Post-Op Instructions

The following instructions will help ensure proper healing and  avoid complications. As a rule of thumb, you should wait two hours after dental work before eating to let the anesthesia wear off. Trying to eat before this could result in soft tissue damage because you are not able to feel all of your mouth. The instructions found below are guidelines. After your surgery the doctor or dental assistant will give you full instructions on how to properly recover from surgery.

Root Canal Therapy

You can expect soreness after a root canal procedure for a few days. You should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed so you do not irritate the area. You may need to take an antibiotic to treat any remaining infection in your tooth. If you notice an increasing amount of pain or tenderness, please don’t hesitate to call the office.

Crowns/Bridges & Veneers

Before you receive your permanent crown/bridge you will first receive a temporary crown. This is not as strong as the permanent version, so you should be careful when cleaning and eating. You should brush the area gently and carefully floss, pulling the floss out to the side rather than pulling up or down to prevent loosening the temporary crown. The same goes for eating. You should avoid sticky or chewy foods while you have the temporary in place. If the temporary comes off, you want to try and place it back on the tooth as SOON as possible. If it doesn’t seem to fit correctly, DO NOT force it into place or try biting on it. Reorient the temporary by rotating it until it goes to place. A good way to know if it in the correct position is that it feels natural when you bite down.  During this process, notice how it has to be oriented to go back onto the tooth in the correct position, then dry the tooth and the inside of the crown.  Place a small amount of orthodontic wax or denture cream (found at your pharmacy or Walmart) inside the temporary and place it back on your tooth. You DO NOT want to leave the temporary off even if you are not having any pain because the adjacent and opposing teeth can move very quickly. If shifting does occur, it may require starting over and taking a new impression.  If the temporary is broken or you are unable to place it back on your tooth, please call the office.

There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will subside after the soft tissue heals. A warm saltwater rinse will help, and you can also take Advil or Tylenol if the pain does not go away.

When the permanent crown or bridge is cemented into place, it is not unusual for your tongue to take a while to get use to the new restoration. If your bite feels abnormal in any way, please call the office.

Fillings or Crowns

After the anesthesia wears off, it is not uncommon to have some cold sensitivity with the teeth that were worked on. This may be anywhere from a few days to a week. Time was taken to ensure that your bite was adjusted so that there is no excess force on the new restorations, but sometimes due to the fact that you were numb or open for a prolonged period, you were unable to bite like you normally do. The best way to determine if your bite is the cause for the sensitivity is to bite and grind without anything in your mouth. If you feel any excess pressure on the teeth that were just worked on, please call the office. A quick and simple adjustment to the new restorations is all that is needed.

Scaling and Root Planing

After this procedure your gums will be sore and irritated for a few days. You should rinse your mouth with warm saltwater (1 tsp salt/8 oz water) 2-3 times a day. This will relieve the pain and cleanse the area. Brushing and flossing should be continued right after the procedure, but you should brush gently so that you do not further irritate the area. If you experience any swelling or stiffness in the area, you can place a cold compress on the area and take some pain-relieving medicine. Avoid any hard or chewy foods for 2-3 days after the surgery to ensure the area heals correctly. You will also be dispensed Peridex mouth rinse. This will help heal and keep the gums healthy. Use this rinse until it is gone or until prescribed.


After the surgery you will need to rest. In some cases you need to be driven home by a friend or family member. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for up to 24 hours after surgery. Gauze will be given to you to be applied to the site at the completion of the surgery. If the gauze becomes saturated quicker than you expected, double up on the amount you are using, this will allow you to put more pressure on the site when you bite down. Change the gauze when it becomes saturated. If excessive bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours, please give us a call.  Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Pain medication should be taken with some food in your stomach. You may also be given an anti-nausea medication to be taken along with the pain medication. Take both as instructed. You can also use an ice pack for the pain.

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

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ice Cream
  • Thin Soups
  • …and other food you can eat without chewing.

When drinking, make sure you DO NOT use a straw. The sucking motion can dislodge the blood clot and can lead to prolonged discomfort. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly, please call our office.