Post-Operative Instructions

Post-Operative Instructions for Periodontal Therapy

  • If Novocain (local anesthetic) was used for the procedure, please be careful eating after the procedure until the numbness has worn off to avoid biting, burning, or injuring yourself while still feeling numb.
  • Avoid extreme temperature, food, and drink for the first few days as temperature sensitivity can be normal after treatment.
  • A soft diet is recommended for the first few days
  • Refrain from using tobacco products as it can delay healing
  • To help soothe the area, rinse the area 2-3 times a day for a week with warm salt water rinses
  • If needed for discomfort, you may take Ibuprofen or Tylenol as needed
  • If a local antibiotic (Arestin) was placed after treatments do not floss in that area for 2 weeks and then return to daily flossing. You may floss in other areas as normal and brush as normal.
  • If you have additional questions, contact our office so we may assist you!

Post-Operative Instructions for Composite Resin (Tooth-Colored) Fillings

  • Your new composite resin filling has its full strength before you leave our office, so you can eat, drink, and chew as soon as you would like.
  • Numbness from the local anesthesia (“novocain”) can take a few hours to wear off; use caution not to bite, burn, or injure yourself while still feeling numb.
  • It can be normal for a freshly restored tooth to have some sensitivity. If sensitivity persists beyond a few days, is intense with changes in temperatures, or is uncomfortable when chewing, contact our office during normal business hours so we can evaluate your discomfort. Occasionally, the bite needs to be adjusted after the numbness wears off, and we can do this quickly and comfortably without additional novocain.
  • The anesthetic injection site along with some irritation of the gum tissue during the procedure may result in some soreness for a few days. If this occurs, warm salt water rinses are helpful.
  • If you have additional questions, contact our office so we may assist you!

Post-Operative Instructions for Crown and Bridge

  • The purpose of your temporary crown is to protect the underlying tooth structure and maintain space for your real crown (or bridge).
  • Temporary restorations may leak saliva or food onto the tooth, this can sometimes cause sensitivity to hot, cold, pressure, or sweets. If you feel your temporary feels unbalanced please call the office and we can adjust it easily for you.
  • Your temporary restoration is made of a plastic material that can break or come loose. To avoid this, we recommend that you avoid chewing directly on your temporary.
  • If your temporary does come off, you can replace it on your tooth with Fixodent (denture adhesive) and call us during regular office hours. If you leave the temporary off for a lengthy time, your tooth may shift, making it difficult for the real crown to fit.
  • Soreness of the gums around your temporary as well as the anesthetic injection sight can be relieved with warm salt water rinses and Ibuprofen or Tylenol if needed.
  • Please call the office if you experience intense discomfort; it is not unusual for a tooth with extensive decay or tooth loss to need root canal therapy.

Use and Care of Sleep Appliance

  • Place upper and lower piece gently onto teeth by hand. Firmly press to ensure plate is seated securely and fits comfortably.
  • Do NOT bite down into place! This may cause clasping or soft layer distortion.
  • Once the upper and lower pieces are seated firmly in your mouth, make sure the appliance’s flat panels are in even contact throughout when the jaw is closed.
  • If appliance needs adjustments, call us to make an appointment during normal business hours.


  • After 4-6 weeks of wearing your oral appliance, a follow-up sleep test is necessary to monitor your progress. Appliances wear and may need replacement over 3-5 years.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is the temporary stoppage of breathing during sleep, often resulting in daytime sleepiness. People with undiagnosed sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night, and often as long as a minute. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by a blockage in the airway, usually when soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep.

With each apneic event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, although usually the individual is unaware of the “microarousals.” Consequently, sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality. Sleep appliances are designed to position the jaw in a way to maintain an open airway, allowing you to inhale and exhale more air per breath.

Post Extraction Instructions

During the first 24 hours:

  • Bite on provided gauze for 30-60 minutes after procedure. (Saliva in the mouth can make it look like there is more bleeding than there really is.)
  • Do not spit, suck on candies or through a straw, rinse your mouth, and do not brush or floss next to the extraction site.
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco for at least 72 hours because it will slow down the healing process.
  • Limit yourself to calm activities.
  • If you have any discomfort, take pain medication before your anesthetic wears off. To help with any potential swelling ice the area 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
  • Make sure to drink lots of fluids and eat soft nutritious foods making sure to chew on the opposite side of extraction site. If still numb be cautious to not bite yourself.

After the first 24 hours:

  • Rinse your mouth
  • Resume brushing and flossing and be gentle around the site for about a week.
  • If antibiotics were prescribed, continue taking them for the proper length of time.
  • To help reduce any swelling apply a cold compress or ice. You can also rinse your mouth with warm salt water 2-3 times a day. Swelling usually starts to go down after 48 hours.

Post-Op Teeth Whitening Instructions

  • Follow instructions included in your kit.
  • Total treatment time is usually 2-3 weeks. It may take longer, especially if treatment is interrupted.
  • Make sure to brush and floss prior to each treatment. The bleaching gel can work better if it is in contact with tooth rather than plaque build up.
  • Mild sensitivity to cold liquids or air may occur. This usually passes a few days after treatment is completed. You are welcome to take ibuprofen if needed. If the sensitivity is severe or persists, discontinue using the gel and contact our office.
  • If you experience any gum irritation, let us know. Your custom tray may need to be adjusted.
  • Teeth whitening works best on yellow stained teeth. Grey teeth are more difficult to whiten, or may not respond to treatment. Such cases may require porcelain veneers to achieve the desired results.
  • Results can be quite dramatic. However upon completion of the teeth whitening process, the color will “tone down” somewhat. This is normal and actually looks more natural.
  • Long term results vary from patient to patient. This can depend on many factors including habits such as smoking or coffee, tea, wine, cola, or certain berries.
  • “Touch-up” treatments may be needed and can usually be accomplished in 1 or 2 treatments of 1-2 hours each. A special touch-up kit is available at our office.
  • Existing fillings, crowns, bonding, etc. will not whiten. Therefore, these restorations may need to be changed in order to match your new smile.

What to Expect Following a Root Canal and Post-Op Instructions

  • Your tooth will be sensitive to biting pressure and may even appear to feel loose. This feeling is a result of the sensitivity/ inflammation of nerve-endings and surrounding tissue just outside the end of the root(s) that were treated. This is normal and will become progressively more comfortable within a few days.
  • You may feel a rough area (on the top surface of a back tooth or on the back surface of a front tooth), where the access was made and sealed with a temporary filling which seals and protects the root canal treatment from becoming re-infected between appointments. If the filling comes out it is important to call our office during normal business hours to replace it to ensure the root canal therapy remains protected.
  • A small percentage of patients may experience severe post-treatment pain and/ or swelling in the area that was treated. If this occurs, please call our office immediately so we may address this problem.
  • We recommend you take an analgesic medication for pain-relief within one hour of leaving our office to allow the medication to be effective before the anesthesia administered begins to wear off. Generally only a single dose is required; however, some people may require pain relieving medication over the next several days.
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) 400-800mg every 6 hours (not to exceed 3200mg/day) is recommended for patients able to take, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, or aspirin. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 1000mg every 6 hours (not to exceed 4000mg per day) is recommended for patients who are unable to take ibuprofen, non-steroidal medications, or aspirin.
  • Minimize chewing on the affected tooth until your root canal therapy is complete and we have placed a definitive restoration on your tooth. This is to avoid damage to the tooth.
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