Post Op Instructions

Post Op Instructions


Instructions for Self-care Following a Root Canal Procedure
Instructions for Self-care Following a Crown or Bridge Procedure
Taking Care of your New Permanent Crown or Filling
Instructions for Self-care Following a Composite (White) Filling
Instructions for Self-care Following Silver Amalgam Filling
Instructions for Self-care Following a Cosmetic Procedure
Instructions for Self-care Following a Tooth Extraction
Dental Implants
Dental Emergencies / Accidents
Instructions following Scaling and Root Planning
Dentures
Whitening Instructions
Orthodontics (braces)


Instructions for Self-care Following a Root Canal Procedure


We used a local anaesthetic to thoroughly numb the area being treated. This numbness in your lips, teeth and tongue might last for several hours after the procedure. You should avoid any chewing or hot liquids until the numbness has completely worn off. 
 

Discomfort Following a Root Canal

For the first few days after your root canal therapy, you may have some discomfort or sensitivity in the tooth that was treated, particularly if there was pain and infection prior to the treatment. If antibiotics have been prescribed for the infection, it's important that you take them for the full length of time indicated on the prescription, even if all signs of infection are gone.  To control discomfort, we recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain reliever, following label directions. To further reduce pain and swelling, you can rinse three times a day with warm salt water. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, then gently swish the water around the tooth and spit.

If a  temporary filling was placed, it must be replaced within 2 – 6 weeks.  Please follow up with the office and ensure that you have the permanent restoration completed.  An extended delay in placing the final restoration may cause permanent damage to your tooth.  

Teeth that have been treated with a root canal are much more likely to fracture.  Therefore, we highly recommend that after your root canal therapy has been completed, the tooth be covered with a crown to minimize the possibility of tooth fracture.  

If you notice any of the following symptoms after your root canal, please contact our office:

  • increasing tenderness or swelling in the area surrounding the tooth
  • a reaction to the medication
  • loss of the temporary filling material
  • tooth fracture
  • no improvement of symptoms after completion of the root canal

 

Instructions for Self-care Following a Crown or Bridge Procedure


If we used a local anaesthetic to thoroughly numb the area treated, the numbness in your lips, teeth and tongue might last for several hours after the procedure. To avoid damage to your tongue and lips you should avoid any chewing, and drinking hot liquids until the numbness has completely worn off. 
 

Caring for your temporary crown or filling 

The temporary filling or crown was placed to protect your teeth while your custom restoration is being fabricated at the dental lab.  It's common for a small portion of a temporary filling to wear away or break off. This usually is not a problem. However, you should take these precautions to ensure that your temporary filling or crown stays securely in place: 
 

  1. Avoid chewing gum and eating sticky or hard foods. 
  2. If possible, chew on the opposite side of your mouth.
  3. Continue to brush normally. 
  4. Floss carefully each day, pulling the floss out from the side as you floss next to the temporary. 

If your temporary crown comes off, retrieve and save the temporary, if possible.  Please call the office to schedule a time so we can fix or replace it, at no additional charge.  The tooth may be sensitive if the temporary is not in place for a couple of days, but no harm will be done to the tooth.  Temporary restorations do not seal the tooth as well as the permanent restoration will.  Sensitivity, gum soreness or slight discomfort is not uncommon.  If you feel that your bite is incorrect, please call the office for a simple adjustment.

 

Taking care of your new permanent crown or filling


When taking care of your new permanent crown or filling:
 

  • Avoid chewing very sticky foods on that side of your mouth for 24 hours. 
  • It is normal for your bite to feel a little different.  This is just your mouth adjusting to the new addition.  If it still feels off in a few days, please call the office. 
  • Continue to brush and floss regularly to ensure that your restored tooth stays healthy. 


Please be sure to call our office if:
 

  • You have persistent pain. 
  • You have any questions or concerns about your restored tooth.
 

Instructions for Self-care Following a Composite (White) Filling


If we used a local anaesthetic to thoroughly numb the area we treated, the numbness in your lips, teeth and tongue might last for several hours after the procedure. To avoid damage to your tongue and lips, you should avoid any chewing, or drinking hot liquids until the numbness has completely worn off. 
 

