CARING FOR YOURSELF AFTER PROCEDURES


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Deep cleaning instructions

How long will I be numb?

Your lips, teeth, cheek and/or tongue may be numb for several hours after the procedure. To avoid injury, you should avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. It is very easy to bite or burn your tongue, cheek or lip while you are numb.

Is it normal for my gums or jaw to be sore?

Irritation to the gum tissue can occur from dental work. Rinsing your mouth 2-3 times per day with ½ tsp of warm saltwater can help to alleviate discomfort. Injection sites can be sore for several days after your appointment. Over-the-counter pain medications work well to alleviate the tenderness.

Is it normal for my gums to bleed when I brush and floss?

You may encounter some bleeding while brushing and flossing. It is important to continue gentle brushing with a soft toothbrush and flossing even if bleeding occurs. As healing progresses, the bleeding will gradually reduce or disappear.

Why do I now have spaces between my teeth?

After removal of plaque and tartar buildup, it is common to have spaces between your teeth and gum tissue. Some spaces may appear as “black triangles” near the gum area, whereas other spaces may separate the teeth. Flossing and brushing regularly will keep the spaces from building up with plaque and tartar.

Is it normal for my teeth to be sensitive?

Normal healing results in some tissue tightening and shrinkage which may expose more tooth structure leading to sensitivity to cold, hot or sweets. This is a common side effect and usually diminishes with time.

Can I do anything for my sensitivity?

Continue to brush and floss to remove plaque bacteria that produces acids which contributes to tooth sensitivity. Brushing with a “sensitivity toothpaste” will help alleviate the sensitivity over a 2-4 week time frame. If the sensitivity lasts longer, contact the office and special fluoride rinses or toothpastes may be prescribed.

When do I come back after my “deep cleaning?”

Normally 390 days after your “deep cleaning,” you will be brought back to the office for reevaluation of the pocketing. At this time, we will recommend the time frame of your subsequent periodontal cleanings, called periodontal maintenance or supportive periodontal therapy. These cleaning usually are performed 3-4 times per year and are important to prevent reinfection and possible tooth loss.

Crown and Bridge instructions

How long will I be numb?

Your lips, teeth, cheek and/or tongue may be numb for several hours after the procedure. To avoid injury, you should avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. It is very easy to bite or burn your tongue, cheek or lip while you are numb.

Is it normal for my gums or jaw to be sore?

Irritation to the gum tissue can occur from dental work. Rinsing your mouth 2-3 times per day with ½ tsp of warm saltwater can help to alleviate discomfort. Injection sites can be sore for several days after your appointment. Over-the-counter pain medication work well to alleviate the tenderness.

My bite feels off. Is this normal?

If your bite feels uneven, please call our office so we can make a quick adjustment to the temporary or final restoration. Do not assume your bite will get better after time. The tooth may become irritated and a toothache may occur, if this is not done. It may also cause an increase in temperature sensitivity with the tooth.

Is it normal for my tooth to be sensitive?

It is normal to experience some sensitivity to heat, cold, sweets and pressure after your appointment. It is common for this sensitivity to last several months after treatment. Usually, deeper cavities will be more sensitive. Again, make sure that your bite feels even.

What foods should I avoid with the temporary?

Avoid eating chewy and sticky foods, such as gum, taffy, licorice, etc. Also, try not to eat hard foods directly on the temporary as it may fracture. It is best, if possible, to chew on the opposite side from the tooth that was worked on to avoid dislodging the temporary.

Why do I need the temporary to stay on?

While the custom restoration is being made, temporaries serve to protect the teeth and to help minimize temperature sensitivity. In addition, they help to prevent movement of the adjacent and opposing teeth so that the final crown will fit properly.

What should I do if my temporary comes off?

Occasionally, a temporary crown may come off or fracture. Call us if this occurs and bring your temporary to the office so that we may re-cement or repair it. If the temporary comes off during off hours or if you are out-of-town, you can purchase re-cementing products from the drug store and attempt to do it yourself by following the instructions.

Can I brush and floss around my temporary?

You may brush your teeth and temporary crown as usual using a soft toothbrush. Floss your temporary crown carefully. Do not pull up on the floss as this may dislodge or loosen the temporary. Instead, pull the floss out from the side of the temporary. If a temporary bridge was placed, use a floss threader to clean underneath the bridge and pull the floss out through the side or front of the temporary.

Root canal instructions

How long will I be numb?

Your lips, teeth, cheek and/or tongue may be numb for several hours after the procedure. To avoid injury, you should avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. It is very easy to bite or burn your tongue, cheek or lip while you are numb.

Is it normal for my gums or jaw to be sore?

Irritation to the gum tissue can occur from dental work. Rinsing your mouth 2-3 times per day with ½ tsp of warm saltwater can help to alleviate discomfort. Injection sites can be sore for several days after your appointment. Over-the-counter pain medication work well to alleviate the tenderness

Is it normal for my tooth to ache?

It is not uncommon for a tooth to feel tender or even exhibit a dull ache over the next few days as your body undergoes the natural healing process. These symptoms are temporary (usually last less than one week) and usually respond well to over-the-counter pain medications.

Why does my tooth feel different?

