when cleaning and eating. You should brush the area gently and should not pull up on the tooth when flossing because it could become dislodged. The same goes for eating. You should avoid sticky or chewy foods while you have the temporary in. There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will subside after the soft tissue heals. A warm salt water rinse will help, and you can also take Advil or Tylenol if the pain does not go away. When the permanent crown or bridge is placed it may feel a little awkward for a few days. Your mouth needs to adjust to the new tooth, and it should feel like one of your natural tooth in less than a week. If your bite feels abnormal in any way, you should let your dentist know. Caring for your bridge or crown is just like caring for your own teeth. You should brush and floss regularly.
White Fillings (Bonding)
- After the anesthesia wears off your teeth will likely be sensitive. You should avoid hot and cold food or drink for the next few days. After that initial period, your treated teeth will feel as good as new. Continue your normal hygiene plan to ensure that your fillings last for a long time. Dental Bonding on front teeth can sometimes shear off or chip depending on the size of the filling, strength of the remaining tooth and location of the correction. Multiple fractures most likely indicate the need for an alternate treatment including but not limited to lumineers, veneers or crowns.
Scaling and Root Planing
- After this procedure your gums will probably be slightly sore and irritated for a few days. You should rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1 tsp salt/8 oz water) 2-3 times a day. This will relieve the pain and cleanse the area. Brushing and flossing should be continued right after the procedure, but you should brush gently so that you do not further irritate the area. If you experience any swelling or stiffness in the area you can place a cold compress on the area and take some pain relieving medicine. Avoid any hard or chewy foods for 2-3 days after the surgery to ensure the area heals correctly. If you continue to experience pain or swelling after a few days contact your dentist.
- Before you receive your permanent veneer you will first receive a temporary restoration. This is not as sturdy as the permanent version, so you should be careful when cleaning and eating. You should brush the area gently and should not pull up on the tooth when flossing because it could become dislodged. The same goes for eating. You should avoid sticky or chewy foods while you have the temporary in. There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will subside after the soft tissue heals. A warm salt water rinse will help, and you can also take Advil or Tylenol if the pain does not go away. When the veneer is placed it may feel a little awkward for a few days. Your mouth needs to adjust to the new tooth, and it should feel like one of your natural tooth in less than a week. If your bite feels abnormal in any way, you should let your dentist know. When brushing and flossing you should pay close attention to the area between the veneer and the tooth at the gum line.
Extractions and/or Dental Implants
- You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call your dentist. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Your dentist will prescribe you pain medication, so if you become sore take as directed. You can also use an ice pack for the pain. Your dentist might also provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site. You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are: Gelatin, Pudding, Yogurt, Mashed Potatoes, Ice Cream & Thin Soups.
When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don't feel that the extraction site is healing properly, call our office immediately and/or contact the doctor after hours.
After Dental Implant Surgery it is important to carefully follow all post-operative instructions and take all medications as instructed. After a dental implant has been placed, there may be a small metal cylinder (healing abutment) protruding through the gums. Be careful and avoid traumatizing or chewing directly on this area. There also will be sutures that should not be disturbed.
Avoid rinsing the first day after dental implant placement. Use your medications as prescribed. Restrict your activities on the day of surgery and return to normal activities slowly. Place ice packs on the outside of the face where the implants were placed. Use ice for the first 24-48 hours to decrease swelling by applying it on and off 20–30 minutes at a time.
Swelling After Dental Implant Surgery Swelling is normal after any surgical procedure, including the placement of dental implants. The extent of swelling varies and depends on the extent of the surgery and each individual patient. Swelling around the mouth, jaws, cheeks, and below the eyes is not uncommon. The swelling will usually reach its maximum 2–3 days after the placement of the dental implant(s). The swelling can be decreased by the immediate use of ice packs in the first 24 hours. Ice packs should be applied to the outside next to where the dental implant surgery was done. Keep the ice on for 20–30 minutes at a time, then remove for 20–30 minutes. Also, sitting upright and not lying flat on the first day will help to decrease the amount of swelling.
You may have been prescribed other anti-inflammatory medications. If you were prescribed these medications, follow the instructions written on the bottle.
Pain After Dental Implant Surgery Pain medications are normally required after dental implant surgery. If you can take ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®), take 400–600 mg every 6–8 hours or as prescribed by your doctor. Ibuprofen will help with pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory.
If you feel anything lies outside of the scope of these instructions, call the office and we can instruct you on your road to recovery.