AFTER CARE 

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General Guidelines for all procedures:

Do not chew on hard, sticky or chewy foods for a least 24 hours.  Never chew on ice.  Avoid aggressive chewing and sticky foods such as “hard tack” candies that can loosen or damage a restoration.  Carefully follow all guidelines provided by the doctor and their staff and most importantly practice good oral hygiene.  Additional instructions following various types of treatment are listed below.  Please click on the below topics for detailed instructions.  In the event of an emergency, please call our office.  If you are experiencing a serious or life threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.

Crowns and Bridges may take one to three visits to complete.  Dr. Caunitz will discuss your treatment options and the time needed to complete the procedure.  You may have some sensitivity following treatment with tenderness around the gum and tooth for a day or two.  If the tenderness or sensitivity lasts longer than this please give Dr. Caunitz a call. If anesthesia is used, please avoid chewing, biting, and eating until the numbness has worn off.  If a temporary is placed, eat softer foods and avoid foods that are particularly crunchy, chewy or hard.  If the temporary restorations become loose or break, please give us a call immediately.

Be careful when cleaning around the restoration, but be sure to continue brushing and flossing daily.  When flossing, take extra care not to loosen the temporary restoration by removing the floss too roughly.  You can slowly thread the floss out by one end if necessary to avoid too much pressure on the temporary.

Once your final restoration has been placed, avoid chewing on hard, crunchy or sticky foods for 24 hours in order to give time for the cement to fully bond.  Mild sensitivity to hot or cold foods is not unusual and should dissipate after a few weeks.  If sensitivity lasts more than six weeks please let Dr. Caunitz know, although this is rare and most likely will not be an issue.

Ongoing care for your restoration includes brushing your teeth after every meal and snack, and flossing at least once a day before bedtime.  Rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash will also help to remove any additional particles that may have been missed during brushing and flossing.

Please give Dr. Caunitz a call if you are experiencing pain or have any questions regarding your treatment.

Do not eat or chew until any numbness from anesthesia has worn off.  If you are supervising a child who had treatment, make certain that they are not eating or chewing while numb.  Please make sure they do not bite their lips or tongue as it can cause serious injury to their soft tissue.  Avoid sticky, crunchy or hard foods for 24 hours.

Sensitivity to cold and heat, as well as any soreness, shouldn’t last more than a few days.  Please give Dr. Caunitz a call if you experience pain or discomfort for more than a few days.

You may have discomfort for a few days after receiving your final dentures or partials.  Dentures and partials will often need several adjustments in order to fit comfortably.  To help adjust to your dentures you can practice reading aloud for a little while each day.  At night you should remove your dentures and clean them. They should be stored in a clean container filled with denture cleaning solution.  Dentures should be removed for at least 6 hours a day to give your mouth and gums time to rest.  Food particles can become trapped under dentures causing inflammation or sore spots.  Brush the roof of your mouth, your tongue and lightly brush your gums after removing your dentures.

Ongoing care for your restoration includes brushing your teeth and surrounding tissues after every meal and snack, and flossing at least once a day before bedtime unless you have full dentures, in which case brushing them is very important.  Rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash will also help to remove any additional particles that may have been missed during brushing and flossing.

You should visit our office at least once a year to have your dentures or partial adjusted and checked by Dr. Caunitz.  Wearing ill-fitting dentures or partials without proper care and adjustment can cause severe bone loss and very serious oral disease.  Please give Dr. Caunitz  a call at the first signs of any symptoms or if you are experiencing ongoing pain or discomfort.

Scaling and root planing therapy includes removing tartar and bacterial plaque from the root surface below the gum line.  This helps reduce inflammation and infection and improves the depth of periodontal pockets, therefore allowing more efficient flossing and brushing.

For the first 24 hours, you may experience some cold and heat sensitivity.  Do not eat, drink, chew or consume hot foods or beverages until the numbness has worn off following anesthetic. Avoid vigorous physical exercise, as well as foods and are extremely hot or spicy for the first 24 hours. Do not consume alcoholic beverages or smoke for at least 48 hours.  Some bleeding following a deep cleaning is normal, but if you experience excessive bleeding please call our office.

You can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen according to the instructions on the label or those provided by your doctor as needed.  A warm salt water rinse, approximately one teaspoon in an eight ounce glass of water, three times a day can be helpful. Brush and floss gently following a deep cleaning, resuming normal brushing and flossing when the soreness is gone.

