While some of the dental procedures such as whitening or regular cleanings are not complicated at all, others such as a dental implant or root canal treatment may lead to post-treatment complications in a few cases.
All dental procedures have one thing in common, they all need proper after-care to ensure optimal healing and better results. Usually, your doctor will provide you with the after-care instructions. At your Miami family dentist, we provide patients with detailed guidance and support after any dental treatment.
However, you may need to take special care depending on your dental procedure. Here we will try to cover three different types of dental producers to provide you with a general idea of how to take care of your teeth and gums.
1) Caring for Your Tooth after a Root Canal
Thanks to the advancement in dentistry, root canal treatments are no longer as painful as they used to be. However, you still need to take a few precautions after the procedure to get better results.
- Usually, anesthesia is used during the root canal treatment. It can last up to one-three hours. You should wait till it wears off completely as chewing on the numb side may lead to injuring your tongue or lip.
- Ask your dentist what and when you should eat after the treatment. Usually, you can eat soft foods and liquids immediately after the treatment. Avoid eating hot or cold foods and beverages as they will cause irritation.
- Root canal treatment takes place in two stages. First, the dentist will remove your infection and add a temporary filling. In a few weeks, a permanent crown is used to replace this filling. You should avoid eating chewy, hard, and crunchy food until crown replacement as it can damage the temporary filling. These foods can even break the tooth.
- You may feel mild tenderness around the treated area which is extremely common. You may also feel a slight pain while opening and closing your jaw. You can use over-the-counter medication to treat the pain. Your dentist may also prescribe painkillers. Take them as directed. But, if the pain persists or becomes acute, call your dentist immediately.
- You should brush and floss your teeth during the treatment. However, be careful. Use a brush with soft bristles. Don’t force floss around the treated area.
- Though rare, post-root canal infections can occur and may lead to further complications. Visible swelling around the treatment area is often a sign of post-root canal infection. Sometimes they can also be the result of allergic reactions to medications or anesthesia. If this happens, contact your dentist right away.
2) Caring for Your Tooth after a Dental Implant
A dental implant involves the surgical attachment of a crown, bridge, facial prosthesis or denture to the jaw bone or skull. It is one of the most common dental treatments and needs proper after-care.
- Compared to the root canal, the numbness may last longer after a dental implant. It can last for a few hours following the procedure. But, you may experience residual numbness or tingling up to six weeks after the treatment.
- Avoid eating or moving your jaw until the anesthesia fades off completely. Eat only soft foods, at least for the first two-four days. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol for the 48 hours after the treatment.
- Mild gum swelling and pain are quite common during dental implants. You can use over-the-counter painkillers every three-four hours till the bedtime to reduce the pain.
- Apply an ice bag to the affected facial area every 15 minutes on the first day after the implant.
- As long as possible, use a soft nylon toothbrush to clean your teeth after the implant. At least, use an electric brush with soft and pliable bristles. Clean the area around the new crown and the implant gently. You can also use a nylon-coated interdental brush or proxabrush clean the hard-to-reach areas around the implant.
- You may need to use a floss threader or a specialized floss with a built-in threader designed for cleaning around a fixed bridge or dental implant. You can use oral irrigators or water flossers to clean the area around your implant and crown.
3) Caring for Your Tooth after Extraction
Tooth extraction involves painless removal of a tooth or tooth roots. It may involve surgical removal of tooth and tooth particles. According to Dr. Papiernik, you need to take extra care of your oral health following the extraction.
“Recovery typically takes a few days. Care is taken to cause minimum trauma to the surrounding tissues to reduce the bleeding and possible infection. Patients can go home immediately after the extraction. But, you should take precautions to reduce pain, discomfort, and chances of infection,” says the leading Miami dentist.
- To minimize the pain, take the prescribed or over-the-counter painkillers as advised by your dentist.
- While you may not need complete bed rest, you should avoid heavy exercise or activity immediately, at least for 24 hours. Keep your head elevated.
- Maintain gentle but firm pressure on the gauze used for stopping the bleeding. Don’t wiggle it with your tongue. Keep it in place for two-three hours to help your body naturally, heal and clot.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt-water every one-two hours. Avoid using mouthwash as it may cause inflammation.
- To keep the swelling down, apply an ice pack to the affected area for ten minutes.
- You can drink from the straw for the first 24 hours. However, you can eat soft foods such as yogurt, soups, and sauces for the next couple of days. Later, you can continue eating solid foods but avoid crunchy, chewy, and hard foods.
- Keep brushing and flossing your teeth regularly except for the extracted area. Use a brush with soft bristles to avoid damaging the healing wound.
- Avoid smoking as it increases the chances of getting a dry socket and infection.
- You may feel a bit of tenderness for a few days. But, avoid poking the affected area with your tongue or fingers. It may lead to bleeding or dry socket or even infection.
Almost all dental processes have become a lot safer and painless owing to the advanced technology. However, you still need to take care of your oral health following a treatment be it a root canal, a dental implant, or a tooth extraction. These tips will help you understand how you can take care of your teeth to reduce the chances of throbbing pain, discomfort, and potential infection. Contact us if you have any question. We will be happy to help you!