Post-Operative Instructions

Crowns and Bridges

Crowns and bridges usually require two or three appointments to complete. During the first appointment, the teeth are prepared. Temporary crowns or bridges are placed to protect the teeth while the custom restoration is being made.

After each appointment when anesthetic has been used, your lips, teeth, and tongue may be numb for several hours. Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.

On rare occasions, temporary crowns come off. Call us if this happens and keep the temporary so we can re-cement it. It is vital for the proper fit of your final restoration that temporaries remain in place.

It’s normal to experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity after each appointment. Your gums may be sore for several days. Rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit) to reduce pain and swelling. Use medication only as directed.

To help keep your temporary in place, avoid eating sticky foods (especially gum) and hard foods. If possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth. It’s essential to continue to brush normally, but floss very carefully and remove the floss from the side to prevent removal of the temporary crown.

If your bridge feels uneven, you experience persistent pain, or you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office.


Below are the “do’s and don’ts” of orthodontics (foods to eat and avoid).


  1. Keep your teeth and gums extra clean
  2. Stop all bad habits: thumb sucking, fingernail biting, pen and pencil chewing
  3. Take extra good care of your braces and all appliances
  4. If you have a sweet tooth, there are still several sweets you may eat that will not break braces. Hershey bars, Three Musketeers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Lifesavers, and lollipops are safe in moderation.

Don’ts (foods that definitely break braces)

  1. Don’t chew gum.
  2. Don’t eat hard, sticky, or chewy foods such as hard candy bars, Jolly Ranchers, or gummy bears.
  3. Don’t chew meats off the bone: (pork chops, steak, spare ribs, chicken, etc.).
  4. Don’t eat raw fruits or vegetables (apples, carrots, peaches, celery, pears, and plums) without cutting them up finely.
  5. Don’t eat corn on the cob without cutting it off the cob first.
  6. Don’t eat hard bagels or hoagie rolls.
  7. Don’t eat popcorn.
  8. Don’t eat hard or soft pretzels.
  9. Don’t suck on lemons.
  10. Don’t chew on ice or nuts.
  11. Don’t eat pizza crust. The soft middle is OK but the hard crust can break braces.
  12. Don’t play with your braces or appliances.

Root Canal Therapy

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. 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 a temporary crown comes off, call us so 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 reduce pain and swelling further, rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a teaspoon 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 criticial 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, you experience persistent swelling or pain, or you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office.

Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)

To minimize the discomfort and encourage proper healing after your scaling and root planing, follow these instructions:

  • After the procedure, take aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or ibuprofen (Advil®) before the anesthetic wears off. Continue to take one tablet every four hours for the next two days.
  • A salt-water solution (1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon soda + 8 ounces warm water) swished in your mouth for two to three minutes every hour may make your mouth more comfortable.
  • Use a soft toothbrush at least two times a day. Be gentle and clean thoroughly. Slight bleeding may occur during brushing as the tissues begin to heal.
  • Avoid strong, spicy seasonings and hard crunchy foods for the next few days.
  • Smoking should be stopped. Success of the treatment will be substantially reduced by the cigarette smoke chemicals in your body.
  • As the tissues heal, some temporary sensitivity to cold may occur. Use a desensitizing toothpaste (such as Sensodyne®), or fluoride gel (such as Prevident® or Gel-Kam®) frequently (at least four times/day) for one to two weeks. Also, the cleaner the teeth are kept, the less sensitive they will be.
  • Faithfully use any other oral hygiene aids that have been recommended (floss, Perio-Aid®, rubber tip, Sonicare®, Proxabrush®, Gel-Kam® fluoride, Peridex® mouthrinse, etc).

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office.

Tooth Extraction

DO NOT DISTURB THE AREA: For the next: few days, and especially the first 24 hours, it is vital to allow your body to form a good clot and start the natural healing process. Swishing, sucking through a straw, and smoking can all dislodge a clot. Keep anything sharp (crunchy food, toothpicks, eating utensils) from entering the wound. Be sure to chew on the opposite side for 24 hours.

BLEEDING: When you leave the office, you might be biting on a gauze pad to control bleeding. Keep slight pressure on this gauze for at least 30 minutes. Don’t change it during this time; it needs to remain undisturbed while a clot forms in the extraction socket. After 30 minutes, you may remove it. You may apply another gauze or a tea bag for another 30 minutes if you feel it is still bleeding. Small amounts of blood in the saliva can make your saliva appear quite red. This is normal and may be noticeable the rest of the day after the procedure.

