Home Instructions After Dental Visits

H&L Dentistry provides patient instructions for self care at home after dental services and treatments. Choose a link to view the information for that procedure. If you have any questions, please call our Durham office at H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402.

After Composite Fillings | After Amalgam Fillings | After Deep Cleanings | After Cosmetic Dental Reconstruction | After Dental Crowns and Bridges | After Tooth Extractions | After A Root Canal | Caring for New Dentures


After Composite Restorations (White Fillings)

When an anesthetic has been used, your lips and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. It is very easy to bite or burn your tongue or lip while you are numb.

It is normal to experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity after your appointment. Injection sites may also be sore. Ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) should work well to alleviate the tenderness. If pressure sensitivity persists beyond a few days or if the sensitivity to hot or cold increases, contact our office at H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402.

You may chew with your restored tooth as soon as the anesthetic completely wears off, as they are fully set when you leave the office.

If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office at H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402.


After Amalgam Restorations (Silver Fillings)

When an anesthetic has been used, your lips and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. It is very easy to bite or burn your tongue or lip while you are numb.

It is normal to experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity after your dental filling appointment. Injection sites may also be sore. Ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) should work well to alleviate the tenderness. If pressure sensitivity persists beyond a few days or if the sensitivity to hot or cold increases, contact our office at H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402.

Your silver filling is setting and it will be completely set in the next 24 hours. However, it is set enough for you to eat a soft diet after the anesthesia wears off. Avoid chewing on the numb side to avoid injuries.

If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office at H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402.


After Deep Cleanings (Scaling and Root Planing)

Most patients experience little or no discomfort after scaling and root planing. The most frequent symptoms are: tenderness of the gum tissue, teeth that are mildly sensitive to cold drinks and foods, and discomfort when eating spicy foods.

Please follow these instructions to stay as comfortable as possible:

  • Avoid eating spicy foods or foods with extreme temperatures for 3 days
  • Avoid crunchy foods such as potato chips, tortilla chips, popcorn, or seeds for 3 days.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can take these before your local anesthesia wears off and if you have any pain in the first few hours. Please do not take these medications if you are allergic to them or if your medical doctor has told you not to take them. Please follow dosage recommendations on the product labels.
  • Avoid taking any pain relievers that contain aspirin.
  • Rinse with warm salt water 3 times a day. Stir 1 teaspoon of salt into a cup of water and rinse for 60 seconds. This can soothe any gum tissues that may be tender after the root planing procedure.
  • Refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol for 48 hours after the procedure. Tobacco and alcohol can delay healing of the tissues.
  • Switching to a sensitive toothpaste such as Sensodyne can help reduce tooth sensitivity following a deep teeth cleaning involving scaling and root planing.

It is important to maintain good plaque control to promote optimal healing after scaling and root planing. Therefore, please perform all home care procedures as prescribed by your dentist and hygienist.


After Cosmetic Dental Reconstruction

Remember that it will take time to adjust to the feel of your new bite. When the bite is altered, or the position of the teeth is changed, it takes several days for the brain to recognize the new position of your teeth or their thickness as normal. If you continue to detect any high spots or problems with your bite, call our office at H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402 so we can schedule an adjustment appointment.

It is normal to experience some hot and cold sensitivity. The teeth require some time to heal after removal of tooth structure and will be sensitive in the interim. Your gums may also be sore for a few days. Warm salt water rinses (half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) three times a day will reduce pain and swelling. A mild pain medication, such as one tablet of Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin) every 3-4 hours, should ease any residual discomfort.

Don’t be concerned if your speech is affected for the first few days. You’ll quickly adapt and be speaking normally. You may notice increased salivation. This is because your brain is responding to the new size and shape of your teeth. This should subside to normal in about a week.

Daily brushing and flossing are a must for your new dental work. Daily plaque removal is critical for the long-term success of your new teeth, as are regular cleaning appointments.

Any food that can crack, chip, or damage a natural tooth can do the same to your new teeth. Avoid hard foods and substances such as beer nuts, peanut brittle, ice, and sticky candies. Also avoid any foreign objects such as fingernails and pencils. Smoking will stain your new teeth. Minimize or avoid foods that stain such as coffee, red wine, tea, and berries.

