It is important to follow instructions after dental treatment to avoid any complications. For most procedures the patient is numbed, so our office generally suggest to wait 1-2 hours before eating to let the anesthesia subside. Trying to eat while you are still numb can result in biting your tongue, cheek or lip because you are not able to feel them.
The instructions found below are general guidelines about what to expect after certain procedures, but the doctor or dental assistant will give you full instructions in the office.
Scaling and Root Planing
During the SRP procedure, the dental hygienist will go below the gum line to remove plaque, bacteria and tartar deposits. It is not uncommon for your gums to be sore for a few days after the procedure. A warm salt water rinse (1 tsp salt + 1 cup water) is recommended 1-2x per day for 2-3 days. This will help soothe the gums and act as a gentle healing aid. Avoid very spicy or crunchy foods for the first few days to prevent any irritation. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office.
Fillings or Bondings
After the procedure, your teeth and gums may be sensitive, so you might want to avoid very hot or very cold food or drink for the next few days. After this initial period, your treated teeth will return to feeling normal. If the numbing wears off and you feel like your teeth don't fit together like they should, please contact us to schedule a bite adjustment. No anesthesia is necessary for a bite adjustment, and it only takes ~5 minutes. The dentist will just smooth and contour the filling as necessary to eliminate any high spots. It is important if your bite "feels off" to see us for an adjustment. Otherwise, you could potentially irritate the tooth and cause it to become sensitive. Make sure to brush and floss as normal to keep your teeth and your new fillings clean!
Crowns & Bridge or Veneers
After the tooth is prepared, a temporary restoration is placed to keep the tooth protected while the dental lab fabricates your new crown, bridge or veneers. Please be careful when eating and cleaning the temporary. Avoid very sticky, chewy foods like caramels, Jolly Ranchers or Starbursts. When flossing around the temporary, avoid floss picks. Flossing up and down through the contact area can dislodge the temporary. Using traditional floss, pop the floss between the teeth and pull the floss through. Your gums might be sore or sensitive after the procedure. A warm salt water rinse (1 tsp salt + 1 cup water) for 1x per day can help soothe the area. If the numbing wears off and your bite with the temporary "feels off", please contact our office for a bite adjustment. If the area becomes progressively sensitive after the preparation procedure, please contact our office.
After the permanent crown, bridge or veneers are placed, there may be an adjustment period. If for any reason, your bite doesn't feel normal, please contact our office for a bite adjustment. You are able to floss and clean your teeth as normal with the new, permanent restoration!
Root Canal Therapy
You can expect some soreness after a root canal procedure for a few days. A temporary restoration is usually placed right after a RCT is completed, so please avoid very chewy or sticky food. Your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic after the procedure to help clear up any remaining infection in the area. Please take all medication as directed. If you notice that symptoms in the area are not resolving or sensitivity or pain is increasing, please contact our office.
After removal of a tooth, we recommend that you "take it easy" for the next couple of days, so no strenuous exercise or heavy lifting. Once the extraction is completed, you will be given gauze to bite on. Please continue to bite on this gauze for 45 minutes. If the gauze becomes soaked, you can change as needed with the extra gauze that you will be sent home with. The extraction site will continue to ooze for the next 24 hours. A little bit of blood mixed with your saliva can look like a lot of blood, so please don't be alarmed. If you do notice heavy bleeding (bright red blood) from the extraction site, the best way to manage it is by applying pressure by biting on gauze. If this does not help, you can try applying pressure by biting on a lightly dampened, black tea bag. If the bleeding cannot be controlled, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Some important post-op instructions include avoiding the THREE S's. No Smoking. No Spitting. No Straws. Any action that forms the "kissing face" should be avoided. The clot is just like a scab that forms after you scratch you arm; it is part of the healing process. If you disrupt the clot, it will interrupt the healing process and can potentially expose the bone, causing a painful condition called dry socket. Please avoid very crunchy or spicy foods to prevent irritation of the site. In some cases, your dentist may place sutures, and most of the time they will dissolve in 5-7 days (if your dentist places non-resorbable sutures, they will let you know). After 48 hours, you are permitted to GENTLY swish with a warm salt water rinse (1 tsp salt + 1 cup water) for 1-2x per day to help cleanse the extraction site and help soothe the gum tissue in that area. It is normal to feel uncomfortable after an extraction, but you should feel better after a few days. If you have questions, concerns or feel like you're not healing properly, please contact our office.