Follow any other instructions provided by our office on your visit.  Please take all medications as prescribed.

After root canal therapy, taking care of the area will help promote the healing process.

  • Please do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes following your root canal therapy. You have a temporary filling that takes about 1/2 hour to harden.  Please do not poke or prod your tooth with your tongue, fingers or any other instruments.
  • It is normal to experience some discomfort following root canal therapy. It is much easier to prevent pain than it is to eliminate pain once it has begun.If  you were given any prescriptions, please fill them promptly and begin taking them as soon as possible.  If no prescriptions were given and you are not allergic, Tylenol or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) are the most common pain relievers, but you should avoid taking aspirin, as it thins the blood and can cause bleeding.  If you feel you need something stronger, please talk to Dr. Caunitz.
  • Swelling is not uncommon after root canal therapy. On the day of treatment, apply ice packs for 15 minutes on then 15 minutes off until bedtime.  This will keep swelling to a minimum. Also keep your head elevated until bedtime.
  • Once you begin to eat and drink, avoid chewing or biting on the treated area  until your permanent restoration is in place. The area may be more sensitive because of swelling, and the temporary filling is made of a soft composite that is vulnerable to fracturing (cracking) with hard substances such as peanuts, pretzels, hard candy, ice cubes, etc.  You will return to the office to have your permanent restoration placed in about a month.
  • Please keep the treated area clean by gently brushing the area and flossing regularly.
  • It is rare for a temporary filling to fall out, but if the temporary falls out, please Dr. Caunitz as soon as possible.
  • Some discomfort following the root canal is normal for 2 to 4 days after the treatment.  In some rare cases, the tooth and surrounding tissue may be sore for a few weeks following the treatment. If you are still experiencing pain after a week, please call Dr. Caunitz.

THIS SECTION IS VERY IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

While flare-ups are rare, they occur in about 5% of the cases and can cause significant pain.  Flare ups occur with teeth that are extremely irritated and/or infected or with teeth that have a history of prior treatment.  These sometimes occur randomly, even on patients that have had root canals done in the past without problems.  If you have a flare-up, you may experience moderate to severe pain, swelling, throbbing or general discomfort. Please give our office a call as soon as possible so that we can evaluate the situation.  You may be prescribed additional medication such as antibiotics and/or you may be asked to come to the office for further treatment.

After a tooth has been removed, taking care of the area will help promote the healing process. For the area to heal, it is important that a blood clot forms and covers the extraction site. Below are some suggestions on how to encourage the blood clot to form and how to prevent the blood clot from dislodging:

DO:

  • It is normal to experience some discomfort following an extraction. It is much easier to prevent pain than it is to eliminate pain once it has begun. You should begin using some sort of pain relief immediately after surgery.  Tylenol or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) are the most common pain relievers, but you should avoid taking aspirin, as it thins the blood and can cause bleeding.  If you feel you need something stronger, please talk to Dr. Caunitz.
  • Please rest for the remainder of the day, and do not do any strenuous exercise for at least 12 to 24 hours. While resting, keep your head propped up with pillows if possible for the first 24 hours after surgery. Please refrain from any bending over or heavy lifting for 2-3 days
  • The numbness in your mouth should wear off after a few hours. If you are still experiencing numbness more than 6 hours later, please give Dr. Caunitz a call! Prolonged numbness can be caused by swelling near the extraction site, or possibly by the use of a longer lasting local anesthetic. If a longer lasting anesthetic was used, Dr. Caunitz will let you know. If swelling is the culprit, we may be able to inject some steroids into the nerve area of the extraction site, which will help reduce any swelling and may help speed up your recovery.
  • Dr. Caunitz will provide specific instructions for controlling any bleeding near the extraction site. Typically, you will be given a packet of gauze to take home with you, but you can always buy some sterile gauze at the pharmacy if you need more. After folding the gauze into a pad thick enough for you to bite down on,  moisten and then place the gauze pad over the extraction area, keeping firm pressure on the pad for about 30 minutes. This dressing can be changed as often as needed, depending on the amount of bleeding. WARNING:  The amount of blood coming from the site is mixed with your saliva, which makes it appear to be a much larger amount than it actually is. If the bleeding is not stopping, then you should moisten an unused tea bag with water, fold it, and then bite down on the bag for 30 minutes. Black tea contains tannic acid, which helps the blood to clot. While some slight bleeding is to be expected , if you are still bleeding heavily after 2 hours, please give Dr. Caunitz a call.
  • Please refrain from rinsing your mouth for 24 hours. After the first day, you should gently rinse your mouth 4 times a day with a salt water mixture of 1 teaspoon salt in 1 glass of warm water. DO NOT spit forcefully- that can cause the blood clot that formed after surgery to dislodge. You should rinse your mouth after eating to make sure that the area where the tooth is missing remains free of any debris.  Dr. Caunitz may also suggest that you rinse with Chlorhexidine mouth rinse for 10 days after the extraction. This medicinal mouthwash is available in the pharmacy and will help reduce the risk of infection.
  • After the first 24 hours, you are free to brush your teeth, but use extreme care for 3-4 days when brushing near the extraction site. It is important not to dislodge the blood clot which is helping with the healing process. You are welcome to wipe the extraction area with a sterile, wet gauze pad if you would like, but use extreme caution.
  • A liquid or soft diet is recommended for the first day or two following the extraction. Soups, smoothies, milkshakes, yogurt, mashed potatoes, etc… are good examples of the kinds of soft foods we recommend.  To prevent irritation of the area, you should avoid hot and spicy foods, hot drinks and sodas for 3-4 days.
  • If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the medicine as directed.  Antibiotics may be prescribed to help prevent infection.
  • Swelling and bruising are not uncommon after an extraction. The worst swelling, pain and jaw stiffness normally occurs 2 or 3 days after surgery. On the day of the surgery, apply ice packs for 15 minutes on then 15 minutes off until bedtime. This will keep swelling to a minimum. Also keep your head elevated until bedtime. Moist heat after 36 hours may help jaw soreness.

