After Dental Surgery Care

It is important to follow all after dental surgery care instructions provided by your dentist when you undergo dental surgery. Not following instructions can not only prolonging your recovery period, but effect your overall general health.

after dental surgery care

Following are after Dental Surgery Care recommendations for the following procedures:

Apicoectomy - after Dental Surgery Care

In addition to post care instructions regarding medications and food intake following an apicoectomy, use an ice pack on the outside of the mouth at the surgical site for at least 10 to 12 hours following the surgery. This helps to reduce bruising and swelling. Avoid brushing the area, rinsing vigorously, smoking or eating crunchy or hard foods. Do not lift your lip to examine the surgical area, because this can disrupt the blood-clot formation process and possibly loosen the stitches. Some people experience numbness for days or even weeks. While not necessarily a sign of nerve damage, let your dentist know accordingly. Generally, if all goes well, the stitches will be removed between 2 to 7 days after the procedure and any soreness and swelling should be gone by the end of the second week.

Bone Graft - after Dental Surgery Care

After dental surgery care for a bone graft involves the use of antibiotics, pain medication and an antibacterial mouthwash. Patients are advised to avoid certain foods, and instructed on how to avoid putting pressure on the area while it heals. If dentures were previously worn, they will not be able to be worn for at least a month or longer while the area heals. If natural teeth are near the dental bone graft, a provisional removable bridge or denture to protect the area may be made. A dental bone graft can take anywhere between 6 to 12 months to heal. After which, dental implants will be placed at the site area.

Orthodontic Braces - after Dental Surgery Care

dental braces

While not really considered a dental surgery procedure, the amount of time and money invested in orthodontic braces, is well worth mentioning on this page.

You may experience pain when braces are initially installed and find eating difficult. While not uncommon after dental surgery care involves eating soft foods. Some individuals may experience allergic reactions from the latex rubber or metal used in the braces, mouth sores and/or white spot lesions. In cases of allergies, latex-free elastics and alternative metals should be discussed with your dentist during your consultation. Mouth sores can sometimes develop due to irritation from components of the braces. Oral rinses, dental wax, dental silicone, and other products designed to help may be prescribed. White spot lesions often result due to the design of braces, which makes it very difficult to brush and floss the teeth to remove plaque. White spot lesion are the acids which dissolve away the mineral content of the toothÂ’s enamel, thereby changing the appearance of enamel to an opaque whitish color. When dental plaque accumulates around a person's braces, white spot lesions will form on the tooth area that is around the orthodontic brackets. The enamel that is underneath the orthodontic bracket is protected from plaque formation. So when the braces are removed, a white spot lesion outlining the original position of the orthodontic bracket is noticeable, effecting the appearance of the tooth. This results in additional dental work needing to be done.

It is highly recommended that after dental surgery care include the use of a mouth guard when playing physical sports. Also, limit the use starch and sugar to decrease the chances of tooth decay. Patients should avoid sticky, chewy and hard foods, which can bend the wires, loosen the bands and/or break the brackets and follow a good oral hygiene program. Use a travel toothbrush to brush after meals. An interdental brush can be used to fit between the wire and the tooth to remove hard-to-reach plaque and food debris. Oral irrigators can also be used in place of brushing and flossing. When cleaning your teeth, also clean around the braces.

In the course of treatment, orthodontic brackets may pop off due to the forces involved or to the cement weakening over time. Refer to handling a dentist emergency. Contact your orthodontist immediately in order to have the bracket replaced.

After the braces have been removed, a retainer is used to keep the teeth in their new position. Some patients may need a fiberotomy,(a procedure that removes gingival fibers around a tooth), to prepare their teeth for retainer use. A fiberotomy reduces the tendency for the tooth to relapse. Retainers maintain the teeth while the surrounding bone reforms around them and are generally worn full-time for a period between 6 months to a year. Thereafter, they are only worn at night. If a retainer is not used, the teeth might move back to their original position. If the teeth are not ready for a proper retainer, the orthodontist may prescribe a pre-finisher, a rubber appliance similar to a mouth guard. Pre-finishers help to fix minor problems that a dental brace cannot such as gaps between the teeth and small spaces between the upper and lower jaws.

