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Post-op instructions

Follow the instructions given to you by the dentist to ensure proper healing and to avoid complications after oral surgery. As a rule, you should wait a minimum of two hours after surgery before eating to allow the anesthesia to wear off. Attempting to eat before the two hours have passed could result in soft tissue damage because you are not able to feel all of your mouth.
The instructions found below are guidelines. After surgery, the dentist or dental assistant will give you full instructions on how to properly recover.

Root Canal Surgery

Soreness in the mouth and jaw should be expected after a root canal for a few days. Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the procedure was performed so you do not irritate the area. Not chewing in the area of the surgery will also ensure that the temporary restorative material sets properly. An antibiotic may be prescribed to treat any remaining infection in your tooth. Call immediately if you notice an increasing amount of pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication or the loss of the temporary filling.

Crowns and Bridges

Before the finished crown/bridge is placed, a temporary restoration will be provided. Be careful when cleaning or eating because the temporary crown will not be as sturdy as the permanent one. Brush the area gently and try not to pull up on the tooth when flossing because it could become dislodged. When eating, avoid sticky or chewy foods while using the temporary.

You might experience some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will subside after the soft tissue heals. Rinsing with warm salt water will help, and you can take Advil or Tylenol to help with any pain.

After the permanent crown or bridge is placed, it may feel a bit awkward for a few days. Your mouth needs to adjust to the new tooth, and it should feel like a natural tooth in less than a week. Inform the dentist if your bite feels abnormal in any way. Caring for your bridge or crown is just like caring for your own teeth. Brush and floss regularly.

White Fillings (Bonding)

Your teeth are likely to be sensitive after the anesthesia wears off. Avoid hot and cold food or drink for a few days. After that initial period, the treated teeth will feel as good as new. Continue your normal hygiene plan to ensure the fillings last for a long time.

Scaling and Root Planing

For several days your gums will probably be slightly sore and irritated after this procedure. You should rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1 tsp salt/8 oz water) 2 or 3 times a day. This will relieve the pain and cleanse the area. Brushing and flossing should be continued immediately, but brush gently so the area does not become more irritated. If you experience any swelling or stiffness, place a cold compress on the area and take a pain reliever. Avoid any hard or chewy foods for 2 to 3 days to ensure the area heals. Contact your dentist if you are experiencing pain or the swelling continues for a few days.


Before the permanent veneer is ready, the patient will receive a temporary. As mentioned previously, the temporary will not be as sturdy as the permanent version, so be careful when cleaning and eating. You should brush the area gently and when flossing, do not pull up on the tooth because it could become dislodged. The same goes for eating. You should avoid sticky or chewy foods while wearing the temporary.

There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will subside after the tissue heals. Rinse with warm salt water and take Advil or Tylenol if the pain does not subside.

When the veneer is placed it may feel a little awkward for a while. Your mouth needs to adjust to the restoration, and it should feel like one of your natural teeth in less than a week. If your bite feels abnormal, let your dentist know. When brushing and flossing, pay close attention to the area between the veneer and the tooth at the gum line.


Anesthesia is generally required, so resting following the surgery is recommended. You will need to be driven home by a friend or family member. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed after the surgery. Gauze will be applied, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. Call the dentist if bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours. Do not lie flat while resting. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Your dentist will prescribe pain medication and it should be taken if the site is painful. An ice pack can be applied to the area for pain. Your dentist might also provide you with a solution to clean the extraction site.

You will be limited to soft foods for a few days. Some recommended foods are:

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Ice cream
  • Thin soups
  • … and any other foods you can eat without chewing.

When drinking, make sure not to use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen the sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly call your dentist immediately.