Post-Op Instructions



General Guidelines for all procedures:

Avoid hard or sticky foods such as “hard tack” candies for a least 24 hours as chewing on these types of foods can loosen or damage a restoration. Never chew on ice. Carefully follow all guidelines provided by our office, and, most importantly, practice good oral hygiene. Additional instructions following various types of treatment are listed below. Please click on the below topics for detailed instructions. In the event of an emergency please call our office. If you are experiencing a serious or life threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.


Following Tooth Preparation:  Sensitivity and tenderness of the tooth and surrounding gums is common for the first day or two after a tooth has been prepared for a restoration. If the tenderness or sensitivity lasts longer than this, please contact our office. If anesthesia is used, avoid chewing, biting, and eating until the numbness wears off. The final restoration may be placed the same day that the tooth is prepared or may be placed during a separate appointment.

For Temporary Restorations:  Eat softer foods, and avoid foods that are particularly crunchy, chewy, or hard. Carefully clean around the restoration, brushing and flossing daily.  Be gentle when flossing, taking extra care not to loosen the temporary restoration. Slowly pulling the floss out by one end can help avoid putting too much pressure on the temporary. If the temporary restoration becomes loose or breaks, please call us immediately.

After Final Restoration Placement:  Avoid chewing on hard, crunchy, or sticky foods for 24 hours in order to give time for the cement to fully bond. Mild sensitivity to hot or cold foods is not unusual and should dissipate after a few weeks. If sensitivity lasts more than six weeks, please let the office know.

Ongoing Care:  Proper care of your restoration includes brushing your teeth after every meal and snack, and flossing at least once a day before bedtime. Rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash with also help to remove any additional particles that may have been missed during brushing and flossing.

Please call our office if you are in pain or have any questions regarding your treatment.

Do not eat or chew until any numbness from anesthesia has worn off. If you are supervising a child who has had treatment, make certain that they are not eating or chewing while numb. Please make sure they do not bite their lips or tongue as doing so can cause serious injury to their soft tissue. Avoid sticky, crunchy, or hard foods for 24 hours.

Sensitivity to cold and heat, as well as any soreness, should not last more than a few days. Please call our office if you experience pain or discomfort for more than a few days.

Dentures and partials will often need several adjustments in order to fit comfortably. To help yourself adjust to your dentures you can practice reading aloud for a little while each day. Dentures should be removed overnight or for at least 6 hours a day to give your mouth and gums time to rest. At night you should remove your dentures and clean them. They should be stored in a clean container filled with denture cleaning solution. Food particles can become trapped under dentures causing inflammation or sore spots. Lightly brush the roof of your mouth, your tongue, and your gums after removing your dentures. You may have discomfort for a few days after receiving your final dentures or partials.

Ongoing care of your denture or partial includes brushing your teeth and the surrounding tissues after every meal and snack and flossing at least once a day before bedtime.  If you have full dentures,  brushing the dentures daily is very important. Rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash will help to remove any additional particles that may have been missed during brushing and flossing.

Make sure to visit our office at least once a year to have your dentures or partial adjusted and checked by the doctor. Wearing ill-fitting dentures or partials without proper care and adjustment can cause bone loss in the jaw area and oral disease. Please call our office if you are experiencing ongoing pain or discomfort or if you have any concerns regarding your denture or partial.

Following scaling and root planning, you can expect to notice less redness, less bleeding and less swelling of your gum tissue. Your mouth will taste better and feel better. Your gum health can then be maintained with proper home care and regular professional care.

DISCOMFORT
Discomfort or pain should not be acute and should subside in a few hours, definitely within a few days. Discomfort immediately after treatment is usually associated with slight throbbing or aching and occasionally may be uncomfortable. This discomfort usually subsides in about four hours.

TOOTH SENSITIVITY
Teeth may be sensitive to temperature changes and/or sweets. The sensitivity to temperature may be noticeable the first several days and usually diminishes quickly. Application of a desensitizing fluoride should be used daily.

BLEEDING
Some slight bleeding may occur during the next several brushings but the bleeding should steadily decrease.

APPEARANCE
As the gums heal, they may change their shape around the teeth. This is normal as they tighten.

INSTRUCTIONS TO MINIMIZE SYMPTOMS

DIET/EATING
If extensive root planning was performed, chewing hard foods, such as meat or raw vegetables may be uncomfortable. This should last no longer than a few days. A diet of a softer consistency would be advised until chewing becomes more comfortable.