Fixed Bridge - after Dental Surgery Care

fixed dental bridge

A fixed bridge may feel out of place for a few days after insertion, but this is normal. The teeth around this area are adjusting to new forces both in between the teeth and upon biting. After dental surgery care involves not eating or chewing hard objects, foods or ice on the restorations for at least 24 hours. In order to attain optimum strength, the cement needs time to mature. Also, do not worry about mild sensitivity to hot or cold foods which will disappear gradually over a few weeks.

Crowns on the bridge cover most of the exposed portion of your tooth and decay does not affect a bridge since it is made of metal and /or porcelain. However, the area where the natural tooth meets the crown of the bridge can become decayed. Therefore, it is important that after dental surgery care includes brushing the teeth carefully after every meal and before bedtime with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush where the bridge meets the gum line (margin). An electric toothbrush is highly recommended. Your dentist may also recommend using floss threaders to help remove bacteria from hard to reach spaces between the bridge and adjacent teeth and gums. A fluoride rinse should be also used before bedtime.

Have your teeth cleaned every six months. Limit your sugar and starch intake to decrease chances of creating damaging acids which promote plaque and avoid eating hard and/or sticky snacks such as popcorn, hard candy, caramel, and nuts. Contact your dentist immediately if any of the following should occur: the tooth is the first tooth to hit when you bite down after a couple of days (an occlusion adjustment is needed); you experience movement or looseness in the restoration (requires recementation); you experience sensitivity to sweet foods or get a peculiar taste from the restoration site. If a piece of material has broken off of the bridge or you experience sensitivity to pressure on the area you should also contact your dental provider.

Dental Cavities - after Dental Surgery Care

Minimize snacking since it creates a continual supply of nutrition for acid-creating bacteria in the mouth causing dental cavities. Brushing after every meal is highly recommended.

Dental Crowns - after Dental Surgery Care

The average lifespan of a dental crown is around 10 years, but they can last up to 30 years with proper care, though this depends on the skill of the dentist and technician, the material used, and most importantly, the extent of the oral hygiene program used by the patient. Therefore, following a good oral hygiene program (brushing, flossing, rinsing, regular dental visits) can help to maintain the lifespan of your crown.

Dentures - after Dental Surgery Care


For the first few weeks, your new denture may feel awkward or bulky, but your mouth will eventually become accustomed to wearing it. After dental surgery care involves practicing inserting and removing the denture. The denture should fit into place with relative ease. You will be given instructions on how long it should be worn and when it should be removed. Initially, the after dental surgery care will involve you wearing the denture all of the time. Although this may be uncomfortable, it is the quickest way to see if an adjustment is needed. If the denture puts too much pressure on a particular area, that spot will become sore. An adjustment will make it more comfortable. After a while, your dentist may recommend that the denture be taken out each night before bedtime. Wearing a denture should also improve your speaking ability. If you pronouncing certain words difficult, practice reading aloud. In time, you should become accustomed to speaking properly.

Whether you have full or partial dentures, you should follow a good oral hygiene program. Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food deposits and plaque. Use a brush specially designed for cleaning dentures. Avoid using hard bristled brushes that can cause damage. Each morning, before inserting your denture, brush the gums, tongue and palate with a soft bristled brush. To clean the denture, first rinse away loose food particles, then moisten the brush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage. Some individuals use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid for cleaning the appliance. Avoid using powdered abrasive household cleansers. Look for denture cleansers with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, as these products have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.

If you have a partial denture, pay special attention to cleaning teeth that fit under the denture's metal clasps. Plaque can become trapped in this area, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist can demonstrate how to properly brush and clean between teeth. Following proper after dental surgery care instructions will increase the life of dentures. Although they typically last five years, proper care and minimal jaw recession can extend their life up to 25 years.