DO NOT:

  • Please refrain from rinsing the extraction site for 24 hours after the removal of the tooth.
  • After the extraction, do not eat hot food or drinks until the numbness has subsided. While you are numb, you are unable to feel pain and can accidentally burn your mouth. Also use care when chewing so that you do not accidentally bite your cheek!
  • Do not poke at or prod the extraction site after treatment. It is important to keep your tongue and fingers away from the extraction site.
  • Please avoid sucking through straws or spitting forcefully after the surgery. Sucking, spitting or even blowing your nose could cause the blood clot that formed over the extraction site to dislodge.
  • Please try not to smoke for at least the first 24 hours after the surgery. Smoking has a negative impact on the healing process, and the sucking could cause the blood clot to dislodge. The longer you can abstain from smoking, the faster your healing will progress.
  • Please do not drink alcohol for the first 24 hours after surgery.  It can also delay the healing process.

IMPORTANT:  

Dry Socket

Any pain you may experience following your extraction should be steadily improving as each day passes. If after 2 days, you are still experience a significant amount of pain, or the pain has been increasing instead of decreasing, please call Dr. Caunitz. This may be a sign that you may be developing a dry socket.

A dry socket may appear when a blood clot gets dislodged prematurely from the walls of the tooth socket.  The nerve endings and bone are left unprotected and can be exposed to air, food and liquids. Dry sockets can be very painful and will disrupt the healing process.

If dry socket is suspected, Dr. Caunitz will evaluate the extraction site and place a special medicated dressing in the socket. This dressing will help with both the pain and the healing process. If Dr. Caunitz suspects an infection, she will prescribe a course of antibiotics to help combat the infection. The medicated dressing should be changed every 24-48 hours for the first few days, then less often as the socket begins to heal.

Taking care of the treated area after implant surgery will help promote the healing process. Below are some suggestions on how to promote healing:

DO:

