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After-Treatment Instructions

Post-Op Instructions after Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings

  • When anesthesia has been used, your lips, teeth, and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off. It is easy to bite or burn your tongue or lip while numb. It is recommended that you take some ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil, 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours as needed) before the anesthetic completely wears off. This will help with any swelling or pain at the injection sites where your anesthetic was administered. It will also help diminish any swelling in the nerve that may be existent (swelling often occurs in the nerve after cleaning out decay from the tooth).
  • It is normal to experience some hot, cold and pressure sensitivity after your appointment. Your gums may be sore for several days. Rinse your mouth three times a day with warm salt water (put a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse and spit) to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Your new composite fillings are fully hardened before you even leave the office; however, it is wise to chew on the opposite side from the location of the newly placed filling(s). One of the most common problems following filling placement with anesthesia, is an incorrect bite. If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please contact our office immediately to obtain help or advice.

Post-Op Instructions after Crown/Bridge Prep

  • Following the first appointment for a crown or bridge procedure, a provisional temporary is usually placed on the tooth or teeth involved. This will protect them while the custom restoration is being made.
  • The use of temporary cement is for easy removal on your next appointment. If your temporary comes off between appointments, slip it back on and call us for an appointment.
  • Many crowns fit below the gum line. Therefore, you may experience some discomfort for a few days due to the irritation of that area during the procedure. The discomfort should improve with time.
  • Sensitivity to cold or pressure is also possible. Sensitivity to hot and cold lasting a couple seconds is typical after dental treatment. If the sensitivity persists longer than one week and lingers for more than a minute, please call our office for a follow-up evaluation.
  • After the anesthetic wears off, it may take a few days to get used to the provisional temporary crown or bridge. If you feel the bite in not correctly balanced, be sure to call our office immediately for a simple adjustment.
  • Be sure to be aware of what you are eating while wearing your temporary crown or bridge. Avoid any foods that are sticky or may be too hard like gum and hard candy.
  • Proper care includes BRUSHING and FLOSSING a minimum of twice daily. Proper maintenance will not only prolong the life of the restoration but will also help to prevent problems elsewhere in your mouth.

Post-op Instructions - Tooth Extraction

DO NOT DISTURB THE AREA: For the next few days, and especially the first 24 hours, it is very important to allow your body to form a good clot and start the natural healing process. Swishing, sucking through a straw, and smoking can all dislodge the clot. Keep anything sharp from entering the wound (crunchy food, toothpicks, eating utensils). Be sure to chew on the opposite side for 24 hours.

BLEEDING: When you leave the office, you might be biting on a gauze pad to control bleeding. Keep slight pressure on this gauze for at least 30 minutes. Don't change it during this time; it needs to remain undisturbed while a clot forms in the extraction socket. After 30 minutes you may remove it. You may bite on gauze or a tea bag for another 30 minutes if you feel it is still bleeding. Small amounts of blood in the saliva can make your saliva appear quite red. This is normal and may be noticed the rest of the day after the procedure.

SMOKING: Smoking should be stopped following surgery. Healing and success of the surgery will be substantially reduced by the cigarette smoke chemicals in your body. Also the suction created when inhaling cigarettes can dislodge the clot. Smokers are at greater risk of developing a painful Dry Socket.

PAIN: Some discomfort is normal after surgery. To minimize pain, take two Tylenol, Nuprin, Advil, or similar non-aspirin pain reliever every 3 to 4 hours until bedtime to maintain comfort. Take it before the anesthesia wears off. If prescription pain medication is prescribed, take it as instructed on the label. Don't exceed the dose on the label. Taking with food or milk will help reduce upset stomach. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery when taking pain prescriptions. Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications.

NAUSEA: This is most often caused by taking pain medications on an empty stomach. Reduce nausea by preceding each pain pill with soft food, and taking the pill with a large glass of water. SWELLING: Applying an ice bag to the face over the operated area will minimize swelling. Apply for 15 minutes, and then remove for 15 minutes. Continue this for the first day.

NUMBNESS: The local anesthetic will cause you to be numb for several hours after you leave the office. Be very careful not to bite, chew, pinch, or scratch the numb area. Sometimes the extraction causes residual numbness or tingling for six weeks or longer.

BRUSHING: Do not brush your teeth for the first 8 hours after surgery. After this, you may brush your teeth gently, but avoid the area of surgery for 3 days.

RINSING: Avoid all rinsing or swishing for 24 hours after extraction. Rinsing can disturb the formation of a healing blood clot which is essential to proper healing. This could cause bleeding and risk of dry socket. After 24 hours you may begin gentle rinsing with a saltwater solution (1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon soda + 8 ounces warm water). Avoid commercial mouth rinses. DIET: Eat soft foods for the first two days. Maintain a good, balanced diet. Return to normal regular meals as soon as you are able after the first two days. Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol for 48 hours.

ACTIVITY: After leaving the office, rest and avoid strenuous activities for the remainder of the day. Keeping blood pressure lower will reduce bleeding and aid healing.

ANTIBIOTICS: If you were given an antibiotic prescription, take all of them as directed until they are gone. Women: some antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Use alternate birth control methods for two months.

SINUS: If your sinus was involved in the procedure, you should avoid blowing your nose or playing a wind musical instrument for one week. Use of decongestant medications might be recommended.

FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENTS: You may need to return to the office to have sutures removed, or just for a brief follow-up healing check.

Please call your dentist if you have:

  • uncontrollable pain
  • excessive or severe bleeding
  • marked fever
  • excessive warm swelling occurring a few days after the procedure
  • reactions to medications, especially rash, itching, or breathing problems

Following these instructions very closely will greatly help your comfort, and promote uneventful healing of the area. If any of the instructions are not followed, you might have significantly more discomfort, and the success of the procedure may be affected.