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Post-Op Instructions

Fillings

You can eat or drink right away, but it is normal to have tenderness for a few days. If symptoms do not seem to be improving after one week or if you experience extreme pain at any time, please call our office. In some cases, fillings may need a simple adjustment to continue to heal. In general, these will not heal on their own. Please call us if you are concerned.

New Filling Care:

Although you may experience tenderness initially, please brush and floss your teeth well as this will promote healing of both the tooth and the surrounding gum tissues.

To minimize discomfort during the first week, please be cautious with:

  • Extreme Temperatures (hot or cold)
  • Hard or Tough foods
  • Biting or Burning yourself (especially directly after your visit as you may still be numb)

As always, we are here for you, please call if you have any concerns.

Crowns

You can eat or drink right away, but it is normal to have tenderness for a few days. If symptoms do not seem to be improving after one week or if you experience extreme pain at any time, please call our office. In some cases, crowns (temporary or permanent) may need a simple adjustment to continue to heal.

Temporary Crown Care:

Although you may experience tenderness initially, please brush and floss your teeth well as this will promote healing of both the tooth and the surrounding gum tissues. Remember to floss through the contact, then pull the floss out the side with a finger holding pressure on the temporary crown to prevent dislodging it. The temporary crown is meant to come off, but ideally this will only happen when your dentist removes it to place the permanent crown.

To minimize discomfort and prevent the temporary crown from coming off or breaking, please be cautious with:

If your temporary crown comes off early:

  • Sticky foods (i.e. gum, caramels, bagels, etc.)
  • Extreme Temperatures (hot or cold)
  • Hard or Tough foods
  • Biting or Burning yourself (especially directly after your visit as you may still be numb)
  • Use a thin layer of Vaseline inside the crown and then push it back on the tooth (it will only go on fully one way)
  • OR call us and have us re-cement the temporary crown in our office.

Permanent Crown Care:

Congratulations on your new crown! You can eat and drink right away. You may experience mild tenderness for the first few days with a new crown. If it persists longer than a week without improving, please do not ignore this and call our office. It may need a slight adjustment to continue to heal.

As always, we are here for you, please call if you have any concerns.

Root Canal Debridement (also known as “open” or “start”)

The root canal treatment process has been initiated. Please remember that the root canal system is still not permanently sealed, and you will need to come in for an additional appointment to finish the root canal treatment in order to ensure a good long-term prognosis.

In the majority of cases with pain prior to starting a root canal, you should notice an improvement in your symptoms right away. However, it is still normal to have tenderness as your tooth heals. This should be managed with over-the-counter pain medication (i.e. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc.).

You can eat or drink right away. If symptoms do not seem to be improving after one week or if you experience extreme pain, swelling, or other signs of infection or allergic reaction at any time, please call our office.

You have a temporary filling in the access opening created for the root canal treatment. Do not be alarmed if some of this filling comes out early. You may notice a “medicine-like” taste due to the clove oil in the temporary.

As always, we are here for you, please call if you have any concerns.

Root Canal Treatment

The root canal treatment is finished. You can eat or drink right away. Please remember that you will need a permanent filling or a crown (as recommended by your dentist) to ensure a good long-term prognosis.

It is still normal to have mild tenderness during the first week as your tooth heals. You should be able to manage this with over-the-counter pain medication (i.e. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc.). If symptoms do not seem to be improving after one week or if you experience extreme or lingering pain, swelling, or other signs of infection or allergic reaction at any time, please call our office.

Invisalign

Congratulations on starting your journey with Invisalign. Our goal is to give you not only a better-looking smile, but also a better functioning and easier to clean mouth. Invisalign treatment is only successful if you are compliant, meaning the aligners need to be worn as directed by your dentist.

It is normal to have tenderness for the first 3 or 4 days of each new aligner. This is the period of time when the teeth are actively moving. The remaining days wearing each aligner are equally important. This is the retention and stabilizing phase which will ensure the bone is re-built from where the teeth originally moved. If you do not wear the aligners as directed, the teeth will not move as designed, will be less stable, and can become loose.

Standard Directions for use:

  • Wear the aligners at least 20 hours/day. Only remove them to eat, drink (anything other than water), brush, floss and clean your teeth.
  • Ensure your teeth are clean after snacks and meals so the aligners will be fully inserted and engaged (Yes, this means cleaning your teeth after snacks and meals). In some cases, chewing sugar-free gum and rinsing thoroughly with water will suffice prior to re-insertion.
  • Be sure that the aligners are fully seated by inserting the aligners and then biting on a Q-tip as you walk it around to each tooth. It may feel like you can push them hard enough into place, but it is especially important that they are fully inserted around attachments (AKA nubs, buttons, etc.) so that precise movements can be achieved and retained.

