Post Treatment Care

Frequently Asked Questions


Tooth Extractions
Bite with light, steady pressure for about 30 minutes on the gauze placed in your mouth, at the office. Mild bleeding after surgery is normal…If you still have bleeding after 3-4 hours, raise your head higher than the rest of your body. Then bite with a firm pressure on a moist gauze pad or wet tea bag for 20 minutes. If bleeding does not stop call us at 301-577-6002.

  • Do not rinse or spit for 24 hours after surgery.
  • Keep fingers and tongue away from socket or surgical area.
  • In case of swelling, use ice packs on surgical area (side of face) for 4-5 hours, apply ice 20 minutes on – 10 minutes off. Bags of frozen peas work well.
  • For mild discomfort take Tylenol or Ibuprofen every four to six hours.
  • For severe pain use the prescription given to you.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. (Do not use a straw)
  • If the muscles of the jaw become stiff, chewing gum at intervals will help relax the muscles, as well as the use of warm, moist heat to the outside of your face over these muscles.
  • After the first post-operative day, use a warm salt-water rinse following meals for the first week to flush out particles of food and debris, which may lodge in the surgical area. (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Mouthwash can be added for better taste.) Rinsing is important because it removes food particles and debris from the socket area and thus helps prevent infection and promotes healing.
  • Diet may consist of soft foods, which can be easily chewed and swallowed. No seeds, nuts, rice, popcorn, chips, etc.
  • We suggest that you do not smoke for at least 5 days after surgery. Nicotine may break down the blood clot and cause a “dry-socket,” which is an undesirable side effect.
  • After 24 hours, some mild bleeding may persists. Continue to take your medication if pain persists.
  • After 24 hours, brush tongue with a dry toothbrush to keep bacteria growth down, but be careful not to touch the extraction site. Resume your regular tooth brushing, but avoid disturbing the surgical site so as not to loosen or remove the blood clot.
  • If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately at 301-577-6002

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Root Canal Post Operative Instructions
Refrain from eating for at least 2 hours and until the anesthesia has worn off to prevent possible injury to your lips and cheeks. This time interval will also allow the temporary filling to set to a reasonable hardness.
We expect your tooth to be sore to chewing and biting pressure so you should avoid very hard or chewy foods. This should gradually decrease within 7-10 days after treatment.
Be sure to take any antibiotic medication prescribed for you, as it will help the area to heal. An analgesic may also be recommended for your comfort and can be taken as directed
To protect the tooth and keep the temporary in place, avoid eating hard and sticky foods (gum) and if possible, chew on the opposite side of your mouth. Continue to brush and floss normally.
A crown or other final restoration should be placed within a short time interval after root canal therapy is completed unless we have advised you otherwise.

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Porcelain veneers Post Operative instructions

  • Do not eat until anesthesia has worn off, and for at least 2 hours
  • Sensitivity, especially to cold, is common for a time following treatment
  • Plastic temporary restorations will serve you for a short period of time while your permanent veneer is being made. They are attached only slightly to the underlying tooth so they can be removed easily. Avoid chewing foods such as gum or taffy.
  • If a veneer comes off, call us and we will replace it immediately. If you are in a situation that will not allow you to come in, place the temporary back in place with some Fixodent™ (denture adhesive). You must still see us as soon as possible.
  • The size, shape, and color of the temporary does not resemble the final veneer.
  • Temporary veneers may leak saliva or food onto the tooth. Sensitivity to hot, cold, pressure, or sweets is not uncommon. You may also see stains under the temporaries. These will be removed prior to final cementation.
  • Avoid heavy brushing of the temporaries and do not floss between them because you may pull them off.
  • Your final porcelain veneers will be as close to the natural beauty and function of teeth as possible. They look and feel normal in every way.

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Crowns and Bridges Post Operative Instructions
Please refrain from eating at least for 2 hours and until the anesthesia has worn off.

A temporary is a crown or bridge that is placed on the prepared teeth while the final restoration is being made. It protects the exposed dentin, so it is not sensitive, prevents food and bacteria from collecting on prepared teeth, and prevent the tooth from shifting and moving, which can make seating of the final restoration more difficult.

