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If you're here, you've had some dental care or oral surgery, and are looking for after-care advice. First, let me make this perfectly clear:

I am NOT a dentist or oral surgeon.
I am merely a person who's had lots of dental work done, and hopefully can offer some assistance, advice or ideas to you.


The information listed below is for general aftercare advice only.


:: It is not uncommon for your tooth to feel uncomfortable or have a dull ache immediately after root canal therapy. Expect this discomfort to subside within a few days.

:: Your tooth may feel sensitive when biting and or even feel loose. This sensitivity comes from the nerve-endings near the root of your tooth, where it was cleaned, irrigated and had filler and sealer material placed. This sensitivity will be short lived.

:: You may feel a depression or rough area on the top of your back tooth or the back of your front tooth where the access to the nerve was made. There is a soft temporary material in that area, which may wear away to some degree before your next visit for the crown.

:: Occasionally, a small “bubble” or “pimple” will appear on the gum tissue within a few days of having root canal therapy. This should disappear within a few days.

:: Take something for pain relief within one hour of leaving the dental office. This allows the medication to get into your blood system before the anesthesia administered subsides. Generally, only one dose is needed. Advil or Motrin (600 mg) is good, as they contain anti-inflammatory properties. If you can not take these medications, talk to your dentist or endodontist for other remedies. Aspirin and aspirin-containing products are not advisable as they tend to increase bleeding from the area that was treated.

:: Whenever possible, try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth that was just treated, until you have a final restoration placed. Until this time, your tooth is weakened and could fracture (requiring its removal).

:: Avoid chewing gum, caramels or other sticky soft candy. These can dislodge your temporary filling or cause tooth fracture.

:: Always remember to call your dental professional with ANY questions or concerns you may have.


:: Take your prescribed pain medication as soon as possible, before the anesthetic begins to wear off. Take this medicine with food, if possible, to prevent stomach upset. (Gelatin, pudding, chocolate milk or soup works well.)

:: Eat soft foods or liquids only. It is very important to maintain good nutrition for proper healing. (See the Recipe Section for dietary ideas.)

:: DO NOT SPIT, SUCK THROUGH A STRAW OR RINSE VIGOROUSLY. Doing any of these may dislodge the blood clot and cause a dry socket. You can rinse gently with warm salt water (place 1/4 tsp. of salt to 8 oz. of water) starting the day after surgery.

:: NO SMOKING for at least 24 hours after surgery. Smoking is a leading cause of dry socket after oral surgery.

:: NO ALCOHOL for at least 24 hours following surgery or at any time while taking prescribed medication.

:: Bite on a wet gauze for 15-20 minutes. Change the gauze as needed if bleeding continues. If bleeding continues excessively for over 2-3 hours, bite on a warm water-soaked tea bag placed over the extraction site. If bleeding still continues, call your oral surgeon immediately.

:: Do not drive, operate machinery or do anything requiring judgment or coordination while taking prescription pain medicine.

:: Take all of the antibiotic prescription as directed unless you develop an allergic reaction (skin rash or difficulty breathing are examples). If this happens stop taking the medicine and contact your oral surgeon.

:: Occasionally a small bony fragment may work up through the gum tissue during healing. Do not be alarmed, this is not unusual. If it becomes irritated or painful contact your oral surgeon.

:: After more extensive surgery (such as multiple extractions or impacted wisdom teeth) swelling usually occurs. To help reduce the swelling place an ice pack over the area where the surgery was performed for 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off. Do this over the first several hours following surgery. After that, a heating pad on the "low" setting wrapped in a small towel, or a warm moist towel may be applied to the area. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then remove for 20 minutes.

:: Always remember to call your dental professional with ANY questions or concerns you may have.


:: It is normal for your gums to feel tender. It's strongly recommended to rinse twice daily for two days with warm (not hot) salt water to speed-up healing and reduce tenderness. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon salt in a glass of 8 oz. (1 cup) warm water. Take 2-3 200mg tablets of ibuprophen (Advil or Motrin) every 4 hours as needed for discomfort and anti-inflammatory effect.

:: It is normal for your teeth to be sensitive to cold and hot foods or liquids after deep cleaning. Should this become problematic, try using a tooth paste for sensitive teeth. If your sensitivity continues, please call your dental professional.

:: For 2 days after your deep cleaning avoid any small hard foods that might get caught under the gum tissue. Examples include popcorn, nuts, and seeds (poppy seeds, strawberry jam, etc.). It is unlikely, yet it is possible to develop a gum abscess if these foods are caught under the tissue (when the gums heal they tighten, which traps these foods).

:: It is very important to continue thorough homecare: brushing & flossing to remove plaque. Leaving plaque on the teeth will slow healing and greatly minimize the benefits of treatment.

:: Always remember to call your dental professional with ANY questions or concerns you may have.


:: Avoid chewing excessively hard foods on the crowned teeth or the bridge (such as hard candy, ice, and raw carrots).

:: If you’ve been fitted with your temporary and not your final restoration, please avoid sticky foods. Also be careful when flossing not to pop off the temporary.

:: Don’t worry about mild sensitivity to hot or cold foods. It will disappear gradually over a few weeks. Call your dentist if the sensitivity does not disappear.

:: If your bite does not feel right, if you notice sensitivity to pressure or temperature that lasts for several weeks please contact your dental professional.

:: Maintain your regular preventative care. It’s critical for keeping your new restorations healthy.

:: Always remember to call your dental professional with ANY questions or concerns you may have.


:: If you receive immediate dentures after oral surgery, DO NOT REMOVE THEM. Your dentist will do this for you at the after-care appointment, and will explain to you how to care for them while healing. (Also see Oral Surgery After-care instructions above.)

:: Some people may experience difficulties getting use to something new in their mouth. This is normal.

:: It is advisable to maintain a soft food or liquid diet while your mouth is healing. After that, initially eating soft and small pieces of food will help until you feel confident with your new teeth. (See the Recipe Section for dietary ideas.)

:: If sore spots occur, please return to your dentist who will ease the denture.

:: Speech difficulty is normal at first, and this tends to be a short term problem.

:: It may take time to adjust to dentures, especially if the teeth are of a different size and shape.

:: Your mouth generally needs a rest from your dentures. When you do take them out remember to place them in cold water, never use hot water.

:: Clean your dentures over a sink of water. If you drop them, this will prevent damage.

:: Clean your dentures daily using a small headed toothbrush with toothpaste or denture cleaner. Soaking your teeth overnight is not sufficient to clean them.

:: Once you have lost your teeth, your mouth continually shrinks, so your dentures will usually need replacing every 5 years. These changes are generally slow, and denture wearers become experts in keeping their dentures in place, although sometimes it is necessary to use denture fixatives.

:: Dentures may be relined to eliminate the slipping and discomfort. By visiting your dentist on a regular basis, he/she can ensure that your mouth and gums are healthy, ensure your dentures fit comfortably and that you're not at risk from oral cancers (which may need immediate referral).

:: Mouth ulcers are caused by poor fitting dentures and stuck food. If the cause of the ulcer is removed the ulcer should heal within 2 weeks. If you notice an ulcer which does not seem to heal consult your dentist promptly.

:: Always remember to call your dental professional with ANY questions or concerns you may have.


This information and advice published or made available through
is not intended to replace the services of a dentist or oral surgeon,
nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship.
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only
and is not a substitute for professional dental or medical advice.
©2008 Dental Care & Oral Surgery