Post Operative Information
It is important to follow instructions after you have oral surgery to ensure proper healing and to avoid complications. As a rule of thumb, you should always wait two hours after surgery before eating to let the anesthesia wear off. Trying to eat before this could result in soft tissue damage because you are not able to feel all of your mouth. The instructions found below are guidelines. After your surgery the doctor or dental assistant will give you full instructions on how to properly recover from surgery.
Root Canal Therapy
You can expect soreness after a root canal procedure for a few days. You should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed so you do not irritate the area and also to ensure that the temporary restorative material properly sets. You will also need to take an antibiotic to treat any remaining infection in your tooth. If you notice an increasing amount of pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication, or the loss of the temporary restoration (filling) call your dentist immediately.
Crowns and Bridges
Before you receive your permanent crown/bridge you will first receive a temporary restoration unless CEREC technology is utilized. A temporary is not as sturdy as the permanent version, so you should be careful when cleaning and eating. You should brush the area gently and should not pull up on the tooth when flossing because it could become dislodged. The same goes for eating. You should avoid sticky or chewy foods while you have the temporary in.
There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will subside after the soft tissue heals. A warm salt water rinse will help, and, if able, you can also take Advil or Tylenol if the pain does not go away.
When the permanent crown or bridge is placed it may feel a little awkward for a few days. Your mouth needs to adjust to the new tooth, and it should feel like one of your natural tooth in less than a week. If your bite feels abnormal in any way, you should let your dentist know. Caring for your bridge or crown is just like caring for your own teeth. You should brush and floss regularly.
White Fillings (Bonding)
After the anesthesia wears off, your teeth will likely be sensitive. You should avoid hot and cold food or drink for the next few days. After that initial period, your treated teeth should feel as good as new. Continue your normal hygiene plan to ensure that your fillings last for a long time.
Scaling and Root Planing
After this procedure your gums will probably be slightly sore and irritated for a few days. You should rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1 tsp salt/8 oz water) 2-3 times a day. This will relieve the pain and cleanse the area. Brushing and flossing should be continued right after the procedure, but you should brush gently so that you do not further irritate the area (unless directed otherwise by your hygienist.) If you experience any swelling or stiffness in the area you can place a cold compress on the area and take some pain relieving medicine. Avoid any hard or chewy foods for 2-3 days after the surgery to ensure the area heals correctly. If you continue to experience pain or swelling after a few days contact your dentist.
Before you receive your permanent veneer you will first receive a temporary restoration unless CEREC technology is utilized. A temporary is not as sturdy as the permanent version, so you should be careful when cleaning and eating. You should brush the area gently and should not pull up on the tooth when flossing because it could become dislodged. The same goes for eating. You should avoid sticky or chewy foods while you have the temporary in.
There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will subside after the soft tissue heals. A warm salt water rinse will help, and you can also take Advil or Tylenol if the pain does not go away.
When the veneer is placed it may feel a little awkward for a few days. Your mouth needs to adjust to the new tooth, and it should feel like one of your natural tooth in less than a week. If your bite feels abnormal in any way, you should let your dentist know. When brushing and flossing you should pay close attention to the area between the veneer and the tooth at the gum line.
After the surgery you will need to rest. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call your dentist. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Your dentist may prescribe you pain medication, so if you become sore take as directed. You can also use an ice pack for the pain. Your dentist might also provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site.
You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Ice Cream
- Thin Soups
- …and other food you can eat without chewing.
When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you feel you need to spit, do not use a powerful spitting motion. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly call your dentist for a follow up.
DO NOT RINSE FOR 36 HOURS
A frequent cause of bleeding following surgery is any activity that might disturb the area, such as rinsing, spitting, sucking on a straw or cigarette, or trying to eat solid food. After 36 hours we recommend rinsing several times a day, especially after meals, with warm salt-water or diluted mouthwash.
Expect a slight amount of bleeding the first day following surgery. Pressure is the most effective way to control bleeding. We recommend folding a gauze pad, placing it over the area and biting on it for at least one hour and checking at hourly intervals as necessary. Do not leave gauze in your mouth while eating, drinking, or sleeping. UNINTERRUPTED pressure is the most effective.
Most often there will be some swelling the first three or four days. If it is not better by then, please call and make an appointment to have it checked. An ice pack can be helpful for the first 24-48 hours following surgery (30 min on, 30 min off). After the first 48 hours, heat may make it feel better.
For mild pain use any Ibuprofen (600mg-adults and adolescent) or Acetaminophen. You may alternate Ibuprofen with 1000mg of Acetaminophen, so you are taking something for pain every 3 hours. (For example: Take 600mg Ibuprofen, 3 hours later 1000mg Acetaminophen, 3 hours later 600 mg Ibuprofen; ect. Continuing alternating for four to five days). For more severe pain we may prescribe something stronger. Prescription drugs are very effective, but some people experience nausea or drowsiness with them. Do not work, drive, or go to school if you are taking narcotics. Be sure not to take them on an empty stomach. It takes 40-60 minutes for them to take full effect.
A soft diet is advisable for the first few days. You will not be able to open very wide for up to a week, so a soft diet may be necessary for that long. Avoid hard, crunchy food for one week.
Occasionally, a small bone fragment will work its way out during healing, even weeks or months following surgery. Usually they come out without requiring any treatment, but if in doubt, have us check it.
Several studies have shown it is not beneficial to routinely prescribe antibiotics following surgery, so we no longer do this. However, if your temperature is above normal following surgery and you are having persistent problems, please let us know so that we can evaluate your condition.
A dry socket is not a bone infection, but is the loss of a blood clot. Most often the symptom is more severe pain 3-4 days following surgery, when you would expect it to be getting better. We have a very effective liquid medication that we place directly on the affected area. Please call if you feel you need this. However, to help prevent a dry socket: DO NOT RINSE, SPIT, SMOKE, EXERCISE, OR USE A STRAW FOR 36 HOURS AFTER SURGERY
Maintaining good oral hygiene is especially important, resume normal brushing/flossing routine night after extraction but avoid area around surgical site. Avoid playing with the surgical site with your tongue. The day after your surgery, we encourage warm salt-water rinses to keep the surgical sites clean and promote healing (Mix 1 tsp of salt with 1 cup of warm water until salt is dissolved, do GENTLE rinses 3-5 times per day for one week after surgery, avoid any other mouthwash during this time).