Dental Choice completes many dental procedures for our patients, from general treatments like tooth extractions and root canals to restorative and periodontal services. Although your dentist will give you post-op care instructions before they perform any treatment, here is a review of what to expect after you have undergone a dental procedure as well as information on how to care for yourself in the days that follow.
Swollen, Bruised or Pained Areas
Swelling, bruising and slight discomfort can occur after a dental procedure, and they’re normal side effects. Ice packs can help. Place one on your face at the surgical site for periods of 15 minutes, on and off. This process can be done a few times a day for up to 48 hours after the procedure.
Some bleeding is to be expected after you’ve undergone a dental procedure. The dentist will provide you with gauze, which you can place over the bleed to control it until the blood clots. Bite — but do not chew — on the gauze to maintain firm pressure. The gauze should only have to remain in place for about 30 minutes.
If you continue to experience bleeding, replace the gauze and press firmly for another 30 minutes. This process may need to be repeated three or four times. Another method to stop bleeding is to place a moist black tea bag over the surgical site and apply pressure for about 30 minutes. Repeat as necessary. Spitting should be avoided, as it could reopen the wound.
It’s normal for saliva to be streaked with blood for up to 24 hours. To avoid staining while you sleep, place a towel over your pillow.
Following a dental procedure, you may be prescribed pain medication or even an antibiotic. Be sure to follow the medication instructions provided. Pain medication doesn’t usually need to be taken for about two hours after your procedure, as you’ll probably still feel the effects of the anesthetics. It’s advisable to start using your pain medication before any pain is experienced, but be sure to take it with food to prevent nausea.
Mild pain can be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as long as there’s no allergy or other reason to avoid them.
What to Know About Sutures
Some dental procedures will require the use of sutures, which are needed to allow the tissue to heal properly. At Dental Choice, we use two types of sutures:
- Dissolvable: These sutures do not require a follow-up appointment for removal, as they’ll fall out on their own in seven to 14 days.
- Non-dissolvable: These traditional sutures will need to be removed by your dentist. The team at Dental Choice will arrange a follow-up appointment with you.
Limitations to Mouth Opening
Another common side effect of some dental procedures is the inability to open your mouth fully or discomfort when you attempt to open your mouth. This issue is known as limited mouth opening, and it’s generally a normal protective mechanism. This side effect usually subsides in a few days.
Maintaining Oral Hygiene
Avoid rinsing your mouth vigorously for a least 24 hours after your dental procedure. After that, take it easy and rinse gently using a warm saltwater solution. As long as you’re gentle around the site of the dental procedure, you can continue to brush and floss daily.
Eating and Drinking Post-Procedure
The team at Dental Choice will advise you about which foods and drinks are best avoided after a dental procedure. However, soft food and lots of fluids are a good rule of thumb. Try to find nutritious options, such as:
- Fruit and vegetable juice
- Instant breakfast preparations, like Boost or Ensure
Drink ample fluids, but do so in small, frequent amounts. Also, avoid straws for several days after your procedure since they could stimulate bleeding or inhibit the healing process.
Possible Complications Following a Dental Procedure
There’s a risk for complications or discomfort to occur two to three days after a dental procedure. Two of the most common causes are infection and dry socket, which means a blood clot has been disturbed, causing a toothache sensation or tenderness in the jaw.
Both of these complications can be quite uncomfortable. If you or your family member are experiencing symptoms, please call your Dental Choice office to schedule a follow-up appointment. Slight discomfort is normal within the first few days after a dental procedure, but it should improve as each day goes by. If discomfort continues without relief, you can call our office for advice on what to do next.
Contact Dental Choice for More Information
If you suspect that you may be experiencing adverse symptoms or complications due to your dental procedure, the team at Dental Choice will strive to alleviate your concerns. Contact our office today for more information or to make an appointment.