Post Op Instructions
After a dental procedure, patients are usually sent home with a set of instructions to follow. This means you may need to make some changes to your habits (such as diet and brushing), medications, and follow-up appointments for dental care. These instructions may vary depending on the procedure performed but may include eating a soft diet, keeping the mouth clean, and taking prescribed pain medication as needed.
Why Is It Important To Follow Post-op Instructions After A Dental Procedure?
Following these post-op instructions are important to ensure a speedy and healthy recovery. In fact, patients need to follow them to prevent certain issues from occurring.
One of the common issues patients face is dry sockets. A dry socket occurs when a blood clot fails to form in the empty tooth socket. Without that protective layer, the bone and nerves are exposed to food, air, and saliva, causing pain.
Another common issue is infection. Infections after dental work can vary from mild to severe. Bacteria can enter the body through a cut in the mouth, causing an infection. In severe cases, patients may suffer from life-threatening issues. Following post-op instructions can prevent these issues.
How Can I Reduce My Risk of Infection?
Taking good care of your teeth after dentistry treatments can dramatically lower your risk of infection. A bacterial infection is painful and can lead to tooth loss. While most cases of post-op infections are mild, it's important to monitor your teeth and gums closely and call your dentist right away if you suspect an infection.
Extractions and Oral Surgery
Extractions and oral surgery are procedures that are designed to remove a tooth from its socket in the jawbone. Extractions are often used to remove teeth that are damaged beyond repair and cannot be fixed with root canal therapy. Extractions may also be necessary to prevent infection or if they are causing overcrowding in the mouth. Oral surgery may consist of a tooth extraction, or it may be performed to address problems with the gums, jaw, and other tissues.
Post-Operative Instructions for Extractions and Oral Surgery
Day 1: Continue to bite on the gauze for 30-60 minutes after your procedure. Do not spit, suck (using a straw), smoke, or drink carbonated or alcoholic beverages for at least 72 hours. Passively empty your mouth when needed.
The goal is to keep blood clots in the socket to prevent bleeding and dry socket.
Day 2:After the tooth extraction, you may experience one or more of the symptoms like minor pain, swelling, bruising, difficulty in opening or closing your mouth, pain in the jaw or ear, and sore throat. When you experience these difficulties, listen to your body and take rest as possible you can. We recommend not to do any heavy lifting, spitting, sucking, alcohol usage, or smoking. Besides, follow the below-given instructions:
- Oral hygiene: Brush your teeth gently. Use a gentle lukewarm salt water rinse to freshen your mouth. But take care not to spit; just let the fluid passively empty. Moisturize the corners of your mouth to prevent it from becoming cracked and dry.
- Discomfort:Take an over-the-counter- pain medication (Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Tylenol) as directed on the bottle to relieve pain and discomfort.
- Swelling:Apply cold compresses to affected areas at 10-minute intervals on the first day to minimize swelling. Any swelling that occurs typically starts to diminish within 72 hours; call the office if there is no change.
- Bleeding:You may experience some oozing of blood for the first 12-24 hours. While sleeping, put a towel on your pillow as you may experience some drooling when you are numb. If excessive bleeding occurs, apply firm pressure with 1-2 folded gauze pads or a damp tea bag on the affected area for 30-60 minutes. Also, keep your head elevated to prevent bleeding and call the dental office if the bleeding does not subside.
- Diet:Drink plenty of water. However, it is important to avoid carbonated and alcoholic beverages. Consume a soft die: yogurt, milkshakes (no straw), soups, fish, and pasta. Nothing too spicy is recommended. You may also experience a little tenderness while chewing and difficulty opening your mouth wide, but this will subside soon.
- Stitches: If you have sutures, avoid touching them with your hand or tongue. A fifteen-minute appointment will be needed to remove the sutures in 7-10 days.
- Prescriptions:If you have been prescribed antibiotics, pain medication, or a mouth rinse, take them as directed. In case of any unusual disturbances, questions, or post-surgical problems, please call the office at 317-991-4725. If it is after hours and an emergency, please go to an emergency room.
After a Root Canal
Root canal therapy may need 1-2 appointments. After each appointment, when an anesthetic has been used, you may feel numbness in your lips, teeth, and tongue for several hours. Do not chew on the side of the treated tooth until the numbness has completely disappeared.
A temporary filling or crown is placed by your dentist to protect the tooth between appointments.
Between appointments, it's common for a tiny portion of your temporary filling or crown to wear away or chip off. If the entire filling falls out, or if a temporary crown comes off, please call our office to replace it.
Post Op Instructions: After a Root Canal
To protect the tooth and help keep your temporary restoration in place:
- Do not chew sticky foods (especially gum).
- Do not bite hard foods and hard objects, like ice, fingernails, and pencils.
- If possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.
It's normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a root canal therapy appointment, especially when chewing. It is also common for a tooth to feel uncomfortable or have a dull ache soon after receiving root canal therapy. This may take a few days (or even weeks) to subside. Even if you do not have any discomfort prior to treatment, it is natural that you may experience some discomfort for a few days after. The tenderness is normal and is not a cause of concern.
To control pain, take pain medication as recommended by your dentist. If your dentist has prescribed any antibiotics, take them for the indicated length of time, even if your pain or infection is gone.
If you were not prescribed pain medication by us but are experiencing pain after your appointment, we recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication. We recommend ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin) or naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox). If you experience severe pain or discomfort that cannot be controlled with pain medications or you develop severe swelling, please call our office.
Rinsing your mouth at least thrice a day with warm salt water will also help o further reduce pain and swelling. You can dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, then rinse, swish, and spit. Also, continue to brush and floss normally.
Usually, the last step after root canal treatment is the placement of a crown on the tooth. A crown covers and protects the tooth from breaking in the future. Unless otherwise noted by the dentist, it is critical to have a crown placed on your root canal therapy-treated tooth as soon as possible. Delay in obtaining final restoration (crown) may result in fracture and/or possible loss of the tooth.
If your bite feels uneven, you have persistent pain, or you have any other questions or concerns, please call our dental office at 317-991-4725.
Composite (White) fillings
Composite fillings, also known as tooth-colored fillings, are an alternative to amalgam fillings. They are made from a resin material that bonds with the natural tooth structure, which strengthens it. Composite fillings can be color-matched to the natural shade of your tooth, making them nearly invisible.
Post-op Instructions for Composite (White) fillings
Your new composite fillings are fully hardened before you even leave the office; however, it is advised to chew on the opposite side of the newly placed filling(s). You may feel sore gums for a few days. To prevent this, rinse your mouth thrice a day with warm salt water. This will help to reduce pain and swelling. One of the most common problems following filling placement with anesthesia is an incorrect bite.
Besides, after the placement of composite fillings, you may also experience some hot, cold, and biting sensitivity for 3-4 days after your appointment. It should decrease each day after this period. If your sensitivity does not subside, please contact our office. When anesthesia has been used, your lips, teeth, and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off. It is easy to bite or burn your tongue or lip while numb.
It is also important to take some ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil, 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours as needed) before the anesthetic completely wears off. This will help to subside any swelling or pain at the injection sites where the anesthetic was administered. If your bite feels uneven or if you have persistent pain, please contact our office immediately, and we will give you help or advice at 317-991-4725.