After every dental procedure, whether a minor tooth extraction or major cosmetic reconstruction, the patient must observe precautions for at least the next 24 hours for better and faster healing prospects. If you follow dentist’s instructions you can go on with your normal routine in a matter of few days and prevent complications.
After Tooth Extraction
If you had tooth extraction, which is considered a minor procedure, it is common to experience bleeding right after but there is no need to panic. What the patient needs to do is follow these home care instructions:
- Put a gauze pad on the extraction site and bite it gently to absorb the blood. Let it stay for at least half an hour. Replace it as soon as it gets soaked, as often as necessary.
- When blood clot has formed, healing can begin. Make sure that you don’t engage in strenuous activities like heavy lifting, running or brisk walking. Stay at home and engage in relaxing activities instead to hasten the healing process.
- Don’t smoke.
- Don’t suck on a straw especially on the extraction site.
- Rinse your mouth gently.
- Avoid cleaning the teeth near the extraction site at least for the next 24 hours. You may brush and floss your other teeth gently and carefully.
- Go on a soft diet. Drink plenty of water and nutritious food. Don’t drink alcoholic beverages and avoid hot liquids.
- You may eat solid food after 24 hours but use the opposite side of the extraction site in chewing.
- The next day after extraction, you may rinse your mouth with warm water and salt. Combine 8 oz of warm water and half a teaspoon of salt and rinse your mouth gently to remove food particles.
- Use a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to clean your tongue as well to avoid bad breath.
Although tooth extraction is a minor surgery, it is still possible to experience pain and infection. Your dentist will prescribe medication to prevent infection and relieve pain but the patient must follow instructions.
For Dental Implants
While dental implant is now a common procedure, it still requires the patient to be mindful of post-operative instructions. Once the anesthesia has subsided, the patient may feel discomfort or pain. Since the implant is made of foreign material, infection is also a possibility. To hasten healing and minimize discomfort, the patient is advised to do the following for at least the next 24 hours after the procedure:
- Not spit. Just wipe your mouth with tissue if needed or swallow saliva.
- Not suck on straw.
- Not smoke.
- Not use fingers or tongue to touch or poke on the surgical area.
If there is bleeding, put gauze on the surgical area and gently put pressure on it for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the soaked gauze and replace with a new one and again put pressure on the surgical area for an hour. If the bleeding continues, use tea bags instead of gauze to help in forming clot.
Swelling may be experienced for the next 24 to 48 hours after the surgery. This can last for a few days. To take care of the swelling, patient may use an ice pack and place it on the cheek next to the surgical area for 20 minutes. Remove the ice pack for ten minutes then place it again on the surgical area for 20 minutes. Do this for the rest of the day and the next day. You can keep the swelling down if you sleep with your head elevated slightly above the heart. The use of moist heat on the third day will further tone down the swelling.
For Crown, Bridge and Cosmetic Reconstruction
It is important to let the anesthetic wear off before eating or drinking warm beverage. When your mouth is still numb, it is not easy to distinguish hot and not-so-hot beverages so you can easily burn your tongue or affect the sore injection or surgical sites.
After every dental procedure, remember that you must go on a soft diet for at least the next 24 hours. Don’t drink coffee or tea for these may stain your newly-crowned teeth. Stick to drinking water in the meantime. Avoid strenuous activities especially when reconstruction procedures are still ongoing. Since it usually takes two to three visits to complete the placement of crowns or bridges, engaging in relaxing activities and a few more days of moderate activities will make the healing faster.
The patient may need time to get used to the new bite too so it is important to take time off from different activities that you have been used to, like running, brisk walking or dancing. Once you are settled with your new bite and there is no need for adjustment anymore, you can slowly go back to your normal routine.
For pain and possible infection, since cosmetic reconstruction usually introduces foreign materials into the mouth, medications can be prescribed by your dentist. Make sure that you follow instructions to avoid complications.