Oral Surgery

Things to anticipate following surgery

  • Swelling – Swelling is normal after any type of oral surgery. Usually the swelling is greatest 2 to 3 days following surgery and should go down around the 5th day.
  • Bleeding – A bleeding or sometimes described as oozing, can be common within twelve to 24 hours following surgery.
  • Discomfort – Once the anesthesia has subsided, you may experience some discomfort, this is normal and should lessen within 1 to 3 days.

What to do for:

  • Bleeding – In the event of bleeding following oral surgery, place gauze in the area and keep pressure on it for 2 hours or until the bleeding stops. The gauze should be replaced in 30 minute intervals, head should elevated, and you should be resting. Spitting or sucking in excess should be avoided. It is normal for saliva to be slightly discolored and to experience some oozing.
  • Rinsing – Starting 24 hours following the surgery, use saltwater that is warm to rinse 3 to 5 times a day for a full week.
  • Swelling – If swelling occurs, put an ice pack or cold compress on the area for no more than 10 minutes every 30 minutes. Repeat this 8 to 12 hours following surgery as needed. It is important to note that ice packs and cold compresses should only be used on the day of surgery.
  • Tobacco use – Refrain from smoking while you’re healing from surgery.
  • Discomfort – Immediately following surgery take your pain medication as directed by your dentist. The medication will take about 45 minutes before it starts having an effect.
  • Diet – Depending on the type of surgery, a liquid diet might be prescribed to you following your surgery. It is important to maintain a daily intake of 2 quarts of fluid.
  • Physical Activity – REST is the most important part of the healing process and should be done for the first 1 to 2 days. If you’re surgery required sedation, it is recommended that you do not drive or participate in any activity that requires you to be alert for the next day.

What to do the days following surgery:

  • Make sure to brush your teeth cautiously.
  • Rinse with warm salt water or a prescription mouth rinse, 3 to 5 times a day.
  • If your dentist has prescribed any antibiotics, make sure to finish the prescription and take as directed.
  • After the first day of swelling, use a warm, moist compress to reduce swelling.
  • If your procedure required sutures, please return to our dental office within 5 to 7 days to have them removed.

When to contact us:

  • Your bleeding will not stop.
  • You discomfort level is too high and cannot be fixed with your prescribed pain medication.
  • After 2 days, the swelling you are experiencing is getting worse.
  • You experience any allergic responses to medications which cause a rash or bleeding.

When to contact 911:

Loss of consciousness

Root Canal

What you can expect after a root canal:

During a root canal the dentist thoroughly cleans the root canal system in your tooth and removes the irritated tissue and bacteria. Some soreness can be expected over the next couple of days as your body begins the healing process.

There may be some soreness in the area where the anesthetic was injected or in your jaw from having it held open for a long period of time. These symptoms can usually be treated with over the counter pain medication. If you have questions on dosage, please ask someone in our office. In some cases, a stronger pain medication may be prescribed by your dentist and it is important to follow the dosing instructions on these.

If your pain becomes severe or persists for more than a few days, please contact our office.

Directions following the procedure:

  • To prevent biting your cheek or tongue, refrain from eating until your mouth is no longer numb.
  • Until your tooth is restored by your dentist, refrain from chewing or biting on the tooth which underwent the procedure.
  • Brush and floss your teeth as you normally do.
  • If a temporary filling was placed on your tooth, it is common for a small amount to wear off in-between visits. If you feel that the entire filling has come out, contact our office.

Call the office immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Swelling that is visible either inside or outside your mouth.
  • Any type of allergic reaction to the medication, not including nausea.
  • Your original symptoms return.
  • It feels as if your bite is uneven.

Scaling and Root Planning

The procedure that is done to eliminate plaque and tartar deposits is called scaling and to polish the surface of the root, the treatment is called root planning. This allows the tissue of the gums to heal and become reattached to the teeth.

