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Post-Operative Instructions - Columbia Dental Care & Associates

Speed your healing with better self-care following your procedure

To properly heal and avoid complications following oral surgery, patients should follow the instructions given to them by their dentist. Wait a minimum of two hours before eating after surgery to avoid possible nausea caused by the anesthesia. Attempting to eat before the anesthesia wears off could result in soft tissue damage in the mouth because patients are unable to feel all of the mouth.

The following instructions are guidelines only. The dentist or dental assistant will give you full instructions on how to properly recover following surgery.

ROOT CANALS
Soreness in the mouth and jaw should be expected for 2 to 3 days. Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the procedure was performed so the area does not become irritated. Not chewing in the area of the surgery will ensure that the temporary restorative material sets properly. An antibiotic may be prescribed to treat any remaining infection. Call immediately if you notice an increasing amount of pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication or the loss of the temporary filling.

CROWNS AND BRIDGES
Before the finished crown/bridge is placed, a temporary restoration will be provided. Be careful when cleaning or eating because the temporary crown or bridge will not be as sturdy as the permanent one. Brush the area gently and try not to pull up on the tooth when flossing because it could become dislodged. When eating, avoid sticky or chewy foods while using the temporary.

You might experience some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will subside after the soft tissue heals. Rinsing with warm salt water will help, and you can take Advil or Tylenol to help with any pain.

Once the permanent crown or bridge is installed, it may feel awkward for a few days. Your mouth will need to adjust to the new appliance. It should feel like a natural tooth in less than a week. Inform the dentist if your bite feels abnormal in any way. Caring for your bridge or crown is just like caring for your own teeth. Brush and floss regularly and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash.

WHITE FILLINGS (Bonding)
Your teeth will be sensitive after the anesthesia wears off. Avoid hot and cold food or drink for several hours. After that initial period, the treated teeth will feel like normal. Continue your normal hygiene plan to ensure the fillings last for a long time.

SCALING AND ROOT PLANING
Your gums are likely to be sore and irritated for a few days after the procedure. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1 tsp salt/8 oz water) 2 or 3 times a day. This will help relieve the pain and cleanse the area. Brushing and flossing should be continued immediately, but brush gently so the area does not become more irritated. If you experience swelling or stiffness, put a cold compress on the area and take a pain reliever. Avoid hard or chewy foods for 2 to 3 days so the area can heal. Contact your dentist if you are experiencing pain or the swelling continues for a few days.

VENEERS
Before the permanent veneer is prepared, a temporary will be provided to the patient. As mentioned previously, the temporary will not be as sturdy as the permanent one, so be careful when cleaning and eating. Brush the area gently and when flossing, do not pull up on the tooth because it could become dislodged. The same goes for eating. Avoid sticky or chewy foods while wearing the temporary.

There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will go away as the tissue heals. Rinse with warm salt water and take Advil or Tylenol for pain.

When the veneer is placed, it may feel a little awkward for a few days. Your mouth needs to adjust to the restoration, and it should feel like one of your natural teeth in less than a week. If your bite feels abnormal, let your dentist know. When brushing and flossing, pay close attention to the area between the veneer and the tooth at the gum line.

EXTRACTIONS
Because anesthesia is usually required, getting enough rest following the surgery is recommended. You will need to be driven home by a friend or family member. You can expect the extraction site to bleed after the surgery. Gauze will be applied to the wound, but it will need to changed when it becomes saturated. Call the dentist if bleeding continues for longer than a day. Do not lie flat while resting because it can prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Your dentist will prescribe pain medication and it should be taken if the site is painful. An ice pack can be applied if the pain persists. If your dentist gives you a solution to clean the wound, be sure to use it.

You will only be able to eat soft foods for a few days. Here are some recommendations: gelatin, pudding, yogurt, mashed potatoes, ice cream, thin soups and any other foods you can eat without chewing.

Don’t use a straw when drinking. The suction could loosen the sutures and slow the clotting. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly, call your dentist immediately.