If you engage in sports or if you grind your teeth at night, let us know so we can make a custom mouth guard. Adjusting to the look and feel of your new smile will take time. If you have any problems or concerns, please let us know. We always welcome your questions: H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402.


After Crown and Bridge Appointments

Dental crowns and dental bridges usually take two or three appointments to complete. In the first visit, the teeth are prepared and dental impressions (molds) of the mouth are made. Provisional crowns (also known as temporary crowns) or bridges are placed to protect the teeth while the custom restoration is being made. Because the teeth will be anesthetized, the tongue, lips and roof of the mouth may be numb. Please refrain from eating and drinking hot beverages until the numbness is completely worn off.

Occasionally a provisional crown may come off. Call us at H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402 if this happens and bring the provisional crown with you so we can re-cement it. It is very important for the provisional to stay in place, as it will prevent other teeth from moving and compromising the fit of your final restoration.

To keep your provisionals in place, avoid eating sticky foods (gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew on the opposite side of your mouth. It is important to brush normally, but floss carefully and don’t pull up on the floss which may dislodge the provisional but pull the floss out from the side of the provisional crown.

It is normal to experience some temperature and pressure sensitivity after each appointment. The sensitivity should subside a few days or weeks after the placement of the final restoration. Mild pain medications may also be used as directed by our office.

If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office at H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402.


After Tooth Extraction

After a tooth extraction it is important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That is why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times.

After the blood clot forms, it is important not to disturb or dislodge the clot as it aids healing. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. Avoid the use of hydrogen peroxide. These activities will dislodge or dissolve the clot and delay the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.

After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.

Use the pain medication as directed. Call the office at H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402 if the medication does not seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluid and eat nutritious soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.

It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing twice  a day and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.

After a few days you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately at H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402.


After Your Root Canal Treatment

Most patients experience some type of discomfort after root canal treatment. This is very normal due to irritation produced by inflammation or infection that was present in your mouth. Manipulation of the tooth and the supporting tissues during treatment may also produce some mild irritation. The tooth should feel much better in three to five days.

To minimize discomfort, avoid chewing on the tooth for three days to allow time for healing. After this time, try chewing on the tooth. If it is still sensitive, do not chew on it for a couple more days.

A slight swelling occasionally develops in conjunction with the discomfort. This is often due to tissue sensitivity and not necessarily due to infection. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt-water (1⁄2 teaspoon of salt on 1 cup of warm water) will speed the healing process and reduce the swelling. This should be repeated every three to four hours until the tooth is comfortable.

Take prescriptions as directed, if given, to facilitate the healing process. Not all patients need antibiotics. If your doctor feels it necessary, they may have prescribed them to you.

Final restoration of the tooth should be done as soon as possible to avoid potential complications and to improve prognosis of your tooth.

If pain and swelling persists or becomes progressively worse, please contact our office: H&L Dentistry Phone Number (919) 493-1402.


Care for Your New Denture

Remember to take out the denture at bedtime and put it back in when you wake up. Do not wear dentures around the clock, because tissues that are covered with denture material all the time can become irritated.

Dentures are very delicate and can break if dropped even a few inches onto a hard surface. Be sure to handle them with care. When putting in or taking out your dentures, stand over a folded towel or a sink filled with water.

ADA Seal of ApprovalWhen you are not wearing them, keep your dentures plain water. Never soak dentures in hot water because this can cause them to warp. Never apply denture cleansers while dentures are still in the mouth. Don’t let your dentures dry out or they might lose their shape. If I recommended that you use a denture soaking solution, look for one that displays the ADA Seal of Acceptance, a symbol of safety and effectiveness.

Be sure to keep your dentures away from curious children or pets.

Daily brushing will help remove food deposits and plaque and help prevent your artificial teeth from becoming permanently stained. Avoid hard-bristled toothbrushes that can damage your dentures. A toothbrush made specifically for denture cleaning is best, but a soft-bristled toothbrush can also be used.

To clean your dentures, rinse off any loose bits of food. Moisten the brush and apply the cleanser that I have recommended and gently brush every surface of the denture.