After-Care Instructions. Continuing your care at home.

Often times your treatment won’t end when you leave our office and will require care and attention. Below are several after-care instructions depending on your treatment.

Our care for your comfort and well being doesn’t end when your procedure does. You’ll receive detailed instructions based upon your specific procedure or treatment. To ensure that you are comfortable and healthy after your procedure we’ll be here to answer any and all questions you might have.

Ultimately, dental after-care instructions are any directives that ensure you’re treating your tooth and gums with great care after your dental procedure. Whether after care requires you taking over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen or more serious pain relief pain medications, dental after-care is something any patient needs to take seriously, especially when tooth extraction is involved to insure proper healing.

Below, you can review some of the more common treatments that require after-care instructions.

After-Care Basics

Ibuprofen

If ibuprofen was given in the office: take 600mg (three over-the-counter tablets) of ibuprofen three hours after the initial dose, even if the teeth feel comfortable. After the second dose, continue to take three tablets every six hours if any ache is present. This will diminish the inflammation in the tooth that can lead to root canal treatment.

Anesthetic

If local anesthetic was used, avoid drinking hot liquids or chewing vigorously. You could burn or bite yourself without being aware of it.

Gum Sensitivity

If gum tissue is sensitive, we recommend a topical anesthetic. Most drugstores carry Orajel Maximum Strength. This is a good topical anesthetic that will relieve the discomfort in the gums better than the ibuprofen. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can also help cleanse the area and speed healing of the tissue.

Temporary Fillings

Do not floss around temporary fillings. Brush normally. Eat normally if comfortable. Some temperature and sweet sensitivity is normal around temporary fillings, crowns and new dental work. Also, some discomfort to biting is normal.

Discomfort

Some discomfort is normal the night after work is done and a diminishing amount of discomfort for the next few weeks. If significant discomfort or swelling occurs, please call the office immediately (608-274-9077 or 608-222-3231) or call Dr. Gustavson (608-467-6811) at home.

AFTER-CARE INSTRUCTIONS POST EXTRACTIONS

After one or more teeth have been removed, you will want to do all the right things for the area to heal quickly and smoothly. This requires that a blood clot is formed. The blood clot covers the extraction site and allows the area to heal. The tips below help the blood clot to form properly and not become dislodged.

Bleeding

Your bleeding should be mostly stopped by the time you get home. There may be blood present when you spit and may look bright pink the first day following extractions. If you do require placement of more gauze, be sure it is directly over where the tooth was. Be sure you bite down with considerable force. Leave the gauze in place for fifteen minutes. If bleeding has not decreased in 3-4 hours, bite on a dampened tea bag placed directly over the surgical site. The tannic acid in the tea helps the blood to clot.

Infection

The best way to prevent infection is to keep your mouth clean. That said, don’t brush for the first 24 hours after extraction. After that, brush your teeth in your usual manner each time after you eat. You can also gently rinse with warm salt water several times a day, beginning no sooner than six hours after surgery. A warm salt water rinse every four hours and after meals flushes out particles of food and debris and helps decrease the chances of an infection developing. AVOID VIGOROUS SWISHING.

Pain

Pain may be the most severe the first day and then diminish each day thereafter. Pain that goes away after two or three days, especially if you have had wisdom teeth removed, and then comes back is not normal. If that happens to you, please call the doctor who performed the extractions immediately. This is an easy problem for us to treat if you will just let us know.

Swelling

If swelling occurs, it is usually the result of the surgical procedure, and not from infection. Swelling should begin to go away about the third day following the operation. If you have no swelling for two to three days and then suddenly swell up, or if swelling is still present 5-6 days following the surgery, this may be the development of an infection, and the doctor who performed the extractions should be notified.

You may use an ice bag to reduce swelling, discomfort, and possible bleeding in the first twelve hours after surgery. Do not leave it against the skin for more than 15 minutes at a time; you could frostbite your cheeks.

Eating

On the day of surgery, keep your diet soft. Starting the day after your surgery, eat as well as you can, even if it means relying entirely on liquids. Do not use a straw as the suction may cause removal of the blood clot, which is crucial to healing. A well-balanced diet is beneficial to rapid healing. AVOID HOT AND SPICY FOODS.

Medications

For mild discomfort, use Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). DO NOT take more than 800mg every four to six hours. If medications have been prescribed for you, take them as directed on the label with a full glass of water. Most medications are best taken with food in the stomach, unless specifically told not to do so on the label instructions. Pain medications especially should not be taken on an empty stomach. You should not drink alcohol, drive a motor vehicle or work around any machinery when taking pain medications.

