Home Care Instructions
After Cosmetic Reconstruction
Remember that it will take time to adjust to the feel of your new bite. When the bite is altered or the position of the teeth is changed it takes several days for the brain to recognize the new position of your teeth or their thickness as normal. If you continue to detect any high spots or problems with your bite, call the location where you had your treatment so we can schedule an adjustment appointment.
It is normal to experience some hot and cold sensitivity. Teeth require some time to heal after removal of tooth structure and will be sensitive in the interim. Your gums may also be sore for a few days. 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 (one tablet of Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin) every 3-4 hours) should ease any residual discomfort.
Don’t be concerned if your speech is affected for the first few days. You’ll quickly adapt and be speaking normally. You may notice increased salivation. This is because your brain is responding to the new size and shape of your teeth. This should subside to normal 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 cleaning 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 beer 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 mouth-guard. If you grind your teeth at night, wear the night guard we have provided for you. Adjusting to the look and feel of your new smile will take time. If you have any problems or concerns, please let us know. We always welcome your questions.
After Crown and Bridge Appointments
Crowns and bridges usually take two or three appointments to complete. In 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 the custom restoration is being made. Since your teeth will be anesthetized, your tongue, lips and roof of your mouth may be numb. Please refrain from eating and drinking hot beverages until the numbness is completely worn off.
Occasionally a temporary crown may come off. Call us at our office 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 restoration.
To keep your temporaries in place, avoid eating sticky foods (gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew on the opposite side of your mouth. It is important to brush normally, but floss carefully and don’t pull up on the floss which may dislodge the temporary but pull the floss out from the side of the temporary crown.
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 as directed by our office.
If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call one of our office locations.
After Tooth Extraction
After a tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times.
After the blood clot forms, it is important not to disturb or dislodge the clot as it aids healing. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities will dislodge or dissolve the clot and retard the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After your tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.
Use the pain medication as directed. Call our office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluid and eat nutritious soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
After a few days you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, or a reaction to the medication, please call one of our office locations immediately.
After Composite Fillings (white fillings)
When an anesthetic has been used, your lips and tongue may be numb for several hours after your 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 & pressure sensitivity after your appointment. Injection sites may also be sore. Ibuprofen (Motrin), Tylenol or aspirin (one tablet every 3-4 hours as needed for pain) work well to alleviate the tenderness. If pressure sensitivity persists beyond a few days or if the sensitivity to hot or cold increases, please contact us.
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, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call one of our locations.
After Root Canal Therapy
DO NOT eat anything until the numbness wears off. DO NOT try to feel around your tooth with your tongue. You have a temporary filling in the tooth and it takes about half an hour to harden.
You need to have a permanent filling or a crown placed on your tooth within 1 MONTH of the root canal being completed. It is essential for you to follow up with your general dentist on this. If this is not done, the tooth is very likely to fracture or to develop new decay underneath the temporary filling which may cause your root canal to fail.
DO NOT use the tooth to bite down on anything hard (peanuts, pretzels, ice, etc.) until the permanent filling/crown has been placed on the tooth. Again, the tooth is prone to fracture and if you bite down on anything too hard or crunchy you may crack the tooth.
It is normal for the temporary filling to slightly “wash away” with use. It is very rare for it to fall out entirely. If the temporary falls out you should contact us, or your general dentist as soon as possible. If it happens when our office is closed, we recommend you purchase some temporary filling material from any pharmacy and place a dab in the tooth until you have an opportunity to see us at our office.
Some minor discomfort in the area is normal following the root canal. It is normal for the tooth to be uncomfortable for up to one week after today’s treatment. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, the tooth and surrounding tissues may remain sore for a few weeks post treatment.
WHAT DO I DO ABOUT THE PAIN? All of the above scenarios should be handled with over the counter medication. We recommend you take: 600 mg Ibuprofen (3 over the counter pills of Advil or Motrin or generic equivalent) every 6 hours for the next 2-3 days if pain is present. OR (if unable to take ibuprofen) 1000mg Acetaminophen (2 extra strength Tylenol or generic equivalent) every 6 hours for the next 2-3 days if pain is present. This is enough 90% of the time to handle the discomfort. Please contact our office if this does not relieve the pain.
If you are given any prescription medications related to this treatment please take them as instructed by your doctor.You may floss and brush your tooth as normal, unless told otherwise by the doctor.
PLEASE READ THIS LAST SECTION, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!!
Although about 95% of root canals cause very little to no discomfort after the treatment is completed, there are about 5% of cases which can cause significant pain. These are commonly referred to as “flare-ups.” They mostly occur on badly infected teeth, teeth that are extremely irritated, or teeth that have a history of prior treatment. Sometimes, however, they occur randomly, even on patients that have had several root canals done previously without any problems.
If you have a flare-up you may experience moderate to severe pain, swelling, bruising, throbbing, and general discomfort, which usually begins with 24 hours after treatment and may last 2 to 3 days.
Please contact our office if you experience any of these symptoms and we will do everything we possibly can to get you some relief. You may be prescribed antibiotics, stronger pain medication, or you may be asked to come to the office to receive further therapy. Should you experience any of these symptoms please call one of our office locations.