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Post-Op Instructions

In order to avoid complications and ensure proper healing, it is important to follow the doctor’s orders after oral surgery.  An important rule to remember is you should wait two hours after surgery before eating to let the anesthesia wear off.  Eating before this two hour window could result in soft tissue damage because you are not able to feel all of your mouth while chewing.  The instructions found below are guidelines and suggestions. After your surgery, the dentist or dental assistant will give you full instructions on how to properly recover from your procedure.

Root Canal Therapy

After a root canal procedure, you can expect soreness for a few days.  You should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed in order to not irritate the area and ensure that the temporary restorative material properly sets.  You will also need to remember to take an antibiotic to treat any remaining infection in your tooth.  If you notice increasing pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication, or the loss of the temporary restoration (filling), be sure to call your dentist immediately.

Crowns and Bridges

Before you receive your permanent crown/bridge, you will first get a temporary restoration.  This temporary one is not as sturdy as the permanent version, so you should be mindful when cleaning and eating.  While cleaning your teeth, be sure to brush the area gently and do not pull up on the tooth when flossing because it could become dislodged.  You should also avoid eating sticky or chewy foods while you have the temporary restoration in place.

There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent crown is placed. This is normal and will subside once the soft tissue heals.  If the pain does not go away, Advil or Tylenol, or even a warm saltwater rinse, can help.

When the permanent crown or bridge is placed, it may feel a little awkward for the first few days.  Your mouth just needs time to adjust to the new tooth.  It should feel like one of your natural teeth in less than a week.  If your bite feels off in any way, you should let your dentist know.  It is important to care for your bridge or crown just like you would care for your own teeth.  Brushing and flossing should occur regularly.

White Fillings (Bonding)

After the anesthesia wears off, your teeth will likely be extra sensitive. You should avoid hot and cold foods or drinks for the next few days after surgery.  After that initial period, your treated teeth will feel as good as new and you can continue your normal hygiene plan to ensure that your fillings last.

Scaling and Root Planing

After scaling and root planing procedures, your gums will probably be sore and irritated for a few days.  You should rinse your mouth with warm saltwater (1 tsp. salt + 8 oz. water) two to three times a day. This will help to relieve the pain and clean the area.  Gentle brushing and flossing should be continued right after the procedure.  If you experience any swelling or irritation in the area, you can use a cold compress and take some pain relievers.  You should avoid any hard or chewy foods for two to three days after the surgery to ensure the area heals completely.  If you continue to experience pain or swelling after a couple of days, be sure to contact your dentist.

Veneers

Before you receive your permanent veneer, you will first receive a temporary veneer.  These are not as sturdy as the permanent version, so it is important to be careful when cleaning and eating. While cleaning your teeth, be sure to brush the area gently and do not pull up on the tooth when flossing because it could displace.  You should also avoid eating sticky or chewy foods while you have the temporary veneers in place.

There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent veneers are placed.  This is normal and will subside once the soft tissue heals.  If the pain does not go away, Advil or Tylenol, or even a warm saltwater rinse, can help.

When the veneer is placed, it may feel a little awkward for the first few days.  Your mouth just needs time to adjust to its new teeth.  It should feel like your natural teeth in less than a week.  If your bite feels off in any way, you should let your dentist know.  When brushing and flossing, pay close attention to the area between your veneer and your tooth at the gum line.

Extractions

After the surgery, rest will be important.  You need to plan accordingly to be driven home by a friend or family member after the procedure because of the anesthesia.  You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a bit after the surgery.  Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery and should be changed every few hours, or when it becomes soaked.  If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours, you should call your dentist right away.  While resting, do not lie flat on your back because this could prolong the bleeding. It is important to prop your head up on a pillow when lying down.  Your dentist can prescribe you pain medication if needed.  You can also use an ice pack for the pain and discomfort.  Your dentist might also provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site and soothe the area.

You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:

  • Jello-O
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ice Cream
  • Thin Soups

When drinking, make sure you to not use a straw because the sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process.  The same goes for the sucking motion with smoking.  If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing as it should, be sure to call your dentist for a follow up appointment.

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