Temporaries are not strong. They may break or come off occasionally. If so, slip it back on the tooth with some Fixodent™ (Denture Adhesive) and call us for an appointment. Please do not leave the temporary out of your mouth, for an extended period because the teeth will move and the final restoration will not fit.

  • The size, shape, and color of the temporary does not resemble the final restoration.
  • Temporary restorations may leak saliva or food onto the tooth. Sensitivity to hot, cold, pressure, or sweets is not uncommon. If you feel the bite is not correctly balanced, please call for an appointment for a simple adjustment.

Permanent Crowns

After the final cementation of your restoration, it may take a few days to get used to the new crown or bridge. Hot and cold sensitivity is possible for a few weeks and occasionally lasts for several months. As with the temporary, if the bite doesn’t feel balanced please call us.

  • Do not chew hard or sticky foods on the restoration for 24 hours from the time they were cemented. The cement must set up during this time to have optimum strength.
  • Proper brushing, flossing, and regular 6-month (minimal) cleanings are required to help you retain your final restoration. The only area that a crowned tooth can decay is at the edge of the crown at the gum line. Often, small problems that develop around the restorations can be found at an early stage and corrected easily, but waiting for a longer time may require redoing the entire restoration.
  • Approximately 1 out of every 100 porcelain crowns chip and may need replacement.

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Composite or Tooth Colored Fillings Post Operative Instructions
Once we have restored your teeth with tooth-colored materials, these restorations will serve you well for several years. The resin (plastic) material used contains small “filler” particles of glass-like material for strength and wear resistance. They contain the finest and most up-to-date materials available today. However, you should be aware of the following information about your new restorations:

  • As with natural teeth, avoid chewing excessively hard foods on the filled teeth (hard candy, ice, raw carrots, etc.) because the resin material can break under extreme forces.
  • Composite fillings set up hard right away. There is no waiting time to eat. Children should be observed until the anesthetic wears off. Due to the strange feeling of the anesthetic, many children will chew the inside of their lips, cheeks, or tongue, which can cause serious damage.
  • The gum tissue could have been irritated during the procedure and may be sore for a few days together with the anesthetic injection site.
  • The finished restoration may be contoured slightly different and have a different texture than the original tooth. Your tongue usually magnifies this small difference, but you will become accustomed to this in a few days

When a tooth has a cavity the Dentist removes the decay and fills the hole with a filling material, the tooth supports the filling. The ideal filling is no more than 50% of the tooth. This leaves half the tooth to support the filling. When you get a cavity that takes up 60%or more of the tooth, a crown is indicated. A crown covers the entire tooth and holds the tooth together.

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Post Operative instructions after delivery of Dentures / Partials
The following suggestions are presented to assist you in learning to use and properly care for a new denture.
Sore Spots: Usually, your mouth will have a few “sore spots” after wearing the denture/partial for 24 hours. These areas can be relieved with very little effort during your next appointment.
Speaking: Learning to speak with your new dentures in place requires some patience and perseverance. Reading loud is a very good way to enunciate distinctly, especially those sounds or words that are not clear.
Chewing: The new bite may not feel completely comfortable for several weeks. We can adjust the contacting surfaces of your teeth after the dentures/partials have settled into place.

Hygiene of the Dentures/Partials and your Mouth: It is extremely important to clean you dentures by using a denture brush and a mild toothpaste. Periodic denture soaks once a week are also very useful (ex: Polident). We recommend leaving your partials out of your mouth at least for 6 hours and soaking in water. It is a good idea, not to sleep with your dentures. Food particles that are trapped under the denture can cause the inflammation of the gums and sore spots. Food particles will stick to soft tissue of your mouth; it is beneficial to brush the roof of your mouth and your tongue daily. Massaging and stimulating those tissues will reduce the incidence of inflammation and sore spots.

Partials only: Use special care to clean parts of the partial that contact any natural teeth. Both the partial and the natural teeth must be kept very clean on a daily basis to reduce the chance of new dental decay starting.

