Post-Op Instructions

post-op1What to Expect After a Tooth Extraction (Oral Surgery)

Bleeding – It is normal to have some bleeding for about 24 hours following surgery. If this occurs, use a fresh gauze pack or moist tea bag on the surgical site, elevate your head and bite firmly on the pack for 30 minutes. Typically two to three changes will be sufficient. Do not apply the pack if bleeding is only minimal. Phone 911 promptly if your mouth continuously fills with blood.

Pain – Some discomfort is normal following any surgical procedure (including dental extraction). This can be minimized by taking medication as prescribed or recommended by your dentist. Pain medication works better if started before the onset of pain and taken on a regular schedule. Call us if pain develops three to four days after surgery; a protective dressing may be required.

Swelling – Swelling and bruising often occur after surgery. Swelling typically increases for the first three or four days, then gradually subsides over the following three to seven days. If the swelling gets better over the first three days, then gets worse, please call us.

Numbness – Occasionally patients experience some numbness in their lip or tongue after lower jaw surgery, this generally resolves in time. Please let us know if this occurs.

Nausea – Occasionally patients feel sick to their stomach (nauseated) for the first few days following surgery. Drinking carbonated water may be helpful. Call us if this is a persistent problem.

Tooth Extraction Post-Surgery Instructions

  • Take all medications as recommended
  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat soft, lukewarm food the first day.
  • Avoid excessive physical activity and alcohol for the rest of the day following surgery.
  • Apply ice packs to the face throughout the first day (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off and chilling the
    pack when not in use). This should be done whether or not you have swelling or bruising.
  • Avoid spitting or sucking on a straw during your first day following surgery. It is important for smokers
    to refrain from smoking during the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Do not rinse your mouth on the day of surgery. On the second day, rinse every four to six hours with
    a cup of warm to hot water mixed with ½ teaspoon of salt. Continue this for approximately one week.
  • Start tooth brushing the day after surgery carefully.
  • WOMEN: If you are taking birth control medication AND antibiotics are prescribed for your surgery,
    be sure to use an additional means of contraception for the duration of your cycle.

Veneer, Crown and Bridge Post-Op Instructions

post-op2Your tooth or teeth have been carefully prepared to receive a permanent crown, veneer or bridge. During the procedure the teeth are sculpted and shaped, an impression is made to send to the dental laboratory and the teeth are protected for the in term time with a temporary crown or bridge.

The temporary is made from a hard acrylic and is cemented to the tooth using a temporary cement. During the approximately two weeks it takes to fabricate the permanent crown, veneer or bridge, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • The temporary does not form a perfect seal around the tooth and you may find the tooth to be more sensitive to very hot and cold foods or drinks. This is to be expected but should in no way cause so much discomfort as to prevent getting a good night’s rest. If you experience significant discomfort, please call to let us know.
  • Care should be taken to floss and brush the area well. Ensure that the floss passes towards the gums and then is pulled out the side to avoid catching the temporary and lifting it off the tooth. Sticky, chewy foods should also be avoided.
  • Should the temporary come off and you are unable to call and come in to have it recemented, place a small amount of Vaseline inside the crown. This can help to secure the temporary in place for a short duration.
  • Once the anesthetic has worn off, please ensure your bite on the temporary feels good (not high). Though we check it carefully before you leave, the chewing muscles act differently when not anesthetized. If the bite is too high for too long, it can result in the ligament around the tooth to become very sensitive to the point where it may feel like a toothache. Please call our office should your temporary require adjusting.
  • Warm salt water rinses 2-3X a day for the 3 to 4 days after your appointment will help to restore your gum comfort.

Post-Restorative Instructions (Fillings)

  • Anesthetic usually takes 2-4 hours for your mouth to feel back to normal but for some this could take a little longer. Be careful not to have any hot liquid or food as it could result in burning your mouth. Avoid chewy food so that you do not accidentally bite your cheek or tongue. Have soft, warm nutritious food for the remainder of the day.
  • The occlusion (or bite) is checked thoroughly before you are dismissed, however because you are numb, the bite could feel slightly high when the anesthetic wears off. Biting down hard could irritate the (nerve) tooth. Tooth colored restorations sometimes have a small amount of ‘flash’ of bonding agent not visible to the eye but you may feel it as roughness. Please phone the office so that we can adjust your occlusion before any sensitivity to cold/chewing occurs.
  • If you notice some swelling, it could be strained cramped muscles or bruising from the injection site. These resolve completely by themselves, however there are some home remedies that can help the process. For initial swelling, use a bag of ice or frozen peas 10 minutes on-10 minutes off for the first day. After 24 hours, place a warm moist towel on the site to encourage circulation. If there is abnormal swelling or pain that is persistent, call the office right away. It could be the result of the bacteria that caused the tooth decay to enter the nerve (pulp) and the tooth might require a root canal.
  • After an appointment, a discrepancy between the color of the tooth and white filling material might exist. This is normal and as the tooth rehydrates over the next 12-24 hours, it will become more esthetic and uniform. Should you feel the color match is not quite what was expected, return to our office for an evaluation. Small color modifications are not only possible but simple to change. Brush and floss on a regular basis as this helps to maintain tooth colored restorative materials.

Post-Endodontic Instructions

Root Canal therapy is most often completed in one appointment, although some cases may require more time to finish. In multiple appointment cases, a temporary restoration is used to close the opening access, so it is important to protect this softer type of restoration from the forces of chewing by using the opposite side of the mouth. If a permanent restoration has been placed and the anesthetic has worn off, make sure the filling does not feel high when biting. Root canal therapy approaches 98% success in teeth with early intervention.

Sometimes after a root canal, the tooth may still be a bit sore and it can take some time for the inflammation and infection to subside. Root canal procedures remove the infection from inside the tooth and hopefully the body’s immune system will clear up the area in the surrounding bone. It is not common for increased pain and swelling, if this should happen, please call the office right away. It is common to be given a prescription for antibiotics or anti-inflammatories if the situation requires this treatment.

We always advise our patients to consider a crown after root canal therapy, as a tooth tends to dry-out and become brittle. A crown preserves the integrity of the tooth structure.

For More Information About Our Post-Surgery Instructions Please Call Us!

Please call us if you have any concerns about Oral Surgery and Post Surgery Instructions at 604-536-6711, we look forward to helping you.

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