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Post-Operative Instructions

Post-Operative Instructions

Post-operative instructions for all patients

Following any oral surgery, the dentist will give patients a list of post-operative instructions. The instructions are intended to promote proper healing and avoid complications.

Patients should wait a minimum of two hours before eating after surgery to avoid possible nausea that could be caused by the anesthesia. Eating before the anesthesia wears off could also result in soft tissue damage in the mouth because patients are unable to feel some parts of the mouth.

The following are intended to help patients in their recovery. The dentist or dental assistant will give you full instructions following your procedure.

01. Root Canals
Expect soreness in the jaw and mouth for a minimum of 2 to 3 days. Try to avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the procedure was performed. This will keep the wound from becoming 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 possible infection. If a patient experiences increased pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication, or the loss of the temporary filling, call your dentist immediately.
02. Crowns and Bridges
Prior to the finished crown/bridge being placed, your dentist will create a temporary restoration. Patients should be careful when brushing or eating because the temporary crown or bridge will not be as sturdy as the permanent one. Brush the area gently. When flossing, try not to pull up on the temporary restoration because it could dislodged it. When eating, avoid sticky or chewy foods. Some sensitivity and irritation may be present following the placement of the temporary or permanent appliance. This is normal and will subside as the tissue heals. A warm salt water rinse will help, and you can take Advil or Tylenol to help with pain. When 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 but it should begin to feel like a natural tooth in less than a week. Inform the dentist if your bite is abnormal or the crown is rubbing against another tooth. Caring for your bridge or crown is just like caring for your own teeth. Brush and floss regularly and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash.
03. White Fillings (Bonding)
As anesthesia wears off, the affected teeth will be sensitive. Avoid hot and cold food or drink for several hours. After a short time, the treated teeth will slowly start to feel normal. Continue a normal hygiene plan to ensure the fillings last.
04. Scaling and Root Planing
Following the procedure, gums are likely to be sore and irritated for several days. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1 tsp salt/8 oz water) 2 or 3 times a day. This will cleanse the area and relieve some pain. Brushing and flossing should be continued immediately, but brush gently to avoid irritating the area. If the area swells or is stiff, apply a cold compress to the area and take a pain reliever. Avoid hard or chewy foods for 2 to 3 days. If you experience pain or swelling for several days, check in with your dentist.
05. Veneers
A temporary veneer will be placed in the mouth while the permanent veneer is fabricated. As mentioned earlier, the temporary will not be as sturdy as the permanent veneer, so caution is recommended when cleaning and eating. Brush gently, and when flossing, do not pull up on the tooth. Pulling on the tooth could dislodge the veneer. The same goes for eating. Avoid sticky or chewy foods while wearing the temporary. Some sensitivity and irritation may be experienced after the temporary or permanent is placed. This will go away as the tissue heals. Rinse with warm salt water and take Advil or Tylenol for pain. For a few days after the permanent veneer is placed, it may feel a little awkward. 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 the dentist know. A slight adjustment may be necessary. When brushing and flossing, pay close attention to the area between the veneer and the tooth at the gum line.
06. Extractions
Getting enough rest following surgery is highly recommended, since extractions usually require anesthesia. You will need to be driven home by a friend or family member. You can expect the extraction site to bleed. Gauze can be applied to the wound, but it will need to changed when it becomes saturated with blood and saliva. Call the dentist if the bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours. Do not lie flat while resting because it can prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. If the site is painful, any medication prescribed by the dentist should be taken. An ice pack can be applied if the pain persists. If the dentist gives you a cleaning solution, be sure to cleanse the wound with it to prevent infection. 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. When drinking, try not to use a straw. The suction could loosen the sutures and disrupt 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 the dentist immediately.