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Post Treatment Care

Take your time reading and processing the treatment that has been done and what you can do to enhance your comfort, recovery, and adjustment to the change. Please contact your primary dentist if you have further questions about your recent dental care. There is also a dentist available on call after hours if you require immediate assistance beyond the instructions provided here. 


Periodontal Maintenance Therapy

Periodontal Maintenance Therapy is an ongoing and personalized program designed to prevent the spread of disease in the gum tissue and surrounding bone that supports your teeth. Maintenance therapy is essential for removing the plaque and calculus (tartar) that form above and below the gumline. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly attacks your gums and teeth, and when not removed, hardens to form a rough deposit known as calculus. No matter how carefully you clean your teeth and gums at home. Plaque is constantly forming and can cause a recurrence of periodontal disease within two to four months of a professional cleaning – especially in the deep pocket areas.

How is this type of therapy different from a regular dental cleaning?

Regular dental cleaning - prophylaxis - is performed on patients that have not had treatment to periodontal disease, and are not at high risk for tooth loss due to periodontal disease.

What is included in Periodontal Maintenance Therapy?

At each periodontal maintenance visit an assessment is made of your periodontal health by measuring the depths of the pockets around the teeth, scaling the teeth to remove bacterial plaque and calculus, reviewing your plaque control efficiency at home, taking any necessary x-rays to evaluate teeth and supporting structures, and evaluating your need for further treatment.

How often should you have maintenance visits?

The extent and type of your periodontal disease, and your healing ability, will determine the frequency of your maintenance visits. Your response to therapy is influenced by the effectiveness of your plaque control the different rates of plaque growth and factors that increase your risk of periodontal disease, such as smoking. The interval between Periodontal Maintenance visits varies with a recommendation of three, four or six months, depending on your needs.

THE BEST WAY to prevent periodontal disease and tooth loss is to follow the recommendations in your individual Periodontal Maintenance Therapy Program.

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Instructions For Intravenous Sedation

  1. Bring another person to remain in the reception area during the procedure and to drive you home. Since you may be slightly drowsy following the procedure, both you and the person with you will be informed of the post-operative instructions.
     
  2. You must have a completely empty stomach. Thus, it is vitally important that you DO NOT EAT OR DRINK for at least 8 hours prior to this anesthetic procedure. To do otherwise can be life threatening! However, if you normally take medications for chronic problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, depression, heart disease, or any prescriptions given by this dental practice, continue to take these medications according to your usual schedule, unless your dentist advises otherwise. Use only a sip of water when taking these medications.
     
  3. If you are under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian must be present to sign the consent form.
     
  4. Do not wear contact lenses.
     
  5. Do not wear lipstick.
     
  6. Wear a short sleeve shirt/blouse or clothing that can easily be rolled above your elbow.
     
  7. Plan not to go back to work or school for the rest of the day.
     
  8. Should you develop a cold, flu, sore throat, or any other illness, the appointment will likely be rescheduled to a time when you are feeling better. Please call if any of these symptoms develop.

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Scaling And Root Planing For Periodontal Disease

PERIODONTAL (GUM) DISEASE is often a painless condition, but may exhibit swollen and bleeding gums. Bacteria (often referred to as plaque or biofilm) and deposits of calculus (tartar) are usually found attached deep under the gum tissue on the tooth’s root surface. The bacteria cause a chronic infection called Periodontal Disease, which may lead to permanent bone loss (deep pockets) and eventual tooth loss.

Scaling and Root Planing is often an initial treatment to help control the progression of Periodontal Disease. This treatment involves removing bacteria and calculus deposits deep within the pockets so the tissues can become healthy.

To minimize discomfort during the Scaling and Root Planing treatment, local anesthetic is usually administered. Following Scaling and Root Planing some minor discomfort and swelling may occur. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are usually helpful. Rinsing with warm salt water (1/2 tsp. salt per glass of warm water) may also assist in relieving discomfort and aid in the healing process. Temporary sensitivity to cold after Scaling and Root Planing is considered normal. Complete daily removal of bacteria (plaque) at home by brushing and flossing is important to avoid further infection and calculus build up.

