Post-Op Instructions

Post-Op Dental Treatment Charlestown RI

Most dental procedures do not create unwanted post-operative discomfort but when encountered an over the counter anti-inflammatory like Advil, aspirin or Motrin should be sufficient to address the pain.

As in any dental procedure in which local anesthetic has been used please wait for its effects to wear off completely before you eat. This is to avoid accidentally biting numbed soft tissue in your mouth. Unless told otherwise you may eat normally after the numbness has worn off.

Please remember to follow all instructions given to you following your dental treatment.

Additional instructions for specific dental procedures are given below; simply click on the procedure to learn more.

You can always call our office with questions or clarification on post-operative instructions regarding your treatment.


In the event of life threatening conditions such as severe infection or allergy, please call 911 or visit the emergency room.

As in any dental procedure in which local anesthetic has been used please wait for its effects to wear off completely before you eat. This is to avoid accidentally biting numbed soft tissue in your mouth. Unless told otherwise you may eat normally after the numbness has worn off.
Depending on the extent of the filling and amount of decay present you may experience some post-operative sensitivity. This is usually temporary and can be addressed by taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil.

In the unlikely event you experience severe pain or swelling please call our office.

Sometimes when the anesthetic wears off you may realize that the bite is not correct and the filing may be too high. We carefully check your bite before you leave but if the bite feels noticeable high after the anesthetic feeling wears off please call our office as it will likely need to be adjusted. The filling will not wear down on its own.

Root canal therapy often takes two or more appointments to complete. A temporary filling or crown is placed to protect the tooth between appointments. After each appointment when anesthetic has been used, your lips, teeth, and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.
Between appointments it is common (and not a problem) for a small portion of your temporary filling to wear away or break off. If the entire filling falls out, or if a temporary crown comes off, call us so that it can be replaced.

It’s normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a root canal appointment, especially when chewing. To control discomfort, take pain medication as recommended. To further reduce pain and swelling, rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a tsp of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit).

If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them as prescribed, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone. To protect the tooth and help keep your temporary in place, avoid eating all sticky foods (especially gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth. It’s important to continue to brush and floss normally.

Usually, the last step after root canal treatment is the placement of a crown on the tooth. A crown covers and protects the tooth from breaking in the future. If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent swelling or pain, or if you have nay other questions or concerns, please call our office.

As in any dental procedure in which local anesthetic has been used please wait for its effects to wear off completely before you eat. This is to avoid accidentally biting numbed soft tissue in your mouth. Unless told otherwise you may eat normally after the numbness has worn off.
During your first appointment for a crown or bridge a temporary restoration was placed over your tooth. We only use a temporary cement to secure it so we can remove it easily at your next appointment. It is important that you avoid things that could dislodge it. Avoid chewing on tacky foods; avoid very hard crunchy foods as the temporary crown is only plastic. When you floss pull the floss out from the side instead of pulling it down. If the temporary crown or bridge feels high or does come off please call our office and we will arrange to have it re-cemented back on.

You may experience some sensitivity following your appointments, this is usually temporary and is easily treated with an over the counter medication like Advil or Motrin.

Your permanent crown and bridge can be treated as a normal tooth. You can floss and brush normally. The bite should feel normal, if it feels high after using it for a few days please call our office.

In the unlikely event of continued sensitivity, loosening or swelling please call our office.

Remember that it will take time to adjust to the feel of your brand new bite. When the bite is altered or the position of the teeth is changed it takes several days for the “brain” to recognize the new position of your teeth or their thickness as normal. If you continue to detect any high spots or problems with your bite, call us so we can schedule an adjustment appointment.
It’s normal to experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity. Removing tooth structure and placement of new materials may result in a period of adjustment. Your gums may also be sore for several days. Rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a tsp of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit) to reduce pain and swelling. Mild pain medication should ease your discomfort during the adjustment period.

Don’t be concerned if your speech is affected for the first few days. You’ll quickly adapt and be speaking normally. You may notice increased salivary flow. Your brain may respond to the new size and shape of your teeth by increasing salivary flow. This should subside to normal within a week or two.

Daily plaque removal is critical for the long term success of your dental work. Maintain a regular oral hygiene route. Daily brushing and flossing is a must. Regular cleaning appointments in our office are also critically important. We’ll use the appropriate cleaning abrasives and techniques for your specific cosmetic work.

It’s important to change habits to protect your new teeth. Any food that could chip, crack, or damage your natural teeth can do the same to your new cosmetic restorations. Avoid sticky candies, any unusually hard foods substances, (such as peanut brittle, fingernails, pencils, or ice). Avoid or minimize your use of foods that stain such as tea, coffee, red wine and berries. Smoking will quickly yellow your teeth.

Let us know if you grind your teeth at night or engage in sports so we can make you a custom mouthguard. Adjusting to the look and feel of your new smile will take time. If you have any problems or concerns, we always welcome your questions. Thank you very much for choosing Arrowhead Dental Associates for your dental treatment.

After an extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30 to 45 minutes after extraction. If bleeding or oozing continues after you remove the gauze pad, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another thirty minutes. You may have to do this several times.

After the blood clot forms it is important to protect it especially for the next 24 hours.

So Don’t:
  • Smoke
  • Suck through a straw
  • Rinse your mouth vigorously
  • Clean the teeth next to the extraction site

These activities will dislodge the clot and slow down healing. Limit yourself to calm activities for the first 24 hours, this keeps your blood pressure lower, reduces bleeding, and helps the healing process.

After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and have some swelling. You can use an ice bag to keep this to a minimum. The swelling usually starts to go down after 48 hours.

Use pain medication only as directed, call the office if it doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluid and eat only soft nutritious foods on the day of the extraction. Don’t use alcoholic beverages and avoid hot and spicy foods. You can begin eating normally the next day or as soon as it is comfortable.

Gently rinse your mouth with salt water three times a day beginning the day after the extraction (a tsp of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit). Also, rinse gently after meals, it helps keep food out of the extraction site. It is very important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours; this should include brushing your teeth and tongue and flossing at least once a day. This speeds healing and helps keep your breath and mouth fresh.

Call us right away if you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling after two or three days, or a reaction to the medication. After a few days you will be feeling fine and can resume your normal activities.

Remember to wait for all effects of local anesthetics and IV sedation to wear off before eating solid foods, liquids are ok. This is to avoid accidentally biting numb soft tissue.
Bleeding normally stops within an hour of surgery. If it persists or resumes it can usually be stopped by wadding up the extra cotton gauze you were given and placing it over the extraction site where bleeding is coming from, place firm biting pressure. A few tea bags soaked in cold water can also be used. Generally, 20-30 minutes of pressure from the gauze or tea bag will stop any bleeding. If bleeding persists please call our office.

While not common the most likely unwanted side effects from surgery are pain, bleeding, dry socket and infection. Depending on the extent of your surgery, sutures may have been placed. It is normal to feel the loose ends, they are not falling out. If they are re-sorbable they will disappear, if not you will have an appointment to have them removed.

Post-operative pain is not unusual after surgery. You may have been given a stronger pain medication. Please follow the directions and do not combine it with additional over the counter pain medications unless instructed to do so.

After extraction blood clots form in the extraction site stopping the bleeding and allowing normal healing. It is important not to disturb or displace the clots in the first few days. Avoid aggressive brushing or drinking from straws. Do not attempt to clean the extraction site it is best left alone.

Dry socket is when the blood clot is lost from the extraction site causing delayed healing and persistent pain during the healing process, this is not an infection. Please call our office and we will give you a healing gel to apply.