What if my tooth is sore after the filling?

It's normal to experience some sensitivity to heat, cold and pressure after your appointment. You can also expect some soreness in your gums for several days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help to alleviate discomfort and swelling. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, then gently swish the water around the tooth and spit.  


Post op sensitivity with white fillings is more common and can last for several weeks.  As long as the sensitivity is minimal and not increasing with time, the filling is likely okay.  The sensitivity should decrease over time.  If not, please call our office.


Do I have to be careful with my fillings? 

White fillings completely set immediately after they are placed, so as soon as the numbness from the anaesthetic subsides, you can chew as you would normally.  If your bite feels uneven, or if you have any questions or concerns about your new filling, be sure to give us a call.  It is important to resume regular brushing and flossing immediately.  A consistent daily home care routine will increase the longevity of the restoration.  

 

Instructions for Self-care Following Silver Amalgam Filling 

 

If we used a local anaesthetic to thoroughly numb the area we treated, the numbness in your lips, teeth and tongue might last for several hours after the procedure. To avoid damage to your tongue and lips, you should avoid any chewing, or drinking hot liquids until the numbness has completely worn off. 

 

What if my tooth is sore after the filling?

It's normal to experience some sensitivity to heat, cold and pressure after your appointment. You can also expect some soreness in your gums for several days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help to alleviate discomfort and swelling. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, then gently swish the water around the tooth and spit.  If the soreness or sensitivity does not gradually decrease over time, please call our office. 

 

Do I have to be careful with my fillings? 

YES!  Amalgam fillings take time to harden, so you shouldn't chew hard foods or chew directly on the new fillings for the first twenty-four hours. If possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth during this time frame.  If your bite feels uneven, or if you have any questions or concerns about your new filling, be sure to give contact our office.

 

Instructions for Self-care Following a Cosmetic Procedure

 

Congratulations on your new smile! It's important that you remember it will take some time to adjust to the feel of your new bite. Here are some steps you can take to make that adjustment smoother and more comfortable for you, and to ensure the success of your new smile. 

 

When your bite is altered, or the position of your teeth are changed, it will feel different for a period of time. It takes several days for your brain to recognize and adjust to the new conditions in your mouth. If you detect any high spots or problems with your bite, call us to schedule an adjustment.

 

It's normal for your teeth to be a bit sensitive to hot, cold and pressure. That's because we removed some tooth structure, then placed new materials on your teeth. The sensitivity should subside with time.  If it doesn't, be sure to call our office. 

 

Your gums may also be sore and somewhat swollen for several days. Rinsing three times a day with warm salt water will relieve the discomfort and swelling. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water, and gently swish, then spit carefully.

 

Mild, over-the-counter pain medication should ease your discomfort during the adjustment period. 

 

Your speech might be affected slightly for the first few days; this is normal and is not a cause for concern. You will quickly adapt to the new feel in your mouth and be speaking normally again.  Practice speaking by reading out loud to yourself.  This will help you to adapt more rapidly.

 

Your brain might respond to the new size and shape of your teeth by increasing salivary flow. This should subside to normal flow within a week.

 

If you participate in sports, ask us about creating a custom mouth guard to protect your new smile.  If there are any signs of bruxism (grinding/wear) on your teeth, a nightguard will be recommended to protect you from chipping or breaking your new restorations while you sleep.  

 

Remember, any food or substance that can crack, chip, or in any way damage your natural teeth can do the same to your new restorations. Don't chew on ice, pencils, fingernails, and avoid hard candy, popcorn kernels, and other unusually hard foods.  Cut tape using scissors rather than your teeth.  If eating raw carrots or other hard foods, cut them into small pieces and avoid biting them with your front teeth.  Avoid or minimize your consumption of tobacco, red wine, colas, coffee and tea.

 

It's critical that you maintain an effective daily oral hygiene routine in order to maximize the long-term success of your new teeth. Floss each day, and brush your teeth at least twice a day.