DISCOMFORT/SENSITIVITY
If a local anesthetic was used, avoid chewing foods until feeling returns to avoid injury to the tongue or cheeks. Acetaminophen or a non-aspirin analgesic should be taken as recommended to reduce discomfort. If tooth sensitivity persists, use a desensitizing toothpaste containing potassium nitrate. If the sensitivity is severe and prolonged, professional application of a desensitizing agent may be required.

ORAL HYGIENE
If gum tissues are tender, brush your teeth gently but thoroughly. This may take a little more time than normal. By the second to third day, normal oral hygiene techniques may be resumed, including the use of your rechargeable battery operated toothbrush. Mouth rinsing is recommended with either of the following solutions: 1) an anti-microbial rinse, 2) a warm salt-water rinse. Use of either of these rinses should be limited to one to two consecutive weeks.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTONS
If symptoms are severe or persistent, please call our office immediately:  301-933-3903

Please follow the guidelines below and contact us with any questions.

  1. No eating or drinking for the first 30 minutes following your treatment. Also avoid feeling around your tooth with your tongue. This is to allow the temporary filling sufficient time to harden.
  2. If you were given any prescriptions, please have them filled promptly and take as directed. If no prescriptions were given, you may choose to take ibuprofen medications such as Motrin or Advil (as long as you do not have any allergies to these medications) for alleviation of discomfort and swelling.  Alternatively, you may use Tylenol.  Do not exceed the guidelines printed on the label for any medication.  If you are unable to achieve adequate pain control, please call our office.
  3. Applying a cold compress to the face near the treatment area will help minimize swelling. If using an ice pack, please do not apply ice directly to your skin but place a cloth between the ice and your skin at all times. You may apply the cold compress for up to 20 minutes on and at least 20 minutes off for the next 6-8 hours as needed.
  4. Once you resume eating and drinking, avoid chewing or biting on the treatment area until your permanent restoration is placed. The temporary filling or crown placed immediately following root canal treatment is usually a soft composite that is vulnerable to fracturing (cracking).  For this reason, it is important to avoid chewing on hard substances such as peanuts, pretzels, hard candy, ice cubes, etc.. You may experience increased sensitivity prior to the placement of the final restoration.  You will need to see a restorative dentist within a month to have a permanent crown or filling placed.  Please contact your restorative dentist to make an appointment at your earliest convenience.  Waiting longer than a month increases the chances that the temporary will fracture or that decay will develop in the affected area.
  5. Please keep the treated area clean by gently brushing and flossing regularly.
  6. It is rare for a temporary filling to fall out although it may divot while in use.  If the temporary falls out, please contact your general dentist as soon as possible.  If your temporary falls out after office hours, you may purchase some temporary filling material from a pharmacy and follow the included instructions to cover the area until you can be seen in our office.
  7. Some discomfort is normal for 2 to 4 days following root canal therapy.  In some cases the tooth and surrounding tissue may be sore for a few weeks following treatment.
  8. Please brush and floss as usual unless otherwise instructed by our office. Follow any other instructions provided by our office during your visit. Please take all medications as prescribed.

THIS SECTION IS VERY IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

While flare-ups are rare, they occur in about 5% of cases and may cause significant pain.  They generally only occur with teeth that are extremely irritated and/or infected or with teeth that have a history of prior treatment.  These sometimes occur randomly, even on patients that have had root canals done in the past without problems.  If you have a flare-up, you may experience moderate to severe pain, swelling, throbbing, or general discomfort; please contact our office right away.  You may be prescribed additional medication such as antibiotics, and/or you may be asked to come to the office for further treatment.