Things to expect following the procedure:

  • Discomfort – You may experience slight discomfort associated with throbbing or aching immediately following the procedure and it should diminish after 4 hours. If you experience discomfort from brushing, this should diminish within several days. If you should experience an itchiness to your gums, your dentist may suggest to use ibuprofen and for stiffness or swelling, a warm moist towel should be applied to the affected area.
  • Sensitivity – Some sensitivity to temperature or sweet foods can occur but should be temporary. To alleviate the sensitivity, brush the teeth to remove any plaque and apply a small amount of toothpaste for sensitivity. If the sensitivity continues, use a special toothpaste like Sensodyne to help with the pain. If the sensitivity lasts a long period of time, contact our office.
  • Bleeding – It is normal for slight bleeding to be present over the next 2 to 3 days during brushing and it should slowly diminish. If the bleeding is non-stop, contact our office.
  • Appearance – When the swelling of the gums goes down, the root surfaces may be exposed, resulting in possible space between the teeth. There are risks involved with scaling and root planning and they include the following:
    • Sensitivity to hot and cold
    • Sensitivity to sweets
    • Pain/Discomfort
    • Abscess
    • Injection Pain
    • TMJ
    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Throbbing
  • Following a scaling and planning procedure, refrain from smoking for 48 hours to let the healing take place.
  • Diet and Eating – Avoid eating hard foods like meat, raw vegetables, potato chips or popcorn for 3 to 4 days if extensive root planning was done, as this will cause discomfort. Typically the discomfort will go away within a few days. It is advisable that the first meal after the procedure consists of soft foods. However, avoid hot soup or hot beverages for the first 2 days.
  • Oral Hygiene – A 6 week re-evaluation is recommended after receiving treatment, and then proper cleanings every 3 to 4 months for the first year. If after you receive the treatment, any of your symptoms become severe or continue or you get an abscess, immediately contact our office.

Temporary Crown/Bridge

Until your permanent crown is placed on your tooth, it is very important that your temporary crown or bridge stays in place on your tooth. Contact our office promptly if at any time this temporary piece becomes loose or falls off. Within a matter of a few hours, teeth can shift, and if your temporary dental work is not in place, the other teeth can take the space up, leaving no room for your permanent crown. It is possible to experience sensitivity if you should loose or your temporary crown comes off.

Note: Avoid hard or chewy foods when there is temporary dental work in your mouth, chewy or hard foods can aid the temporary piece in coming loose or falling out.

If the temporary piece does become loose or come off, call our office and try to gently replace the piece over the tooth it was originally placed on. Make sure that you are flossing regularly, however, do not pull the floss back up through your teeth as you would normally, just pull the floss all the way through the teeth. If you feel as if the teeth that have had dental work done are imbalanced, please call our office so we can make sure to have this adjusted so you don’t experience any discomfort.

Teeth Whitening

In your kit there are a set of instructions to follow.

Normally, the full treatment takes around 2 to 3 weeks. This can take longer depending on if the treatment is interrupted for any reason.

Prior to each treatment visit, please make sure to floss and brush your teeth thoroughly. The whitening gel works better when it is in direct contact with your teeth and not having to fight with plaque buildup.

To be expected following a whitening session is mild sensitivity to cold liquids or air, this usually passes within a few days after treatment. If the sensitivity becomes severe or continues, stop using the whitening gel and call our office. Also contact our office if any gum irritation is experienced as we may have to adjust your tray.

Yellow stained teeth are the best candidates for whitening. If your teeth are gray, they may be more suited for veneers, as they are difficult to whiten and sometimes do not respond to whitening treatments.

Once completed, whitening results can be dramatic but it should be noted that this color with tone down a little after completion. This is natural and makes the teeth look normal. Over time, the results may vary from person to person depending on their personal habits like smoking or coffee drinking. A touch up treatment can be needed and usually take place every 3 to 6 months. We have kits available in our office for this.

Please remember to keep your 2 week follow up appointment so we can assess results of the whitening treatment and how your current dental work (crowns, fillings, etc.) is matching the new shade of your teeth. We may be able to make adjustments to old dental work to match your new bright smile.

Tooth-Colored Fillings, Veneers, Crowns and Bridges

The anesthesia you received during the procedure should wear off in 1 to 3 hours following the completion of your treatment. Do not chew on the side of your mouth that is numb until this wears off, this is to prevent biting your tongue or cheek. It is normal if your teeth that underwent this procedure are sensitive to hot and cold or pressure and this could last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If your teeth and gums are getting better and not worse, there is no need to worry.

You should have been given a prescription for ibuprofen (Motrin), this is not for pain, rather it is to help reduce the swelling and sensitivity in the treated area. If you find that you are allergic to, or cannot tolerate the medication prescribed, please contact our office so we can prescribe something different.

If after the anesthesia has worn off you feel as though the teeth that have been worked on are hitting first when you bite down, please contact us so we can make changes to alleviate the imbalance and discomfort.