 

Instructions for Self-care Following a Tooth Extraction  

 

The initial healing period usually takes one to two weeks, and you'll likely experience some swelling for the first forty-eight hours.

 

Before the procedure began, you were given an anaesthetic to ensure your comfort. This anaesthetic typically leaves your lips, teeth and tongue feeling numb after the appointment. For this reason, you should avoid chewing, or drinking hot liquids until the numbness has completely worn off.

 

Pain and Swelling

Some discomfort after the extraction is normal. An over-the-counter pain reliever is usually sufficient. You may be given a prescription for a stronger pain reliever if we anticipate you may need it.  To avoid nausea, do not take pain medication on an empty stomach.

 

You can also decrease pain and swelling by applying an ice pack — twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off — for the first 24 hours following the extraction.  (Frozen peas or corn in a large zip lock bag works well and are more comfortable than crushed ice)

 

 

Bleeding

We will give you a supply of gauze sponges to place over the extraction area, in case it continues to bleed.  Fold the gauze in 4 and moisten it slightly with water.  Bite firmly on the gauze for 30 –  45 minutes  (don’t keep removing it to see if the bleeding has stopped).  After 30 - 45 minutes remove the gauze.  If the area is still bleeding repeat this procedure.  Change the gauze pads as necessary every 30 – 45 minutes until the bleeding stops completely. You can also bite gently but firmly on a moist tea bag for twenty minutes. Be sure to call our office if bleeding persists or increases.   It is not unusual to see some “pink” in your saliva for a few days after your surgery. 

 

A blood clot will form in the extraction site, and this clot is vital to the healing process. To keep the clot intact: 

  1. Avoid touching the extraction site with your tongue or fingers.
  2. Do not drink liquids through a straw for the first 48 hours or “suck” on the wound site. This can create negative pressure inside the oral cavity and can disturb the blood clot, which may cause bleeding, slow healing, and cause what is called a "dry socket".  A dry socket can be very painful
  3. If you smoke, refrain from doing so for 24 to 36 hours. It can disturb the blood clot and cause a dry socket.
  4. Refrain from drinking alcohol for the first 24 hours.  
  5. Blowing your nose or sneezing violently can also dislodge the blood clot and impair healing, so if you have an upper respiratory infection or suffer from allergies, be sure to have the appropriate sinus medication on hand.
  6. Strenuous activities (exercise, sports) during the first 24 hours can cause the blood clot to dislodge resulting in a dry socket.  Relax as much as possible during the first 24 hours.


Rinsing, Brushing

  1. Do not spit or rinse your mouth vigorously the day of surgery.
  2. Twenty-four hours following the procedure, you can rinse gently with mouthwash or a warm saltwater solution. (Dissolve one teaspoon of salt with one cup of warm water. Gently swish the solution around the affected area, and spit carefully.) You should do this two to three times each day for the week following the extraction.
  3. You may brush your teeth and tongue after the surgery. Be careful of the surgical site. You need to keep the area around it as clean as possible, but you do not want to disturb actual site.


Eating

  1. Do not drink or eat hot foods the first day, as you may dissolve or loosen the healing blood clot. Eat, warm or cool, soft, nutritious foods.
  2. Start with liquids and very soft foods for the first 24 – 48 hours following the surgery.  Nourishment is important to the healing process.  Limit your diet to soft foods like yogurt, luke warm soft soups, ice cream, soft cooked eggs, mashed potatoes etc.  After a couple of days, if you feel up to it, progress to other foods.  Avoid hard, crunchy foods (i.e. potato chips and nuts) for at least 72 hours.  
  3. Make sure you are drinking enough liquids each day (8 glasses of water or fruit juice)


If antibiotics were prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.


Please call the office if you have any further questions.


The space left by the tooth will feel a bit strange to you at first. Eventually, the hole will fill in with new bone, and gum tissue will grow into the gap left by the extraction.  Unless the tooth extracted was a wisdom tooth, it is important to replace the missing tooth, to avoid further bone loss, drifting of adjacent teeth, over eruption of opposing teeth, and loss of chewing function.  We will discuss the options with you to replace your lost tooth.