Avoid

  • Sucking on the wound
  • Sucking through a straw
  • Exercising, until all bleeding has stopped
  • Smoking for at least three days following the extraction

Even with pain medication, expect moderate discomfort, some swelling and some minor oozing of blood in the 24 hours following surgery. If severe pain, swelling, or bleeding occurs, please call our office immediately.

Healing

It usually takes gum tissue about 3-4 weeks to heal. The bone can take up to 6 months to heal completely. However, pain should be lessening by the second day. But it varies from person to person, and also depends on how easy or difficult the tooth removal was.

Dry Socket

A dry socket occurs when the blood clot for healing becomes dislodged or doesn’t form. In that case, the bone and fine nerve endings are not protected and exposed to air, food, and liquids. Dry socket delays the healing process and can be very painful.

If you suspect dry socket, see your dentist. S/he will place a medicated dressing in the socket which will almost instantly relieve pain. If the area is infected, your dentist may also prescribe a course of antibiotics. The medicated dressing should be changed every day or two at the start, and then at longer intervals. Though some dressings are designed to stay in and dissolve by themselves.

If you follow the suggestions above you’ll minimize your chances of getting dry socket.

AFTER-CARE INSTRUCTIONS POST CROWN

After a crown preparation, some discomfort is normal.  Dental work on a tooth is traumatic to the area and needs time to heal and settle down.  The body’s response to a procedure is to send blood to the area to help with healing.  With respect to teeth the body usually over responds.  When you traumatize other areas of your body your tissue can swell, but a tooth is rigid and cannot swell.  This can cause discomfort in the tooth that is felt as a dull ache, pain to biting or sensitivity to temperature or sweets.  Initially this discomfort is expected and with the use of an anti-inflammatory drug like Ibuprofen or Naproxen the discomfort can be limited(Do not take them both).  Most of the time this pain will lessen over the time when have your temporary crown.  If the pain does not subside, testing can be done on the tooth to see if a root canal is necessary.

With a temporary crown please avoid anything too hard or sticky, they may break or dislodge the crown.  Please avoid flossing in the area, this may also remove the temporary.  If you must floss, gently clean but pull the floss through the side not back through the contact.

If a temporary comes off

If you can replace the temporary with confidence many times it will stay on if you are careful.  You may use some temporary cement from Walgreens if you wish to do it yourself.  If you have any concerns feel free to call and we will recement the temporary. Preferably, during business hours if there is no pain.

If a temporary breaks

Call the office and we will gladly make you a new one.

If your tissue is sore

During a crown prep there is usually some trauma to the surrounding tissue.  This usually will heal completely with a couple days, if you wish you can rinse with warm salt water in the area.  Also the temporary crown does not adapt to the tissue as well as the permanent crown and might cause a little inflammation.

At the site of injection, for the local anesthetic, there can be some bruising and swelling of the tissue.  This can sometimes cause discomfort that lasts for a few days, just like a bruise on any part of your body.  This occurs more often when working on lower teeth.

IF YOUR JAW IS SORE

Any dental procedure keeps your mouth open for an extended period and can cause soreness and stiffness in the TMJ and surrounding muscles.  If this occurs, avoid foods that cause discomfort chewing or opening your mouth extremely wide.  Ice packs can be used along with anti-inflammatory drugs.

AFTER-CARE INSTRUCTIONS AFTER DENTAL FILLING

After a dental filling, some discomfort is normal. Dental work on a tooth is traumatic to the area and needs time to heal and settle down. The body’s response to a procedure is to send blood to the area to help with healing. With respect to teeth the body usually over responds. When you traumatize other areas of your body your tissue can swell, but a tooth is rigid and cannot swell. This can cause discomfort in the tooth that is felt as a dull ache, pain to biting or sensitivity to temperature or sweets. Initially this discomfort is expected and with the use of an anti-inflammatory drug like Ibuprofen or Naproxen the discomfort can be limited (Do not take them both). Usually, this pain will lessen over time. If the pain does not subside, testing can be done on the tooth to see if a root canal is necessary.

White restorations can sometimes have more sensitivity than a silver dental filling. The glue that is used is very good but can be a little traumatic to the tooth. Also, when white fillings are hardened with the UV light they shrink a little, this can cause some pressure sensitivity. With new products and procedures this sensitivity is much less, but can sometimes occur. Any sensitivity that occurs will most likely go away within a few weeks.  However, every tooth is different, what is most important is that the tooth progresses in the right direction. Some teeth are sensitive for a few days, others a few weeks and rarely a few months.