  • Immediately following surgery, maintain pressure on the surgical area by biting down on the provided gauze pad or roll until the bleeding stops. A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following a surgical procedure. Placing the gauze pad over the area and biting firmly will help prevent excessive bleeding. Replace the gauze as necessary until the bleeding stops.
  • Children should be supervised after having an extraction to make sure they do not bite or chew their tongue or lips as this can cause serious injury to the soft tissue.
  • Please fill any prescriptions you have been given and take as directed. If you have been prescribed pain medication other than aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), do not drive, operate heavy equipment, work around machinery or tools, or engage in any other activity that may be unsafe when groggy, as your reflexes and judgment will be affected by the medication. Antibiotics may be prescribed to help prevent infection. If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the medicine as directed.
  • Swelling around the face, eyes, and surgical site is not uncommon although it may not appear until the day following the surgery and may become more noticeable two to three days following surgery. Applying a cold compress to the face near the extraction site will help minimize swelling. If using an ice pack, please do not apply ice directly to your skin but place a cloth between the ice and your skin at all times.  You may apply the cold compress for up to 20 minutes on and at least 20 minutes off as needed. After 36 hours the cold compress will have no further impact on swelling. After this period, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face can help reduce swelling.
  • For 24 hours following your surgery, do not suck on a straw, brush, rinse, spit, or smoke. Avoid hot and spicy foods as well as carbonated and alcoholic beverages.
  • Restrict your activities on the day of your surgery. Avoid excessive work or play, and resume normal activity the following day as tolerated.
  • After the first day, gently rinse with a warm salt water rinse, approximately one-half teaspoon of salt in an eight ounce glass of water, three times a day.
  • During the first few days after surgery restrict your diet to liquids and soft foods such as soups, yogurt, juice, and smoothies.
  • Sutures may have been placed. Most sutures placed by our office will dissolve on their own in 7-10 days, and it may not be necessary to return to the office for sutures to be removed. If you have sutures that do need a follow-up visit for removal, we will let you know at the time they are placed.
  • Please call our office if you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding or swelling, or if you have any questions or concerns. In the event of an emergency please call our office. If you are experiencing a serious or life threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.
For the First 48 Hours Following Bleaching:
Teeth are more susceptible to staining for the first 48 hours following bleaching treatments. For the first 48 hours after whitening, it is best to avoid dark-colored foods or beverages that can stain your teeth. Any item that can stain your clothes can also stain your teeth.

Avoid: Berries, cola or other dark sodas, red wine, coffee and tea, tobacco, and ketchup, soy or other dark sauces.

Using Your Custom Trays:
Follow the instructions given by our office, placing the bleaching gel in the center of each tooth position on the tray so that the gel will rest against the anterior surface of the teeth once it is placed in your mouth. Wear trays for the recommended time. Rinse the mouth, and gently remove any gel remaining on your teeth with a soft bristle toothbrush. Clean the trays.

  • Some pain, bleeding, swelling, and seeping are normal following oral surgery. Please do not try to view the site by pulling on your lip and do not probe the area with your tongue or fingers. If you experience excessive bleeding or discomfort after 48-72 hours, please call our office immediately.
  • You can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen according to the instructions on the label or those provided by our office as needed.
  • Swelling around the face, eyes, and surgical site is not uncommon and may become more noticeable two to three days following surgery. Applying a cold compress to the face near the implant site will help minimize swelling. If using an ice pack, please do not apply ice directly to your skin but place a cloth between the ice and your skin at all times.  You may apply the cold compress for up to 20 minutes on and at least 20 minutes off as needed. After 36 hours the cold compress will have no further impact on swelling. After this period, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face can help reduce swelling.
  • A warm salt water rinse, approximately ½ teaspoon in an eight ounce glass of water, three times a day can be helpful.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth near the surgery site but brush and floss the rest of your mouth as instructed by our office.
  • For 24 hours following your surgery, do not suck on a straw, brush, rinse, spit, or smoke.
  • For the first 24 hours you may experience some cold and heat sensitivity. Avoid hot and spicy foods as well as carbonated and alcoholic beverages.
  • Restrict your activities on the day of your surgery. Avoid excessive work or play, and resume normal activity the following day as tolerated.
  • After the first day, gently rinse with a warm salt water rinse, approximately one-half teaspoon of salt in an eight ounce glass of water, three times a day.
  • During the first few days after surgery restrict your diet to liquids and soft foods such as soups, yogurt, juice, and smoothies.
  • Follow any other instructions provided by the office on your visit. Please take all medications as prescribed including your prescribed antibiotics to help prevent infection.
  • If you have a denture that overlaps the implant site, please minimize the use of the denture following surgery to allow the site to heal. After the first week, you should be able to gradually increase the amount of time you can wear your denture.
  • It is extremely important to keep your follow up appointment(s) so that we can monitor the healing process.
  • If pain and swelling are increasing after a few days, please call our office right away.
Care of the mouth after surgery has an important effect upon healing. Swelling, discomfort and restricted jaw function are expected, and so need not to cause alarm. These may be minimized by the following instructions. Please read them carefully. It is strongly urged that they be followed.

CONTROL OF BLEEDING: DO NOT rinse your mouth today as this may dislodge the blood clot and interrupt normal healing. You should place one or two of the provided gauze pads over the surgery site(s) and bite down with firm, even pressure to stop the bleeding. The gauze pads should be changed every 30 minutes until they are no longer needed. Slight bleeding is expected and desirable. If bleeding is excessive, place a roll of sterile gauze or a moistened tea bag over the area and bite firmly for 30-60 minutes with CONSTANT pressure. Assume a semi-upright bed position using two pillows. It is normal for the bleeding to persist for several hours, noticeable gradually decreasing upon changing the gauze.

