Taking the right actions after you’ve undergone a procedure is extremely important to having a speedy recovery and making sure your dental work enjoys long-term success. The best thing to do is follow your dentist’s advice to the letter, and don’t try to eat/chew anything until any local anesthetic has worn off. To learn more about what you should do after a specific procedure, simply consult the short guide below. If you have any questions or are dealing with acute pain, feel free to reach out to our office right away.
Crown & Bridge, Crowns, Inlays, or Onlays
Crowns and bridges usually take at least two to four appointments to complete. More extensive bridgework can take 4 or more appointments. In the first visit, the teeth are prepared and molds of the teeth are taken. Temporary crowns or bridges are placed to protect the teeth while the custom restoration is being made. Since the teeth will be anesthetized, the 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.
Occasionally a temporary crown or bridge may come off. Call us if this happens and bring the temporary crown with you so we can re-cement it. It is very important for the temporary to stay in place, as it will prevent other teeth from moving and compromising the fit of your final custom restoration.
To keep your temporaries in place, avoid eating sticky foods and candies, hard foods or ice, or chewing gum. It is important to brush normally, but floss carefully and don’t pull up on the floss which may dislodge the temporary. Instead, pull the floss out from the side of the temporary crown. A floss threader will be required for bridges.
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 be used if needed. In rare cases, the nerve of restored teeth can become irreversibly affected by the extent of the work performed. Should you experience lingering, persistent discomfort, or pain that wakes you up at night, please contact our office so that we may properly assess and treat this problem.
If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other concerns, please contact the office.
Fillings and Restorations
When an anesthetic has been used, your lips and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. It is very easy to bite or burn your tongue or lip while you are numb.
It is normal to experience some hot, cold, or pressure sensitivity after your appointment. Injection sites may also be sore. Ibuprofen (Motrin), Tylenol or aspirin work well to alleviate the tenderness.
You may chew with your white restorations (fillings) as soon as the anesthetic completely wears off. They are completely hardened when you leave the office. Silver-amalgam restorations (fillings) require some time to get hard. Do not eat for 1 hour after a silver-amalgam filling and avoid hard food for 24 hours.
If your bite feels high, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other concerns, please contact the office
After denture placement eating will take a little practice, especially if you are new to wearing dentures. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp edged bones or shells.
Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will help. If your dentures “click” while you are talking, try speaking slower. You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough, or smile. Reposition the dentures by gently biting down and swallowing.
During the first few days, you may be advised to wear your new dentures most of the time, including while you sleep. After the initial adjustment period, you should remove the dentures before going to bed. This allows the gum tissue to rest and promotes oral health.
A denture adhesive can be used; however, most dentures do not require an adhesive. If the denture is loose it may cause an irritation and possible sores. If the denture is loose and old, it may be time to have it relined.
Dentures are very delicate and may break if dropped. Stand over a folded towel or a basin of water when handling dentures. When you are not wearing them, store your dentures away from children and pets. Dentures must be brushed daily to remove food deposits and plaque. Brushing helps prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and helps keep your mouth healthy. There are brushed designed to clean dentures; however, a soft-bristled toothbrush can also be used. Avoid hard bristles. A hand soap, mild dishwashing detergent, or a denture cleanser can be used to clean your denture. Never place a denture in the dishwasher or in very hot water as the denture may warp. Dentures may lose their shape if they are allowed to dry out. When they are not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Don’t forget to take good care of your mouth too. Every morning brush your gums, tongue, and palate with a soft-bristled brush before you put on your dentures. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation on the mouth. Finally, regular dental check-ups are important. You should continue your care by being seen once a year by the dentist. The dentist will examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit properly. The dentist also examines your mouth for signs of oral diseases, including cancer.
A few days after the extraction of a tooth, the wound usually heals to the point where you can function normally. In the meantime, you should follow a few simple rules to help promote healing, prevent complications, and make yourself more comfortable.
The gauze pack on the extraction site is to limit bleeding and confine the blood while clotting takes place. This gauze pack should be left in place for 30 to 45 minutes. Do not chew on the pack.
If bleeding or oozing continues after the pack is removed, fold a piece of clean gauze into a pad thick enough to bite on. Dampen the pad and place it directly on the extraction site. Maintain pressure for 30 minutes and repeat if necessary.
Do not suck on the extraction site (remember that a lot of saliva and a little blood may look like a lot of bleeding). You may gently spit out saliva once in a while.
Do not smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously, or drink through a straw for 24 hours. These activities create suction in the mouth, which could dislodge the clot and delay healing.
Limit strenuous activity for 24 hours after the extraction. This will reduce bleeding and help the blood clot to form.
Swelling and Pain
After a tooth is removed, you may have some discomfort and notice some swelling. You can help reduce swelling and pain by applying cold compresses to the face. For several hours after the extraction, you can use an ice bag or cold, moist cloth.
Medication may be prescribed to control pain and prevent infection. Use it only as directed. If the medication prescribed does not seem to work for you, do not increase the dosage.
The day of the extraction, drink lots of liquids and eat soft, nutritious foods. Avoid alcoholic beverages and hot liquids. Begin eating solid foods the next day or as soon as you can chew comfortably. For about two days, try to chew food on the side opposite the extraction site.
Rinsing & Oral Hygiene
The day after the extraction, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (half a teaspoon of salt in one glass of warm water). Rinsing after meals is important to keep food particles out of the extraction site.
Brush and floss the teeth and tongue at least twice a day. This will eliminate the bad breath and unpleasant taste that is common after an extraction. Always use a soft bristled brush.
If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, call the office immediately.
Major Cosmetic Treatment
When your bite is altered, or the position of the teeth changed it takes several days for your mouth to recognize the new position or thickness of your teeth as normal. If you detect any high spots or problems with your bite, please call our office so we can determine if an adjustment appointment is necessary.
It is normal to experience some hot and cold sensitivity. The teeth require time to heal after removal of tooth structure and may be sensitive for a short while. Your gums may also be tender. Warm salt water rinses (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) three times a day will reduce pain and swelling. A mild pain medication, such as one tablet of Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin) every 4 hours should ease any discomfort.
Your speech may also be affected for the first few days, but you should quickly adapt and be speaking normally. You may notice increased salivation. This is because your mouth is responding to the new size and shape of your teeth. This should subside in about a week.
Daily brushing and flossing are a must for your new dental work. Daily plaque removal is critical for the long-term success of your new teeth, as are regular hygiene care appointments.
Any food that can crack, chip or damage a natural tooth can do the same to your new teeth. Avoid hard foods and substances (such as nuts, peanut brittle, ice, fingernails, or pencils) and sticky candies. Smoking will stain your new teeth. Minimize or avoid foods that stain such as coffee, red wine, tea, and berries.
If you engage in sports let us know so we can make a custom mouthguard. If you grind your teeth at night and have been fitted for a custom appliance to prevent wear, please use it regularly, and bring the appliance to your appointments for adjustment and evaluation. Adjusting to the look and feel of your new smile will take time. If you have any problems or concerns, please let us know.