Cleaning your aligners:

  • Please clean the aligners every night before bed with a toothbrush and water. Do not use toothpaste as this can be too gritty and can actually cause the aligners to stain more rapidly. Our recommendation is to have a dedicated toothbrush for your aligners.
  • Your aligners can and will stain with foods and beverages other than water. Common culprits of rapid staining are coffee, red-wine, carbonated beverages, soup, curry, etc. Our best advice is to only keep them in when drinking water and take them out for everything else.
  • At least once a week or when staining is noticeable, you can clean your aligners with a retainer cleaner. There are many clear aligner or retainer cleaners on the market. They act like an Alka-Seltzer tablet that dissolves in water. Place your aligners/retainers in this solution for 10-20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with water and brush them before re-inserting them.

As always, we are here for you, please call if you have any concerns.

Dental Extraction (Tooth Removal)

Care after a tooth extraction:

The most important time for healing and preventing unnecessary pain is right after your tooth is removed. Please follow these instructions to ensure the least possible amount of post-operative pain and least risk of complications.

  • Bleeding and Clot Formation: Bite on gauze with constant and consistent pressure for 30 minutes. If your extraction site continues to actively bleed after this, please use the additional gauze provided and repeat this process. Be sure to slightly wet the gauze so that it does not stick to the clot, fold it so that it fits directly over the site, and apply biting pressure. If you have to talk during this time, please make sure you talk through your teeth in order to maintain the pressure over the area and achieve good clot formation. You may notice a little “pink in the sink” when you brush and floss tonight or even tomorrow. Do not be alarmed. However, if you notice dark red, active bleeding that is continuing to pool in the mouth after 2 rounds of gauze, please let us know. Another at home remedy is doing a 3rd round of pressure by wetting and biting on a teabag (green or black tea) as you would bite on gauze to achieve clot formation.

Clot formation over the extraction site is very important. It will help your body naturally heal and prevent pain. If this clot is damaged or does not form ideally, you are at an increased risk for delayed healing or a post-operative condition called a dry socket. This is very painful and usually presents as extreme pain that does not seem to be improving after 3 days. We have medication we can place in this area to help it heal and decrease pain.

  • Elevate and Ice: Keep your head elevated for the first day. You can apply ice to the outside of the face corresponding to where the tooth was removed. This is not absolutely necessary but can help in some cases to keep swelling down and also help with clot formation. If you plan to lie down, please use additional pillows, alternatively, you can lie back in a recliner. Also, it is a good idea to place towels over any furniture or clothing to prevent staining if any saliva or blood drools out of your mouth. Using an additional pillow for sleeping the first night is advised.
  • Eating, Drinking, and Restrictions: You can eat or drink an hour after your procedure. This is when you should start drinking plenty of water. You can also take pain medication (see pain management below) at this time. Softer foods like eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. that are high in protein are great for healing.

Restrictions:

  • Do not smoke, suck through a straw, or spit or rinse excessively for the first 48 hours. These things can damage, dry out, or remove the clot that is forming. All of these things increase the risk for a dry socket.
  • Avoid hard foods like chips or crackers that could damage or get lodged in the extraction site.
  • Avoid hot foods or drinks like soup or hot tea the first day. Hot temperature foods or drinks can incite active bleeding again.
  • Pain Management: To minimize pain after your tooth is removed, we recommend that you take over-the-counter pain medication (Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Naproxen, etc.). A good rule of thumb is to take whatever you would take for a headache before the anesthetic wears off. Then continue to take as needed for pain. If you can take Tylenol and Ibuprofen, some of the best pain relief is achieved by alternating these medications every 4 hours. Please take as directed, do not exceed the maximum daily dosage, and make sure your medications do not interact with these medications prior to taking them.
  • Cleaning Your Teeth and The Extraction Site: Although you may experience tenderness initially, please brush and floss your teeth well as this will promote healing of both the tooth and the surrounding gum tissues. Avoid brushing directly over the extraction site. The day after your dental extraction, begin swishing with warm saltwater in the morning and at night. Make sure it is tolerably warm and salty enough that you can taste the salt. We advise pooling this saltwater over the site for 30-60 seconds at a time. Do this for 1 week. If after one week you notice food getting trapped in the healing site, please be sure to aggressively swish (or use the water syringe we provided) with water or saltwater to keep the area clean and free of debris.

As always, we are here for you, please call if you have any concerns