Your periodontal health will be re-evaluated at the next appointment, called Periodontal Maintenance. At that time an assessment will be made of the remaining pocket depths, bone loss, and the effectiveness of your daily home care. Recommendations will be given for ongoing maintenance visits or additional treatment that might be needed for your periodontal health. In advanced cases further treatment may involve seeing a specialist called a Periodontist.

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Sealants

Sealants are a thin, clear or white plastic material that is applied to the pits and fissures (grooves) on the biting surfaces of your back teeth.

Why Sealants?

Sealants are a safe and highly effective way to reduce the decay that occurs despite normal brushing and the use of fluoride. With the use of sealants, decay, being the most widespread dental disease among children, can be reduced significantly. Sealants save the patient time and the expense of having a tooth restored. They work by keeping bacterial plaque and food sugars out of the deep grooves of the molar teeth – where decay most often occurs.

Who Needs Sealants?

Children, usually between the ages of six and 14 years, with newly erupted permanent molars that are not yet decayed.

How are Sealants Done?

The procedure is quite simple. The steps include cleaning the tooth surface, treating the cleaned surface with a special solution (to help the sealant attach to the tooth), applying the sealant material to the tooth enamel, and hardening the material with a special light. Sometimes slight smoothing of the enamel is necessary as a first step.

Do Sealants Need to be Redone?

Sealants will serve to carry a child through the period in which biting surface decay normally occurs. Even when the sealant is not visible, strands of the materials have penetrated the tooth enamel and will continue to protect the tooth. During every regular dental visit, sealants will be checked for possible re-application need. A total prevention program also includes regular dental visits, use of fluoride, brushing and flossing teeth daily, and limiting snacks that are high in sugar.

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Instructions Following Tooth Extraction

  1. Bite on gauze with pressure for one hour following extraction to promote healthy clotting. If bleeding continues after one hour, repack with gauze and bite again.
     
  2. Reduce activity for 24 hours.
     
  3. Avoid rinsing the mouth, vigorous spitting, sucking through a straw, or alcohol for eight hours. Avoid smoking for at least 48 hours. The consequences for smoking can result in a painful dry socket, thus delaying healing.
     
  4. Approximately eight hours after surgery you may begin gentle mouth washes. Rinse with warm salt water every two hours and especially after meals. (1/2 tsp. salt per glass of warm water.) Continue rinses for two weeks.
     
  5. Apply ice packs intermittently to the cheek areas overlying the extraction locations. Apply for 15 minutes on, then 15 minutes off, repeating this sequence for about six hours, or until bedtime.
     
  6. Eat a soft, nutritious diet with plenty of fluids.
     
  7. Take medications as prescribed by your dentist.
     
  8. Some swelling and even bruising is a normal response, and therefore is no cause for undue concern. There will also normally be some discomfort or pain. The prescribed medication should control this discomfort.
     
  9. If prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding, fever or rash occurs, you should contact our office so that specific instructions can be given.
     
  10. Return for appointment for re-evaluation or suture (stitches) removal if indicated by your dentist.

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Instructions Following Crown Cementation

We have just cemented a crown for you and would like you to keep a few things in mind for the future. The involved tooth has been reduced in size in order to make room for the crown. The nerve inside the tooth may respond to this procedure by becoming sensitive to hot and cold. This sensitivity usually subsides by itself, but it may take several days or weeks to do so. If you are still experiencing heightened sensitivity four weeks following the procedure, please call.

We have adjusted the crown so that your bite should be correct. Teeth, however, can detect very small changes in the bite. If your bite feels uncomfortable, please call us as soon as possible so that the crown can be adjusted and the tooth will not become sore.

The material used to cement the crown to your tooth hardens over several hours. Please do not chew on the crown for the first 24 hours after it is cemented. This cement holds crowns on very tightly, but the crown can come loose if you chew very sticky foods. If the crown becomes loose or comes off, please call immediately and make an appointment to evaluate appropriate remedies. If the crown has come off, be sure to bring it with you.

We also recommend that you not chew very hard things such as ice and hard candy. The excessive force put on porcelain crowns, and natural teeth, when chewing on these types of things can cause cracks, splitting or other injury.

Decay can still develop around the edges where the crown meets the tooth. Therefore, you must maintain a high level of oral hygiene by brushing and flossing around the crowned tooth, starting today. Quality daily oral hygiene will help you protect the investment you have made in your tooth.