Remember that dentures are very delicate and may break if dropped even a few inches, so stand over a folded towel or a basin of water when handling them. They may also lose their shape if allowed to dry out. When they are not being worn, they should be placed in a cleanser soaking solution or in water. Never place dentures in hot water, which could cause them to warp.

See your dentist if your denture breaks, cracks, chips, or if one of the teeth becomes loose. A dentist can often make the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day. The use of any type of over the counter type glue product is not recommended for use on dentures, as they often contain harmful chemicals that can cause further damage to them. Over time, the dentures will need to be relined, rebased, or remade due to normal wear and will need to be replaced to avoid causing serious health problems.

Tooth Extraction - after Dental Surgery Care

After the tooth is extracted, use gauze pads to apply firm to the site for about 45 minutes. If bleeding persists, gauze should be replaced over wound and held in place by biting on it for an additional 30 minutes. Repeat this process several times, until the bleeding stops. Small amounts of blood mixed in the saliva after extractions is normal--even up to 48 hours after extraction. But if abnormal bleeding continues, contact your dentist immediately.

If swelling occurs, apply ice packs to the face where the site is affected for approximately 24 hours. When sleeping, use an extra pillow to keep the head elevated. If you experience moderate pain, Tylenol is usually recommended. If the pain is severe, and your doctor has prescribed medication, take the prescribed medication. Do not rinse the mouth for 24 hours following surgery. The next day, begin to rinse frequently with 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water.

It is normal for a clot to form in the socket of the extracted tooth. Occasionally, it will become dislodged, resulting in a condition called dry socket. This is most commonly found in wisdom tooth extractions of the lower molars. Dry-socket lengthens the healing process and usually causes severe pain and discomfort. It is usually treated with medicated gauze, resorbable gel-foam or surgical packing. Limit your diet to cool and soft foods as chewing and swallowing will be difficult during the healing process.

Dental Implants - after Dental Surgery Care

For most patients, a dental implant procedure involves two surgical procedures. During both procedures, patients are advised to wear a temporary dental appliances, such as dentures or a crown (depending on how many implants and their location), and have a diet which consists of soft foods. Most patients report a minimal amount of disruption in their daily life during and after the implant process. If you are at the stage where you are still wearing a temporary appliance such as a temporary crown, please refer to dentist emergencies to review what to do in the case of sensitivity and swelling of the gums or looseness of the crown occurs.

If you are at the post care stage, be aware that most dental implant failures are related to the dental implant's inability to osseointegrate correctly. A dental implant is considered to be a failure if it is lost, mobile or shows peri-implant bone loss of greater than one mm in the first year after implanting and greater than 0.2mm a year after that. While not susceptible to dental caries, implants can develop a periodontal condition called peri-implantitis due to poor oral hygiene. This risk is increased with individuals who smoke.

Dental Mouth Guards - after Dental Surgery Care

Dental mouth guards should be rinsed with cold water or with a mouth rinse before and after each use and/or cleaned with toothpaste and a toothbrush. It should be placed in a firm, perforated container when it is not in use or being transported. Do not expose the mouth guard to high temperatures, as this may distort its shape. Also, check the mouth guard for general wear. If you notice any holes or tearing or if it becomes loose and causes discomfort, it needs to be replaced. Be certain to bring the mouth guard to each regularly scheduled dental visit so that it can also examined by your dental provider.

Root Canal - after Dental Surgery Care

root canal

Once the root canal therapy is completed, there may be changes to the tooth which involve brittleness because of the pulp being removed, discoloration, and inflammation. After dental surgery care instructions involve using care in chewing and biting in order to avoid a fracture or chipping the tooth. Discoloration because of the non-vitalness of the tooth poses no threat and can be treated with a teeth whitener product. For a first few weeks, soft tissue inflammation may also be noticeable, which is normal. But if it does not subside and the pain continues, contact your dentist. It is not uncommon for a retreatment to be needed,especially in cases where infected pulp still remains in the tooth.