DIET: After the bleeding has slowed and the gauze is no longer needed, begin by sipping on room temperature tea or soda. No hot foods for the first 24 hours. You should eat high protein soft foods (i.e.…pasta, noodles, tuna, egg salad, yogurt) until you can manage your regular diet in a few days. It is important to keep up your dietary intake. Taking pain medication on a full stomach will lessen the incidence of vomiting.

PAIN CONTROL: Have your prescription filled and take as directed. Never take medication on an empty stomach. If you develop hives or a rash, or any ill effects from the antibiotics or pain medicine, discontinue its use and contact us so we can give you further instructions. Pain medication may cause drowsiness, do not operate heavy machinery.

SWELLING: Apply an ice bag to your face over the operated area as soon as possible and continue for 24 hours (20 minutes on 20 minutes off). This should be continued for a MINIMUM of 6 hours. After 24 hours, you will not significantly benefit from continued use of ice. Swelling is to be expected and so should not be cause for alarm. It normally takes 48-96 hours for swelling to peak, and will take several days from then to subside.

NAUSEA: Lying down after anesthesia or after taking medication will prevent most nausea (leading to vomiting). If nausea or vomiting occurs, try drinking lukewarm tea or soda until the stomach settles and avoid being upright or walking around.

ORAL HYGIENE: The day after surgery, the mouth may be rinsed gently with warm salt water – 1 teaspoon of salt in a large glass of warm water after every meal. Continue warm salt water rinses for at least 7 days. The teeth may be brushed beginning the day after surgery, but be careful to avoid the area(s) of surgery.

SMOKING, SPITTING AND DRINKING WITH A STRAW IS TO BE AVOIDED FOR 5 DAYS AFTER SURGERY TO AVOID DRY SOCKET.

Orthodontic Aftercare


Orthodontic Aftercare
  • To place your aligners over your teeth:
    • Use your fingers to put your aligners place. First place the aligners over your front teeth, and then use your fingers to push the aligner down gently over your molars. When aligners are correctly inserted, they will fit all the way down on the teeth, with no space between the top of the aligners and the top of the teeth. Aligners will fit tightly at first but should fit well at the end of the two week period.
  • You can remove the aligner by pulling it off both sides of your back teeth simultaneously then lifting it off of your front teeth.
  • Be sure to always place your aligners in the case we provided any time they are not being worn.
  • Wear each set of aligners for two weeks unless our office directs you to vary from this schedule.
  • Wear aligners in the correct numerical order. (Each aligner is labeled by number and with a U or an L to designate upper or lower)
  • Keep all of your old aligners and bring them to your orthodontic appointments.
  • If you lose the tab attached to your tooth that helps the aligner snap on, please call our office right away so that we can determine if you need to come in before your next scheduled appointment.
  • If you lose one of your aligner trays, please wear the next tray if you have it. If you do not have the next tray, please wear the previous tray. It is extremely important to use a tray to keep teeth from shifting. Call our office to let us know which tray was lost so that we can determine if a replacement tray is needed. There will be a fee if replacement trays are required.
Please remove the aligners each time you eat, which will allow you to continue to eat all the foods you love without any restrictions or worrying about food getting stuck in wires and brackets. With other orthodontic treatment options, the simple act of eating can often be troublesome.

It’s also best to remove the aligners when drinking warm beverages such as coffee or tea to avoid heating the aligner material.

To brush and floss your teeth, please remove the aligners by pulling them off both sides of your back teeth simultaneously before lifting them off of your front teeth.

Once the aligners have been removed, you can easily and thoroughly brush and floss your teeth. Once you have finished brushing and flossing, be sure to clean your aligners before placing them back in your mouth.

Please clean your aligners both morning and night to remove bacteria. You can clean your aligners with a toothbrush and toothpaste or the Invisalign Cleaning Kit.

Do not use Denture cleaner, alcohol, or bleach to clean your aligners.

If you are active in contact sports, wearing Invisalign clear aligners means that you can play without the worry of oral injury from sharp brackets. If your sport requires a protective mouthguard, simply remove your aligners and place them in a case while you are playing!
  • Do not place your aligners in or on a napkin or tissue. Many aligners have accidentally been thrown out this way!
  • Do not use your teeth to “bite” your aligners into place.
  • If you have pets, do not place your aligners anywhere that your pets can reach them. Pets are attracted to saliva and would enjoy chewing on your Invisalign® trays!
  • Do not use boiling water or warm water on your aligners.
  • Don’t chew gum with your aligners in.
  • It would be best not to smoke while wearing aligners. The smoke can stain the aligners as well as your teeth.