Dental Post-Op Instructions – Falmouth, ME

Caring For Your Smile After Surgery

Anytime you must undergo dental surgery, it’s important that you know what to do once you get home and start caring for your smile. Our team at Falmouth Dentistry will equip you with post-op instructions so that you avoid the potential for complications and instead heal swiftly and successfully.

One of the most important things to remember after having any kind of dental procedure is to avoid eating until after the anesthesia wears off. Otherwise, you might damage your cheeks, gums, lips, or tongue when biting down.

The information below is designed to serve as a guide so that you can heal effectively after entrusting your smile needs to our dental team.

Root Canal Treatment

You can expect soreness for a few days after a root canal procedure. You should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed so that you do not irritate the area. Also, avoiding the surgical site ensures that the temporary restorative material properly sets. You will also need to take an antibiotic to treat any remaining infection in your tooth. If you notice an increasing amount of pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication, or the loss of the temporary restoration (filling), call your dentist immediately.

Dental Crowns and Bridges

Before you receive your permanent crown/bridge, you will first receive a temporary restoration. This is not as sturdy as the permanent version, so you should be careful when cleaning and eating. You should brush the area gently and should not pull up on the tooth when flossing because it could become dislodged. The same goes for eating. You should avoid sticky or chewy foods while you have the temporary in.

There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will subside after the soft tissue heals. A warm salt water rinse will help, and you can also take Advil or Tylenol if the pain does not go away.

When the permanent crown or bridge is placed, it may feel a little awkward for a few days. Your mouth needs to adjust to the new tooth, and it should feel like one of your natural teeth in less than a week. If your bite feels abnormal in any way, you should let your dentist know. Caring for your bridge or crown is just like caring for your own teeth. You should brush and floss regularly.

White Fillings (Bonding)

After the anesthesia wears off, your teeth will likely be sensitive. You should avoid hot and cold foods and drinks for the next few days. After that initial period, your treated teeth will feel as good as new. Continue your normal hygiene plan to ensure that your fillings last for a long time.

Scaling and Root Planing

After this procedure, your gums will probably be slightly sore and irritated for a few days. You should rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1 tsp salt/8 oz water) 2-3 times a day. This will relieve the pain and cleanse the area. Brushing and flossing should be continued right after the procedure, but you should brush gently so that you do not further irritate the area. If you experience any swelling or stiffness, you can use a cold compress and take some pain relieving medicine. Avoid any hard or chewy foods for 2-3 days after the surgery to ensure the area heals correctly. If you continue to experience pain or swelling after a few days, contact your dentist.


Before receiving your permanent veneers, you will be required to wear temporaries. They do not provide the same level of durability as permanent restorations, so it’s necessary that you be mindful when practicing your oral hygiene routine to avoid damaging your teeth or causing one of the veneers to pop off.

It’s not uncommon to experience some minor sensitivity once your permanent veneers are in place, but it should only be temporary. To remedy any discomfort you might feel, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help it go away.

It will take little time for your mouth to become accustomed to your new veneers. However, should you notice a change in your bite, make sure to let us know.  

Tooth Extractions

After the surgery, you will need to rest. You need to be driven home by a friend or family member because of the anesthesia. You can expect the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied after the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked.

If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours, make sure to call our office. Rest when you return home but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Your dentist will prescribe you pain medication, so if you start to feel any soreness, take it as directed. You can also use an ice pack for the pain. Your dentist might also provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site.

You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ice Cream
  • Thin Soups
  • ...and other food you can eat without chewing.

When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, or irritation, or don't feel that the extraction site is healing properly, call your dentist.