Be sure to check your dentures at least once annually as changes in the mouth, such as bone loss, and wearing of the teeth will inevitably occur. Careful maintenance of the dentures and the supporting soft tissues will help to slow down these changes.
We have done our best to provide you with well-fitted, functional, and esthetic dentures/partials. We feel confident that after a few weeks of becoming adjusted to the new dentures/partials, you will have years of satisfaction from them. Over time, your jawbone and gums shrink when there are teeth missing. When this occurs, your dentures/partials will feel loose and may require relining. Wearing ill-fitting dentures/partials for too long without refitting can cause severe bone loss and very serious oral disease. Please call our office if these symptoms occur.

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Scaling and Root Planning Post Operative Instructions
Scaling and root planning therapy is a procedure that involves removing bacterial plaque and tartar from the root surface below the gumline with instruments and ultrasonics. The goal of this treatment is to allow reattachment of the gums to the clean root surface and to shrink the periodontal pockets to levels that can be maintained by daily flossing and brushing. The following guidelines have been prepared for you in order to maximize healing and minimize any discomfort.

Refrain from eating for at least 2 hours and until the anesthesia has worn off.

Things to Avoid for the first 24 hours:

  • Vigorous physical exercise, but you may return to work
  • Drinking through a straw or sucking motions.
  • Do not smoke. It’s better to refrain for 48 hours.
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages will retard the healing process.
  • Food that is extreme in temperature or spicy.
  • Avoid using any strong mouthwashes that contain alcohol.

Things to Do:

  • You may take a non-aspirin analgesic to relieve any tenderness or discomfort, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Eat a well balanced soft diet for today. You may chew on the opposite side of the treated area until it is comfortable to chew normally.
  • Rinse with a warm salt water rinse, a 1 teaspoon in an 8 oz. glass of water, 3 times a day.
  • Brush your teeth very lightly in the treated area the first night. Then begin flossing lightly as well the next day, gradually increasing to normal force by the week’s end.
  • After flossing and brushing, rinse with periocheck if it was prescribed, for at least 60 seconds. Do this at least twice daily.

Several days after treatment your gums should begin to appear pinker, less swollen, and will bleed less when you floss. These are signs of healing and improving periodontal health. If you have any questions or problems, please call our office.

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Answers to FAQS

How many times a day should I brush and floss my teeth?
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. You should floss at least once a day.

What is the correct way to floss my teeth?
Using 12-18 inches of dental floss, hold a one-inch length between thumbs and forefingers of both hands. Gently slide the floss between your teeth, being careful not to “snap” the floss down between the teeth: snapping can cause gum damage. Once the floss is between your teeth, gently scrape it up and down against the side of each tooth to clean off plaque and debris. Repeat the process for all your teeth. Don’t forget to floss the back sides of your back teeth. If you have trouble flossing, your dentist can recommend other methods of cleaning your teeth.

What is the correct way to clean my children’s teeth?
First, use only a pea-sized amount of an American Dental Association-approved fluoride toothpaste. Second, gently pull back the child’s lip or cheek to expose the teeth. Third, angle bristles toward the gums and brush with a gentle circular motion. Brush all tooth areas, slightly overlapping each area with the others. After brushing, have the child spit out the toothpaste and rinse thoroughly.

Why do my gums bleed when I brush and floss?
Almost everyone occasionally experiences slight gum bleeding, but it is not normal and might indicate that you have gingivitis (inflamed, irritated gums) or periodontal disease (deterioration of the supporting gum and bone structure around your teeth). Warning signs of periodontal disease include red, swollen, or tender gums that bleed when you brush or floss; persistent bad breath; loose or separating teeth; a change in your bite; gums pulling away from teeth; or a change in the fit of a partial denture. If you have any of these symptoms, you should call our office for a consultation.

Why do I need dental X-rays?
In their early stages, dental cavities present few physical symptoms, and some dental problems can remain hidden until they become serious and well-advanced. Dental X-rays can help your dentist find and treat dental problems early, saving you time, money, discomfort, and your teeth. If you have a serious hidden problem, such as a tumor, early diagnostic X-rays can even save your life.

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How much radiation do I get when I have dental X-rays?
A full-mouth series of dental X-rays gives you about the same radiation dose as you get from naturally-occurring sources in 19 days of your everyday activities. Thus, the amount of radiation exposure you get from dental X-rays is so small that it poses no discernible risk to your health.