 

Dental Implants

 

Congratulations on your decision to include dental implants as part of your comprehensive dental treatment.  The following list of instructions is designed to help you achieve optimal success with your implants.  


We used a local anaesthetic to thoroughly numb the area being treated. This numbness in your lips, teeth and tongue might last for several hours after the procedure. You should avoid any chewing, and drinking hot liquids until the numbness has completely worn off

 

Spitting/Smoking

Avoid sucking (e.g. through straws), spitting, blowing your nose and sneezing.  Positive or negative pressure could dislodge the blood clot.  If you have a cold, allergies, or anything that will cause you to blow your nose or sneeze, take the appropriate medications to treat these.

 

Try NOT to smoke for as long as possible afterwards.  Smoking can interfere with the healing process and also the sucking motion could dislodge the blood clot.  Patients who smoke have more complications with healing than patients who do not smoke.

 

Stitches
Stitches may be placed in the surgical area to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing.  Sometimes they become dislodged, this is no cause for alarm.  Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it.

 

Most stitches will dissolve over 4 to 5 days, but if the removal of sutures is required, no anaesthesia or needles are needed.  It takes only a minute or so, and there is no discomfort associated with this procedure.  

 

Oral Hygiene
Rinsing of the mouth should be started very gently on the day AFTER surgery. Vigorous rinsing could disturb the healing process.  Rinsing can become more vigorous as healing progresses.  

 

Rinse with either a ½ teaspoon of salt in a ½ glass of water, or with the prescribed rinse, for one week.  Begin brushing your natural teeth as usual the day after surgery or when you are comfortable doing so.

 

If you notice dry or chapped lips, lubricate your lips with Vaseline or any bland ointment.  

 

Refrain from eating, drinking or rinsing for 3 hours after surgery. 

 

Diet
You can consume liquids on the same day as your surgery.  Drink soups such as chicken or beef broths, water, fruit and vegetable juices, and powdered food supplements.  Drink as much as you are able to prevent dehydration.  Avoid hot liquids on the first day.   A regular diet can be resumed as soon as it can be comfortably managed.  Do not use a straw to drink as the sucking action may cause bleeding.  

 

Swelling / Bruising and Discomfort
Generally there is no swelling with the placement of a single implant.  Swelling may or may not occur when multiple implants are placed.  Swelling may occur if you have had bone grafting done to facilitate your implant placement. If you experience swelling, do not apply any heat to the face.  An ice pack can be utilized - on the area for 20 minutes than off the area for 20 minutes - alternating for the first 24 hours.  Swelling may increase for 72 hours, and then gradually subside over approximately one week.  If symptoms have not improved by the fifth day, please contact our office.

 

Medication
Although significant discomfort is not common, a pain medication will likely be prescribed following your procedure.  Take the medication as prescribed.  Your pain medicine should keep you reasonably comfortable and is best taken with fluid or food in your stomach.


For mild pain, Advil, or Tylenol may be used.  Pain medicine may cause some dizziness; do not drive.  Antibiotics, if prescribed, should be taken until the full prescription is finished.  

 

For nausea or stomach upset, Gravol can be taken with your medication if you do not have an allergy to it.  If a rash, severe stomach cramps or diarrhoea occur, stop taking your medicine and call our office.

 

Females who are taking birth control pills and antibiotics at the same time, should know that the combination of these two drugs may cause the birth control pills to become less effective as a contraceptive method.  Pregnancy may occur if alternative methods of birth control and not used.  

 

The Codeine in pain medicine can be constipating.  If this occurs, a mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia may be taken.

 

Dental Emergencies / Accidents

 

Accidents do happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth.

 

 

Bitten Lip or Tongue

Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately. 

 

Broken Tooth

If your broken tooth is the result of an accident, if necessary rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use cold compresses on the area to keep any swelling down. Call the office immediately.   If you broke your tooth chewing on something, simply call our office for an appointment.

