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Post-Op Patient Care

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Post-Op Instructions for Extractions | Post-Op Instructions for Crowns and Bridges | Post-Op Instructions for Fillings | Post-Op Instructions for Root Canals

Post-Op Instructions for Extractions

After tooth extraction, it’s essential for a blood clot to form in order to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. We ask that you bite on a gauze pad for 30 to 45 minutes after the appointment to aid in this process. If the bleeding persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes and repeat as needed.

After the blood clot forms, it is vital not to disturb or dislodge it. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol, or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours because it will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.

After the tooth is extracted, you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack applied to the face near the extraction area will minimize swelling. Take pain medications as prescribed. Swelling will usually subside after 48 hours.

Use the pain medication as directed and call our office if you continue to experience pain. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat soft foods on the day of the extraction. You may introduce normal foods as your comfort allows.

It is important to resume your normal dental routine of brushing and flossing after 24 hours. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.

Post-Op Instructions for Crowns and Bridges

Crowns and bridges usually take more than one appointment to complete. During the first visit, the teeth are prepared and molds of the mouth are taken. Temporary crowns or bridges are placed to protect the teeth while your custom restoration is being made. Your tongue, lips, and roof of the mouth may be numb. Please refrain from eating and drinking hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off.

To keep your temporaries in place, avoid eating sticky foods (gum) or hard foods, and if possible, chew on the opposite side of your mouth. It is worthwhile to brush normally, but floss carefully and don’t pull up on the floss because it may dislodge the temporary crown. If your temporary crown falls off, call our office immediately so we may re-cement it.

It is normal to experience some temperature and pressure sensitivity after each appointment. The sensitivity should subside a few weeks after the placement of the final restoration. Mild pain medications may also be used to alleviate any tenderness.

Post-Op Instructions for Fillings

Your lips and tongue may be numb for several hours after filling treatments. Avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off to avoid inadvertently biting or burning your tongue and lips.

It is normal to experience some tooth sensitivity after your appointment. Injection sites may also be sore. A mild pain medication (one tablet of Tylenol or Ibuprofen every 3 to 4 hours) should reduce any discomfort.

You may chew with your composite fillings as soon as the anesthetic completely wears off, since they are fully set when you leave the office.

If your bite feels uneven, you have persistent pain, or if sensitivity to hot or cold increases, please contact our office.

Post-Op Instructions for Root Canals

Root canal therapy often takes two or more appointments to complete, depending on the severity of infection. At the start of treatment your dentist may isolate the tooth with a rubber dam to prevent salivary contamination of the canal system and protect you from the irrigants used during the procedure. A temporary filling or crown is placed to protect the tooth between appointments.

After each appointment when anesthetic 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.

Between appointments, it is common for a small portion of your temporary filling to wear away or break off. You may even sense a bad taste in your mouth. If the entire filling falls out, or a temporary crown comes off, call us so it can be replaced.

It’s normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a root canal appointment, especially when chewing. To control discomfort, take pain medication as recommended. To further reduce pain and swelling, rinse three times a day with warm salt water.

If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them as prescribed, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone. Since the tooth is very fragile following treatment, avoid eating sticky and hard foods. Avoid chewing on that side until the permanent crown is placed. The permanent crown will protect the tooth from breaking in the future.


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