What causes cavities in teeth?
Bacteria are in your mouth all the time: that’s normal and healthy, because they help to digest your food. But when bacteria adhere to your teeth — and you don’t clean them off by regular brushing and flossing — they produce acid that starts to digest spots in the enamel surfaces of your teeth. These digested spots are cavities.

Why is fluoride important?
Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Without fluoride treatment, a tooth’s surface consists of tightly-packed hollow enamel rods that are susceptible to decay. Fluoride treatment fills in the hollow rods and strengthens the enamel, making teeth more resistant to decay. It can even repair small, early cavities that haven’t penetrated all the way through the enamel surfaces of your teeth.
Why bother treating cavities in baby teeth, since those teeth will fall out anyway?

Cavities are bacterial infections that should be treated. Some primary teeth (“baby teeth”) don’t fall out until about age 11, so it’s still important to repair cavities in them.

Why are my teeth sensitive (to heat, cold, or pressure)?
Sensitive teeth are a common problem and might not be a symptom of anything more serious. Before treating you for sensitive teeth,  your dentist will first make sure that there are no underlying dental problems causing your discomfort, such as a cavity, tooth grinding, or a dying or fractured tooth. If you have no serious problems, you can try a desensitizing toothpaste, or your dentist can apply in-office treatments such as fluoride or dental sealing.

Is there a gentle way to whiten my teeth?
Thanks to the development of gentle peroxides for dental bleaching. Your dentist can brighten your teeth, giving you a dazzling smile. Bleaching whitens all natural teeth and not just those that are stained or discolored. In many cases, even years of darkening can be removed in as little as a few weeks. It is also a good idea to whiten your teeth before getting crowns or veneers. That way, your restoration can be made whiter and your entire smile will be enhanced. Whitening can be redone in the future to maintain your bright smile.

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What is a crown?
A crown is a restoration that covers or caps a tooth to restore its normal shape and size. Its purpose is to strengthen a tooth or improve its appearance. Your dentist may recommend that you get a crown to support a large filling when there’s not much tooth structure remaining; to attach a bridge; to protect a weak tooth from fracturing; to restore a fractured tooth; to cover badly shaped or discolored teeth; or to cover a dental implant.

What is a bridge?
A bridge is a replacement tooth that is supported and attached by crowns on both sides of the empty space. When teeth are missing, the remaining teeth often drift out of position, putting stress on adjacent tissues and teeth. Chewing and speaking can become difficult. A bridge helps keep all your teeth and dental tissues healthy and in their proper positions.

What is a veneer?
faq.ht40Porcelain laminate veneers are a way to improve the appearance of your teeth and your smile. They usually require very little tooth reduction, because they are thin facings bonded only to the front of your teeth. In many cases, slightly-crooked teeth can even be cosmetically straightened with veneers, saving the time and expense of orthodontic treatment. Next to tooth whitening, there is no easier or more effective way than veneers to create a more appealing smile.

What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a device that substitutes for the root portion of lost natural teeth. Dental implants are generally placed in the jawbone to provide a stable foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and work just like your natural teeth.

Why (and when) should I wear an athletic mouthguard?
Each year, over five million teeth are knocked out in physical sports, and dental injuries are faq.ht41the most common type of orofacial injury in sport activities. To play hard — and still play safe — it’s wise to wear a custom-fitted mouthguard when your teeth are at risk. The lifetime dental rehabilitation costs for sport injuries can be several thousand dollars per tooth: as much as 20 times more than the cost of a custom laminated, professional grade, fitted mouthguard.

What should I do if a tooth is knocked out?

Do not scrub or clean the tooth. Put the tooth in milk or, if available, in a dilute solution of salt water. Then, see your dentist within the hour. The dentist may be able to reimplant the tooth back in its socket.

Are there any websites where I can receive additional information regarding oral health?
Yes. Please check out the internet websites for the following organizations: The American Dental Association (www.ada.org), The American Academy of Periodontology (www.perio.org), The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (www.adha.org), and/or The Academy of General Dentistry (www.agd.org).
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