 

Jaw - Possibly Broken

Apply cold compresses to control swelling. Go to the hospital emergency department immediately.

 

Knocked Out Tooth

Hold the tooth by the crown, avoid touching the root.  Rinse the root of the tooth in water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, insert and hold the tooth in its socket (firm but gentle pressure may be needed to get the tooth all the way back into the socket).  Call us for an immediate appointment.  If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and get to us as quickly as possible (call us first). Remember to bring the tooth with you!

 

Objects Caught Between Teeth

Try to gently remove the object with dental floss; avoid cutting the gums. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you can’t dislodge the object using dental floss, contact the office.  

 

Toothache

Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue.  If the pain persists, contact the office.

 

Scaling and Root Planning

 

If anaesthetic was used for your scaling and rootplanning appointment, do not eat or drink anything hot while you are still numb to avoid burning your mouth. Be careful not to bite your cheek or tongue. After the anaesthesia has worn off, you may eat and drink anything comfortable to you.


If you feel discomfort in the gum tissue where you had the treatment completed, you may take an aspirin-free pain reliever, such as Tylenol or Advil (aspirin pain relievers may cause bleeding). You may take 1-2 tablets before your anaesthetic wears off, as the first few hours are the most uncomfortable. Expect tenderness or soreness, but not pain. 


Rinse your mouth with warm salt water (one teaspoon salt per cup of warm water) 2 to 3 times a day as needed for the soreness (unless you have had an extraction). 


In the unlikely event of bleeding, isolate the area and apply pressure with dampened gauze pads or a moist tea bag for 20 minutes. 


Brush gently before going to bed. Add flossing the second day and any other recommended aids the third day. It is extremely important to keep all areas clean even though it may cause some discomfort. The cleanliness will promote rapid healing and provide you with the best results.  The treated areas may be sensitive to hot and cold.  This should dissipate with time.


If anything unusual comes up or you have any questions, do not hesitate to call our office

 

Dentures

 

Dentures (full dentures and partial dentures) require regular care and good oral hygiene.

 

If you have just received a new denture, it may feel awkward or bulky.  However, you will soon become accustomed to wearing it.  Inserting and removing the denture will require some practice.  It is very important that you remove your denture every night, to give your tissues a chance to “breathe”.   

 

Replacing your missing teeth should make eating a more pleasant experience.  Until you become accustomed to your new dentures,  eat softer foods that are cut into small pieces.  

 

It is normal it get some pressure sores from a new denture.  Your tissues need time to mould and conform to the fit of the denture.  If you have a sore spot, a simple denture adjustment will relieve the pressure in that area, and make things more comfortable.  Do NOT attempt to adjust the denture yourself!  Please call our office, so we can adjust it for you as soon as possible.  You need to wear the denture long enough before coming into the office, so that we can see exactly where the pressure point is.  

 

Rinse your denture under running water to remove any food particles after every meal.  Do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaners (bleach) on the dentures.  Use an approved denture cleaner if desired, and be sure to rinse your denture after soaking it in the cleaning solution.  Store the denture in the case provided, in water, when it is not being worn, to keep it hydrated.  Dentures make great chew toys for pets, so keep them stored in the case.  Handling a denture requires care.  It is a good idea to stand over a folded towel, or a sink filled with water, in case you accidentally drop the denture while cleaning it.  If dropped against a hard surface, a denture can easily break.

 

If you have partial dentures, remember to brush your natural teeth and gums regularly as directed.  

 

At least once a month, examine all the tissues in your mouth – looking for any sore spots, white, red or abnormal looking patches.  If you see any that do not go away within 2 weeks, contact the office.

 

Even if you have complete dentures, it is important that you be seen at the dental office once a year for an oral cancer screening and to assess the fit of your dentures.

 

Whitening

 

Use the gel solution at room temperature.  If you have completed whitening and have gel left over, store it according to the manufacturers recommendations.  Please note, whitening solutions have an expiry date. 

 

Food and drinks containing strong colours should be avoided during the whitening treatment.  Citrus fruits can increase sensitivity and should be avoided during the two week whitening period.