Please let us know if you have any questions concerning your new crown or any other aspect of your treatment with us.

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Instructions Following Bridge Cementation

We have just cemented a bridge for you and would like you to keep a few things in mind for the future. The involved teeth have been reduced in size in order to make room for the bridge crowns. The nerves inside these teeth may respond to this procedure by becoming sensitive to hot and cold. This sensitivity usually subsides by itself, but it may take several days or weeks to do so. If you are still experiencing heightened sensitivity four weeks following the procedure, please call.

We have adjusted the bridge so that your bite should be correct. The teeth, however, can detect very small changes in the bite. If your bite feels uncomfortable, please call us as soon as possible so that the bridge can be adjusted and the teeth will not become sore.

The material used to cement the bridge to your teeth hardens over several hours. Please do not chew on the bridge for the first 24 hours after it is cemented. This cement holds the bridge on very tightly, but the bridge can come loose if you chew very sticky foods. If the bridge becomes loose or comes off, please call immediately and make an appointment to evaluate appropriate remedies. If the bridge has come off, be sure to bring it with you.

We also recommend that you not chew very hard things, such as ice and hard candy. The excessive force put on porcelain bridges and natural teeth when chewing on these types of things can cause cracks, splitting or other injury.

Be aware that decay can develop around the edges where the crown meets the tooth. Therefore, you must maintain a high level of oral hygiene by brushing and flossing around the bridge, starting today. Quality daily oral hygiene will help you protect the investment you have made in your teeth.

Please let us know if you have any questions concerning your new bridge or any other aspect of your treatment with us. And remember, continuing care visits are important for maintaining your restoration.

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Instructions For Patients Who Have Had Aesthetic Bonding Or Tooth-Colored Restorations

We hope you are pleased with the new appearance of your teeth since you underwent a bonding procedure. Following are a few things to remember.

  • Although the composite is already hardened, you should avoid chewing heavily on your new restorations for 24 hours.
  • All tooth colored composite restorations will pick up some staining or discoloration over time – usually from tobacco, coffee or tea. The new generation of materials we have used on your teeth tend to stain much less than those previously used. Daily brushing and flossing will also help to decrease the staining tendency.
  • Decay can still develop around the edges of bonded restorations, and your gums will be become inflamed if plaque is not removed daily. So once again we emphasize the value of meticulous daily oral hygiene so as to protect the investment you've made in your teeth. Normal brushing will not deteriorate or damage bonded restorations.
  • We will want to check your bonded teeth periodically in follow-up visits. While bonding generally holds up very well, occasionally a small piece may chip off. If this happens it can usually be repaired without having to re-bond the entire tooth.
  • Occasionally we advise special care instructions or limitations specific to one's particular bonded restorations. These may include certain lifestyle changes or a special night guard for added protection.

If you have any questions about bonding or any other aspect of your treatment with us, do not hesitate to let us know your concerns.

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Instructions For Patients Who Have Received New Silver Restorations

Silver restorations become harder over the first twenty-four hours after they are placed. To avoid breaking a new restoration, please chew on the other side of your mouth until the next day.

We have placed and adjusted the restoration so that your bite should be correct. However, teeth are able to detect very small changes in the bite. If you think your bite is not correct, please call as soon as possible for an appointment to have it checked and adjusted if necessary. This is very important because if the bite is such that it is in contact with the restoration before the tooth, the tooth will become quite sore and the restoration may break.

Teeth are often sensitive to hot and cold after having a restoration placed. The thermal sensitivity usually subsides gradually. Teeth that have had deep decay or have required extensive preparation may produce a toothache spontaneously without hot or cold stimulation. Please call us immediately if this situation occurs. These symptoms often mean that the nerve in the tooth has been affected to the extent that you may require root canal therapy.

Twenty-four hours following placement of a new restoration you can chew on it as you normally would. We should caution you however, that biting on very hard substances such as ice or hard candy puts excessive force on teeth and restorations, and can crack or break them.

Be aware that restorations can develop decay around the edges where they meet the tooth. Therefore, it is very important that you maintain a high level of daily oral hygiene to help protect the investment you have made in your teeth.

Please feel free to call us if you have questions about this procedure or any other aspect of your care.

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