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.
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 another 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, 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 mouthrinses.
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 our dental office at (604)-590-9310 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
It is not advised to eat on your new filling for one hour or when there is still a feeling of numbness. Children who had fillings done must not bite on their numb lips or tongue as this can cause serious injury. In case of silver amalgam fillings, do not bite hard or chew for 24 hours.
It is normal to experience cold and heat sensitivity along with gum soreness for the first few days. When you experience pain or discomfort for more than a few days after the fillings, feel free to contact our office.
Crowns and Bridges
Refrain from eating for at least 2 hours and/or until the anesthesia has worn off.
Temporary – A temporary is a crown or bridge that is placed on the prepared teeth while the final restoration is being made. The temporary serves a very important purpose. It protects the exposed dentin so it is not overly sensitive, prevents food and bacteria from collecting on the prepared teeth, and prevents the tooth from shifting or moving, which can make seating of the final restoration more difficult.
The temporary is placed with lightweight cement that is designed to come off easily. Avoid chewing sticky foods such as gum, caramels, etc.
Use your toothbrush to clean the temporary as you normally do your natural teeth. However, when flossing, it is best to pull the floss through the contact rather than lift up on the temporary so you don’t accidentally loosen it. If your temporary comes off between appointments, slip it back on and call our office so that we can re-cement it for you. A little denture adhesive placed inside the crown can help to hold it in place in the interim.
Sensitivity – Sensitivity, especially to cold, is common briefly following treatment. For the first few days, avoid extremely hot or cold foods and beverages. It is normal to have discomfort in the gums around the tooth after the anesthesia wears off.
If your gums are tender, rinse with warm salt water, dissolving 1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. glass of warm water. An analgesic such as Tylenol or Advil will help to decrease your discomfort.
Final Crown or Bridge – After the final cementation of your restoration, it may take a few days for you to get used to the new crown or bridge. If your bite feels unbalanced, please be sure to call our office for an appointment for a simple adjustment.
Home Care – Although crowns and bridges are often the most durable of all restorations, the underlying tooth is still vulnerable to decay, especially at the interface between the tooth and crown. It is important to resume regular brushing and flossing immediately. Daily home care and regulating your intake of sugar-containing foods will increase the longevity of your new restorations.
Root Canal Treatment
- Though some of the root canal procedures we perform are completed in 1 appointment, root canal therapy may take more than 1 appointment to complete.
- Since anesthetic has been used, parts of your mouth may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has worn off.
- Between appointments, a temporary filling is placed to protect the tooth. It is common (and not a problem) for a small portion of your temporary filling to wear away or break off. If the entire filling falls out, please call our office and set up a time to come in and have it replaced.
- It is normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a root canal procedure. To control discomfort, take any pain medication prescribed by the dentist as recommended. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them as directed, even if all signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Taking ibuprofen before the numbness wears off can greatly reduce post-operative pain.
- To protect the tooth and keep the temporary filling in place, avoid eating hard or sticky food (such as gum), and try to chew on the other side of your mouth. Continue to brush and floss normally. Usually, the last step in a root canal is the placement of a crown or permanent filling in the tooth. A crown will protect the tooth from breaking in the future.
- If you have signs of swelling or increasing pain, or if you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our office.
Teeth Cleaning (Deep Cleaning):
You may experience some cold and heat sensitivity. This is especially true after a deep cleaning procedure. Continue your regular brushing and flossing. Some bleeding for a day or two is normal. Call us when it bleeds too much or when you have any concern.
You may experience some pressure and discomfort on your teeth. Be gentle with your braces and avoid chewing hard or sticky food. It may be hard to brush and floss, but these are important to keep your mouth clean. You may apply some wax if any part of braces feel sharp. Call us should you have any question or concern about your braces.
Any new denture may bring some discomfort for a few days. All new dentures need several adjustments to fit completely and comfortably to your mouth. Speech is also affected during the first few days. A good practice to condition your mouth is by reading a book or newspaper aloud for several minutes a day. Your tongue and other muscles will get used to your dentures as you do this every day. Take your dentures out every night and keep them in a clean container filled with water or denture cleaning solution. Clean your dentures using a brush and water before wearing them back. Bone Graft Surgery
Whether you were put to sleep for your surgery procedure or were only given anaesthesia, the post-operative instructions remain the same. You will have several sutures (stitches) at the surgical site. These sutures may or may not be resorbable. If you received external silk sutures, we have to remove them as they will cause pulling on your tissue over the area. The bone graft site will have about 15 % more bone fill than what was naturally there. Do not pull up your lips or cheeks to check the area. The undue pressure will cause the sutures to widen away from the surgical site, expose bone, create more pain, and delay healing dramatically.
Brush in every area except where the periodontal pack is placed. Use no astringents like mouth wash or antiseptic solutions during the healing period. They can contaminate the bone grafting site, which may require replacement. We will provide you with normal saline and instruct you on how to use it after the first healing stage.
You should not eat anything that is too hard, too hot, or too sticky. Your food should be tepid or on the cool side. Smoking after any oral surgical procedure will delay or disrupt normal healing. It must be stopped for the first 7 to 10 days. Note that bone grafting has inherent risks associated with it. Some of these risks are also pertinent to your post-operative care. If you have questions about anything post-surgically, call the office and we will inform you of the proper action to take.