  • It is normal to experience some discomfort following implant surgery. It is much easier to prevent pain than it is to eliminate pain once it has begun. You should begin using some sort of pain relief immediately after surgery.  Tylenol or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) are the most common pain relievers, but you should avoid taking aspirin, as it thins the blood and can cause bleeding.  If you feel you need something stronger, please talk to Dr. Caunitz.
  • Please rest for the remainder of the day, and do not do any strenuous exercise for at least 12 to 24 hours. While resting, keep your head propped up with pillows if possible for the first 24 hours after surgery. Please refrain from any bending over or heavy lifting for 2-3 days
  • The numbness in your mouth should wear off after a few hours. If you are still experiencing numbness more than 6 hours later, please give Dr. Caunitz a call! Prolonged numbness can be caused by swelling near the surgical site, or possibly by the use of a longer lasting local anesthetic. If a longer lasting anesthetic was used, Dr. Caunitz will let you know.
  • Dr. Caunitz will provide specific instructions for controlling any bleeding near the surgical site.  You may be given a packet of gauze to take home with you, but you can always buy some sterile gauze at the pharmacy if you need more. If you were given gauze to help with the bleeding, fold the gauze into a pad thick enough for you to bite down on, moisten and then place the gauze pad over the surgical area, keeping firm pressure on the pad for about 30 minutes. This dressing can be changed as often as needed, depending on the amount of bleeding. WARNING:  The amount of blood coming from the site is mixed with your saliva, which makes it appear to be a much larger amount than it actually is. If the bleeding is not stopping, then you should moisten an unused tea bag with water, fold it, and then bite down on the bag for 30 minutes. Black tea contains tannic acid, which helps the blood to clot. While some slight bleeding is to be expected , if you are still bleeding heavily after 2 hours, please give Dr. Caunitz a call.
  • Please refrain from rinsing your mouth for 24 hours. After the first day, you should gently rinse your mouth 4 times a day with a salt water mixture of 1 teaspoon salt in 1 glass of warm water. DO NOT spit forcefully- that can cause the blood clot that formed after surgery to dislodge. You should rinse your mouth after eating to make sure that the area where the tooth is missing remains free of any debris.  Dr. Caunitz may also suggest that you rinse with Chlorhexidine mouth rinse for 10 days after the extraction. This medicinal mouthwash is available in the pharmacy and will help reduce the risk of infection.
  • After the first 24 hours, you are free to brush your teeth, but use extreme care for 3-4 days when brushing near the surgical site. It is important not to dislodge the blood clot which is helping with the healing process.
  • A liquid or soft diet is recommended for the first day or two following the extraction. Soups, smoothies, milkshakes, yogurt, mashed potatoes, etc… are good examples of the kinds of soft foods we recommend.  To prevent irritation of the area, you should avoid hot and spicy foods, hot drinks and sodas for 3-4 days.
  • If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the medicine as directed.  Antibiotics may be prescribed to help prevent infection.
  • Swelling and bruising are not uncommon after implant surgery.  The worst swelling, pain and jaw stiffness normally occurs 2 or 3 days after surgery. On the day of the surgery, apply ice packs for 15 minutes on then 15 minutes off until bedtime. This will keep swelling to a minimum. Also keep your head elevated until bedtime. Moist heat after 36 hours may help jaw soreness.

DO NOT:

  • Please refrain from rinsing the extraction site for 24 hours after the removal of the tooth.
  • After surgery, please do not eat hot food or drinks until the numbness has subsided. While you are numb, you are unable to feel pain and can accidentally burn your mouth. Also use care when chewing so that you do not accidentally bite your cheek!
  • Do not poke at or prod the surgical site after treatment. It is important to keep your tongue and fingers away from the extraction site.
  • Please avoid sucking through straws or spitting forcefully after the surgery. Sucking, spitting or even blowing your nose could cause the blood clot that formed over the surgical site to dislodge.
  • Please try not to smoke for at least the first 24 hours after the surgery. Smoking has a negative impact on the healing process, and the sucking could cause the blood clot to dislodge. The longer you can abstain from smoking, the faster your healing will progress.
  • Please do not drink alcohol for the first 24 hours after surgery.  It can also delay the healing process.

For the first 24 hours Following Bleaching:

You may experience some sensitivity during the first 24 hours. It may be helpful to use toothpaste made for sensitive teeth or prescription fluoride gels to protect the teeth and to help alleviate the sensitivity. Over the counter medications such as Tylenol® or Advil® can also be used to alleviate the sensitivity.

For the first 48 Hours Following Bleaching:

Your teeth are more susceptible to staining for 48 hours after bleaching treatments. For the 48 hours after whitening, it is best to avoid dark-colored food or beverages that can stain your teeth. Any item that can stain your clothes can also stain your teeth.  For best results from your whitening treatment, please avoid the following:  berries, cola or other dark sodas, red wine, coffee and tea, tobacco and ketchup, soy or other dark sauces.

Using Your Custom Trays:

Please follow the instructions given by our office, placing the bleaching gel in the center of each tooth position on the tray so that the gel will rest against the front surface of the teeth once it is placed in your mouth. Please wear the trays for the recommended time, then rinse your mouth and gently remove any gel remaining on your teeth with a soft bristle toothbrush. Be sure to clean the trays after each use.

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