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.

Immediately following surgery, keep the gauze pad placed over the surgical area with pressure applied by biting down 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 may control excessive bleeding. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. Repeat as necessary within a one-hour period following surgery.

If you have been prescribed pain medication besides 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. Do not take more than 800mg every 4-6 hours. Medication should not be taken on an empty stomach. If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the medicine as directed. Antibiotics may be prescribed to help prevent infection.

Swelling around the face, eyes and surgical site is not uncommon. This swelling may not appear until the day following the surgery and may become more noticeable two to three days following surgery. You can help to minimize the swelling by applying a cold compress on the face near the extraction site alternating on for 20 minutes then off for 20 minutes. After 36 hours the ice 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, carbonated and alcoholic beverages. During the first few days after surgery restrict your diet to liquids and soft foods such as soups, yogurt, juice, and smoothies. 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.

If any sutures were required, they will dissolve on their own in 7-10 days. It will not be necessary to return to the office for sutures to be removed. Children should be supervised after having an extraction to make sure they do not bite or their tongue or lips as it can cause serious injury to their soft tissue.

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.

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.

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.