SMOKING: Smoking should be stopped following surgery. Healing and success of the surgery will be substantially reduced by the cigarette smoke chemicals in your body. Also, the suction created when one inhales a cigarette can dislodge the clot. Smokers are at greater risk of developing a painful dry socket.

PAIN: Some discomfort is normal after surgery. To minimize pain, take two Tylenol, Nuprin, Advil, or similar non-aspirin pain reliever every three to four hours until bedtime to maintain comfort. Take it before the anesthesia wears off. If prescription pain medication is prescribed, take it as instructed on the label. Don’t exceed the dose on the label. Taking it with food or milk will help reduce upset stomach. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery when you are using pain prescriptions. Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications.

NAUSEA: This is most often caused by taking pain medications on an empty stomach. Reduce nausea by preceding each pain pill with soft food, and ingesting the pill with a large glass of water.

SWELLING: Applying an ice bag to the face over the operated area will minimize swelling. Apply for 15 minutes, then remove for 15 minutes. Continue this over the first day.

NUMBNESS: The local anesthetic will cause you to be numb for several hours after leaving the office. Be very careful not to bite, chew, pinch, or scratch the numb area. Sometimes extraction causes residual numbness or tingling for six weeks or longer.

BRUSHING: Do not brush your teeth for the first eight hours after surgery. After that, you may brush your teeth gently, but avoid the area of surgery for three days.

RINSING: Avoid all rinsing or swishing for 24 hours after extraction. Rinsing can disturb the formation of a healing blood clot, which is essential for proper healing. This could cause bleeding and risk of dry socket. After 24 hours, you may begin gentle rinsing with a salt-water solution (1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of soda + 8 ounces warm water). Avoid commercial mouthrinses.

DIET: Eat soft foods for the first two days. Maintain a good, balanced diet. Return to normal, regular meals as soon as you are able after the first two days. Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol for 48 hours.

ACTIVITY: After leaving the office, rest and avoid strenuous activities for the remainder of the day. Keeping blood pressure lower will reduce bleeding and aid healing.

ANTIBIOTICS: If you were given an antibiotic prescription, take all of it as directed until it is gone. Women: some antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Use alternate birth control methods for two months.

SINUS: If your sinus was involved in the procedure, you should avoid blowing your nose or playing a wind musical instrument for one week. Use of decongestant medications might be recommended.

FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENTS: You may need to return to the office to have sutures removed, or just for a brief follow-up healing check.

Please call us if you have:

  • Uncontrollable pain
  • Excessive or severe bleeding
  • Marked fever
  • Excessive warm swelling a few days after the procedure

Home Whitening

  • Do not brush your teeth after whitening.
  • After whitening, rinse your mouth and trays with room-temperature water.
  • Do not eat or drink anything for one hour after whitening.
  • Avoid dark soda, wine, coffee, and alcoholic beverages for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Keep your bleaching trays in the container with a little room-temperature water when you’re not wearing them.
  • Keep your whitening gel in the fridge; take it out 15 to 20 minutes prior to whitening.

Philips Zoom! Whitening

Congratulations! You’ve just experienced a revolutionary tooth whitening procedure. The next 48 hours are crucial to enhance and maximize your whitening results for a long-lasting, bright, and healthy smile.

For the next 48 hours, dark-staining substances should be avoided, such as:

  • Coffee and tea
  • Tobacco products
  • Mustard and ketchup
  • Cola
  • Red wine
  • Soy sauce
  • Berry pie
  • Red sauces

For any discomfort, you may need the following:

  • Two to four Advil (up to 800mg) every four to six hours as needed for pain

Additional ways to maintain your sparkling “Bright New Smile.”

  • Avoid staining-related habits.
  • Seek regular professional dental hygiene care to maintain oral health.
  • Keep staining to a minimum
  • Determine the need for whitening touch-ups.

In addition, continue to practice good oral hygiene, including thorough tooth brushing, flossing to remove debris from between your teeth, and tongue cleaning. Our team can assist you in selecting the products to maintain not only a white smile, but a healthy one as well!