You may feel a slight indentation or rough area on the back of a “front tooth” or the top of a “back tooth.” This is where a temporary material was placed through the access that was made on the tooth. It is not unusual for a thin layer to wear off in-between appointments. However, if you think the entire filling has come out, please contact our office.

Is it normal for my tooth to be sensitive?

Your tooth may be sensitive to biting pressure and may appear to feel loose. This is a normal response and is no cause for alarm.

My bite feels off, is this normal?

If your bite feels uneven and is causing soreness, please call our office. A short office visit to adjust the problem area usually leads to a quick and dramatic improvement.

Is it okay to eat on the tooth with the root canal?

Please avoid chewing on the tooth that had the root canal. Whenever possible, try to chew on the opposite side of the treated tooth (as it is brittle) until the final restoration has been placed. The temporary filling will not permanently protect your tooth from reinfection or fracture.

Do I need any other treatment after a root canal?

A permanent restoration is required after a root canal is performed on a tooth. Depending on the location of the tooth will determine what restoration will be recommended. Most teeth will require some type of crown, although there are exceptions where a filling may be placed. This permanent restoration is used to avoid future tooth fractures as the tooth is “hollowed out” from the root canal procedure.

Extraction instructions

Eating and drinking

Drinking plenty of fluids is essential. Do no suck through a straw as this will promote bleeding. Eating soft nutritious food is encouraged as soon as the bleeding has stopped and for the first few days after surgery.

Brushing and rinsing

For the first 24 hours, do not brush or rinse your teeth as this may disrupt healing. After 24 hours, gentle brushing with a soft toothbrush is encouraged, but avoid the extraction site. Avoid brushing sutures, if placed. You may use a warm saltwater rinse (1/2 tsp mixed with 8 oz. of warm water) 3-4 times per day after the first 24 hours to help soothe discomfort. Do not spit for 48 hours after surgery.

Smoking

Do not smoke for at least 48 hours after surgery. Smoking adversely affects oral hygiene and contributes to “dry socket.” Spitting and rinsing too early after surgery may also contribute to this painful condition.

Exercise

Please refrain from strenuous activity until 48 hours after surgery, as this will promote bleeding and interfere with the healing process.

Medications

You may be prescribed medications. Take them as directed to help control the discomfort. To avoid nausea, do not take pain medications on an empty stomach. Please note: some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control pills. Please check with your pharmacist.

Numbness

Your lips, teeth, cheek and/or tongue may be numb for several hours after the procedure. To avoid injury, you should avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. It is very easy to bite or burn your tongue, cheek or lip while you are numb.

Bleeding

Biting on moistened gauze until the bleeding subsides is the best way to control bleeding. Change the gauze as it becomes saturated with new moistened gauze. If bleeding persists after 2-3 hours, keep your head elevated and sit upright. You may try “home remedies” such as a moistened tea bag placed on the site for 30 minutes to help control bleeding. Overnight, it is normal for some blood to “ooze” from the area of the surgery. If you notice excessive bleeding call the office or go to the nearest emergency room.

Bruising and swelling

You may experience some bruising in the area of the surgery. In some people, this is a normal response and should resolve within 7-14 days after surgery. Swelling is best controlled by the immediate application of ice packs for the first 24 hours following surgery. Ice packs should be applied to the outside of the face in intervals of 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.

Limited opening

Jaw muscle stiffness with some limited opening of your mouth may occur after removal of teeth. This is a normal response and may take several weeks to improve. Using warm moistened towels on your face 24 hours after surgery may improve the stiffness.

Fever

There may be a slight elevation of temperature for the first 24-48 hours after surgery. If a fever is present, it is extremely important to drink plenty of fluids. Please call the office if there is a concern.

White filling instructions

How long will I be numb?

Your lips, teeth, cheek and/or tongue may be numb for several hours after the procedure. To avoid injury, you should avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. It is very easy to bite or burn your tongue, cheek or lip while you are numb.

Is it normal for my gums or jaw to be sore?

Irritation to the gum tissue can occur from dental work. Rinsing your mouth 2-3 times per day with ½ tsp of warm saltwater can help to alleviate discomfort. Injection sites can be sore for several days after your appointment. Over-the-counter pain medication work well to alleviate the tenderness.

Do I have to be careful with my filling?

Your filling is as hard as it will be when you leave the office. Immediately following the appointment, you can brush, floss and chew as you would normally. Please use precautions as stated above if you are numb.

My bite feels off, is this normal?

If your bite feels uneven, please call our office so we can make a quick adjustment to the filling. Do not assume your bite will get better after time. The tooth may become irritated and a toothache may occur, if this is not done. It may also cause an increase in temperature sensitivity with the tooth.

Is it normal for my tooth to be sensitive?

It is normal to experience some sensitivity to heat, cold, sweets and pressure after hour appointment. This sensitivity may last from several weeks to several months after treatment. Usually, the deeper the cavity, the more sensitive the tooth will be. Again, make sure that your bite feels even.

Why does the filling feel different?

The filling may be contoured differently and have different texture than your original tooth or restoration. Your tongue may magnify this slight difference and you should become accustomed to this “new feel” in just a few days. If not, please call the office.