Dental Sealants - after Dental Surgery Care

After being applied, dental sealants can remain effective for a period of five years or more. But, they do wear naturally and should be checked at regular follow up dental visits. If they become worn or damaged, a new sealant material can be applied to those areas on the tooth. Sealants become less effective when all or part of the bond between the tooth and the sealant is broken. Therefore, it is important to have a dentist repair the seal as quickly as possible.

Cosmetic Dentistry - after Dental Surgery Care


Cosmetic dentistry involving contour shaping has not been found to cause any major risks. However, depending upon the thickness of the tooth enamel, a tooth that has been recontoured may feel sensitivity. If it persists, contact your dentist for further assistance.


While it may take a little time to get used to the appearance and feel of a porcelain or composite veneers, there is no special after dental surgery care needed. You should not bite any objects that can cause the veneers to come off and maintain an oral hygiene program, which includes thorough brushing and flossing.


Dental inlays and onlays can become loose if the cement washes out or if it is contaminated with saliva while being applied to the tooth. They have also been known to crack. If you experience any of these problems, or if sensitivity occurs, contact your dentist as soon as possible.

Dental Bonding

A typical dental bonding has a life expectancy of about 5 to 10 years, a few years less than a dental crown or dental veneers. Despite this fact, it is easier to repair should a chip or break occur on the resin material. Smoking can cause the resin to turn yellow quicker than that of a crown or veneer. Although rare, some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the bonding resin material. Allergy symptoms include itching, burning, dermatitis, skin rash and blistering. If you experience any allergic reactions, contact your dentist immediately.

Teeth Whitening

Most teeth whitening procedures do not cause serious side effects, about half the people who undergo a teeth whitening process experience some degree of tooth sensitivity or gum irritation. The side effects usually subside in a few days, but if they persist, stop using the product and see your dentist. The peroxide may have seeped into the enamel of the tooth, causing it to touch the nerve, making the tooth sensitive. The teeth may also undergo what is referred to as "Tooth Rebound". This is when whitened teeth begin to lose the effect and begin to darken. A tooth rebound can happen over a 30 day period.

After Dental Surgery Care for Children

dental care for children

If teeth are extracted, some bleeding may occur for the first day. Provide your child with cold liquids or Popsicles® to help stop bleeding. If bleeding continues, put a folded piece of gauze on the area and apply pressure for 5 minutes. If the bleeding persists, call the doctor. In cases of teeth extraction, do not allow the child to suck through a straw or have a bottle. On the day of surgery, clean their teeth using a wet washcloth, or have them rinse their mouth with warm water. A day or two after surgery, their lips and lower face may be sore for a few days. Apply ice to these areas if needed for the first day.

Nausea and vomiting are also common during the first 24 hours after surgery. If your child vomits, it may contain blood (bright red or dark coffee-ground appearance). If your child received stainless steel crowns, avoid gum and sticky candy such as caramels and hard candy. After 24 hours, brush your child's teeth at least twice a day. If a crown loosens or comes off before the tooth comes out, save the crown and call the dentist.

When your child is ready to eat, after dental surgery care involves adding soft, easy to chew foods to their diet. Foods such as applesauce, soup, canned fruits, processed cheese, soft cook or scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, pudding, sherbet, soup and gelatin are good. Regular foods can be eaten in a couple of days.

Contact your dentist when their is continuous bleeding in the mouth that does not stop with pressure; there is increasing pain or soreness in the mouth, despite haven taken prescribed medication and there is numbness in the face. Contact your doctor if they have a temperature higher than 100°F (37.8°C) under the arm, are not urinating at least every 8 hours, continue to have an upset stomach or vomiting or they have trouble breathing (call 911). Source: Family Resource Center

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