Patient Instructions: Caring for Yourself after a Procedure

Meadow Ridge Dental Centre would like to lessen any anxiety you may feel about your dental procedure by letting you know what to expect after your procedure is finished. Here are some instructions on how best to care for yourself as you’re healing.

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If any procedure results in swelling that causes difficulty breathing or swallowing, contact the office immediately. If unable to reach the office, proceed to the nearest hospital emergency department or call 911.

What to Expect After an Extraction

Swelling and some bruising will often occur, typically increasing for 3 to 4 days and then gradually subsiding. Should the swelling start decreasing and then suddenly worsen, contact Meadow Ridge Dental Centre. Bleeding is normal for the first day after an extraction. Simply bite on fresh gauze rolled into a ball for thirty minutes and elevate your head. If gauze is not handy, a moistened teabag works well.

Note: If your mouth continuously fills with blood, call 911 or proceed to the nearest hospital emergency department.

Some discomfort or pain is to be expected and can be decreased by taking all medications the dentist has prescribed or recommended. It is easier to control pain if you take medications before the discomfort becomes unbearable. If pain starts 4 days after the extraction, contact us.

Numbness is experienced by some patients and generally resolves over time. Let the dentist know if this occurs.

Post Extraction Instructions

  • Avoid heavy physical activity for the remainder of the day.
  • Take all medications prescribed or recommended.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat soft foods for the first day.
  • Avoid spitting or sucking on a straw for the first couple of days.
  • Do not rinse your mouth on the day of the extraction. You may gently rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of salt added to six to eight ounces of water on the second day.
  • Do not smoke for the first 24 hours after the extraction.
  • You may carefully start brushing your teeth the day after the extraction.

What to Expect after a Dental Cleaning, Scaling and Root Planing

Oozing from the gums immediately after your appointment is common and should stop very quickly.

Sensitivity is a common occurrence with hot, cold, acidic or spicy foods. This sensitivity should decrease over time. Use of a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth can speed up this process. In some cases, it may be necessary for the dentist to apply special desensitizers to the teeth.

As the infection in the gums has been removed with the cleaning, the swelling associated with the infection will decrease. In some individuals, this might give the appearance of the gums shrinking. This is normal and indicates the gums are healthy again.

What to Expect after a Crown or Bridge Appointment

Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) discomfort is possible in some individuals after a crown or bridge appointment. If this should occur, it is best treated with warm, moist compresses applied to the side of the face – 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off. An over-the-counter pain reliever can be taken.

Sensitivity of the teeth and gums is possible after the reshaping of the tooth or teeth. It is important to keep the area clean. A rinse of about 8 ounces of water with one teaspoon of salt can be soothing. Gentle brushing with a de-sensitizing toothpaste may help.

Post Crown or Bridge Instructions

  • Avoid eating hard foods. A temporary crown or covering will have been placed over your tooth. It is very important to be careful of this temporary crown, because it is not as strong as a permanent crown.
  • Do not eat sticky foods or use chewing gum as these might cause the temporary crown to come off. The temporary crown is put on with a weaker cement than a permanent crown is so that it can be removed.
  • When flossing, do not pull the floss back up through the contact but rather slide it out to the side to remove.
  • If your temporary crown breaks, please call the office so that a new one can be made. The tooth can be temporarily covered with sugarless chewing gum if it is sensitive.
  • If the temporary crown becomes dislodged, you can gently put it back in place using some desensitizing toothpaste or denture adhesive. Please call to inform the office.

What to Expect after a Dental Filling or Restoration

It is not uncommon for a tooth to be sensitive to hot, cold or chewing after a dental filling. This may be discouraging to you, especially if the tooth was not sensitive before the procedure. This sensitivity is the result of the nerve being irritated during the procedure. The degree of sensitivity and length of time it lasts is dependent on a number of factors, but is primarily determined by the size of the decayed area and how close the decay was to the nerve. In the majority of cases, it just takes time for the nerve to readjust -- the sensitivity will slowly decrease.

Post Dental Filling or Restoration Instructions

  • Be careful not to bite your lip(s), cheek or tongue since they will be numb for a while after the procedure.
  • It is best to avoid eating until normal sensation returns to your mouth.
  • It is extremely important to watch young children so as to prevent them from chewing their lip(s) or tongue while numb.
  • With silver-coloured fillings, it is best not to chew on them for the first 24 hours to allow the material to fully set.

What to Expect after Root Canal Therapy (RCT)

Discomfort can be expected upon biting for approximately 2 to 3 days afterwards and for occasionally up to 10 days. This discomfort should be controlled with an over-the-counter pain reliever. If pain is not controlled by an over-the-counter pain reliever or if significant swelling occurs, please call the dental office.

Your tooth will have a temporary filling or restoration in it. This restoration will need to be replaced and a crown made once the tooth has healed at the root tip.

Post Root Canal Therapy Instructions

  • Take all medications as prescribed. Do not alter dosages or stop taking medications without speaking with the dentist.
  • Avoid chewing on the tooth until it has been permanently restored, as you might risk breaking it.
  • If pain is not controlled by an over-the-counter pain reliever or if significant swelling occurs, please call the dental office.
  • If you have swelling that causes difficulty breathing or swallowing, go to the nearest hospital emergency department or call 911.
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