 

If the gel gets on your gums, it will irritate the tissue.  Wipe off the excess immediately.  It will cause the gums to go white.  This will disappear after a while.  If the gums stay irritated for more than 24 hours, please contact the office. 

 

If sensitivity of the teeth occurs, slow down the whitening process.  Only whiten once a day, or every 2nd or 3rd day depending on how much sensitivity you experience.  The sensitivity should disappear in a day or so.  As well, Prevident Toothpaste (by Colgate & available from a drugstore) can relieve the sensitivity for some people.  Place a small amount of the paste in the whitening trays (enough to lightly coat the teeth) and wear for a ½ hour.  Spit out, but do not rinse, or eat or drink anything for ½ an hour afterwards.  Do NOT swallow the Prevident Toothpaste.  We also have strong desensitizing solutions in our office.  Please call us if you would like more information.

 

Results vary.  Most patients see results in a matter of one or two sessions.  A full treatment usually takes approx. 7 - 12 days.  Deeper set stains may require a longer treatment regime.  Results normally last a year to several years, depending on your lifestyle and the manner in which you maintain your newly whitened teeth.  Touch up kits are available to be used with your customized trays, should you wish to brighten your smile again.  Most people like to “touch up” their teeth once or twice a year to maintain optimal results.  To do this, just wear the tray for a day or two at the most, once or twice a year.

 

Orthodontics

 

Your oral hygiene is a top priority during your orthodontic treatment.   The hygienist has shown you how to brush properly, in and around the brackets, and how to floss with braces on.  You should brush after every meal and floss once a day.  Rinse your mouth thoroughly after eating if you are unable to brush immediately.  

 

The brackets and wires on your teeth make it harder for you to clean them.  Trapped food particles and plaque are a breeding ground for cavity causing bacteria.  If gum disease develops, it causes swelling of the gums, which makes proper cleaning even more difficult.  It is very important to keep your teeth clean or you may develop decalcification (white areas) or decay around the brackets.  This can be very noticeable and disappointing once the brackets are removed.

 

While wearing your braces, be sure to schedule regular cleanings every 6 months to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

 

If you have just had brackets placed and your cheeks are sore, take a small piece of the ortho wax you were given, warm it by rolling it into a ball between your fingers and place it over the bracket.  If you have run out of ortho wax, a small piece of cotton can be rolled up, moistened and used until you can pick up more wax.  Do not place gum or any food that is sticky over the bracket.  

 

FOODS TO AVOID

Becoming familiar with your braces usually means making a few adjustments in your eating habits.  Some foods damage your braces or cause problems for your teeth.  The following list of foods should either be avoided OR you must prepare these foods differently than you have in the past and use caution while eating them.

 

Apples – don’t bite into a whole apple, cut the apple into small pieces

Candy – no caramel, taffy, gummy bears or other sticky treats

Carrots – thinly slice carrots – do not attempt to bite off a piece of a carrot

Corn on the cob – remove the kernels from the cob

Sticky foods – can bend wires or pull brackets off

Sugary foods – if you must indulge, brush your teeth ASAP or rinse your mouth with water after eating.

NO corn chips or pretzels, ice, nuts, hard granola bars, popcorn, pizza crust and crusty breads.


During treatment, if a bracket or wire becomes loose, please call the office, so it can be replaced.  Please note – you must let us know ahead of time if you have lost a bracket, even if your regular ortho appointment is that same day – we need to allow more time to re-bond brackets.  If we don’t know ahead of time, you will have to come back for a second appointment to have the bracket replaced.  

 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the office.

  1. Do not spit or rinse your mouth vigorously the day of surgery.
  2. Twenty-four hours following the procedure, you can rinse gently with mouthwash or a warm saltwater solution. (Dissolve one teaspoon of salt with one cup of warm water. Gently swish the solution around the affected area, and spit carefully.) You should do this two to three times each day for the week following the extraction. 
  3. You may brush your teeth and tongue after the surgery.  Be careful of the surgical site.  You need to keep the area around it as clean as possible, but you do not want to disturb actual site.