Post-Op & Maintenance


Remember that you have just had minor surgery. Therefore, it is natural that temporary changes will occur in the mouth afterwards. You’ll be functioning normally in just a few days. In the meantime, you should follow a few simple rules to help promote healing, prevent complications, and make yourself more comfortable. Also remember to be kind to yourself.

To ensure your comfort during treatment you were given a local anesthetic. This anesthetic typically leaves your lips, teeth and tongue numb after the appointment. The length of time you experience numbness varies depending on the type of anesthetic you’ve received. The numbness should subside within 3-5 hours after leaving our office. While your mouth is numb, you’ll need to avoid chewing anything and be careful not to bite your cheek, lip, or tongue.

We place a gauze pack on the extraction site to limit the bleeding and confine the blood while clotting takes place. Make sure you leave this gauze pack in place for 30 to 45 minutes after leaving our office. Do not chew on the pack but continue to put moderate pressure by biting down on it. After this length of time, you can remove and discard the gauze pack. There may be some bleeding or oozing after the pack is removed. If so, follow this procedure:

  • Fold a piece of clean gauze into a pad thick enough to bite on and place the pad directly on the extraction site.
  • Apply moderate pressure by closing the teeth firmly on this pad. Maintain this pressure for about 30 minutes. If the pad becomes soaked, replace it with a clean one in 20 minutes.
  • Do not suck on the extraction site.
  • If bleeding stops and then starts again, place a gauze or tea bag back on the extraction site and bite down it with moderate pressure for one hour.
  • If heavy bleeding continues past five hours, call our office. (Remember, though that a lot of saliva and a little blood can look like a lot of bleeding.)

The Blood Clot:
After an extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket. This clot is an important part of the normal healing process. You should therefore avoid activities that might disturb the clot. Here’s how to protect it:

  • Do not smoke, spit, rinse your mouth vigorously, or drink through a straw for 24 hours. These activities create suction in the mouth, which could dislodge the clot and delay healing.
  • Do not touch the extraction site with your tongue or fingers. If sutures have been placed, do not pull on them.
  • Do not blow your nose or sneeze violently. If you have an upper respiratory tract infection or suffer from allergies, be sure to have the appropriate sinus medication on hand.
  • Do not clean the teeth next to the healing tooth socket for the rest of the day. You should however, brush and floss your other teeth thoroughly. Gently rinse your mouth afterward with water.
  • Limit strenuous activity for 24 hours after the extraction. This will reduce bleeding and help the blood clot to form.
  • After resting, rise up slowly to avoid passing out.

Swelling and Discomfort:
The initial healing period usually takes one to two weeks. After the tooth is removed, you may have some discomfort and notice some swelling for the first 48 hours. You can help reduce swelling and pain by allowing cold compresses to the face. Place a cold, moist cloth/towel or an ice bag to your face for the first 4 hours, leaving it on for 20 minutes and off for 20 minutes.

Some discomfort after the extraction is normal. An over-the counter pain reliever is usually sufficient. However, if Dr.Dr. Saleh has prescribed medication for you, use your medication exactly as directed. If the medication prescribed does not seem to work for you, do not increase the dosage. If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, call our office immediately so we can give you exact instructions on how to care for your problem.

To avoid nausea, do not take medication on an empty stomach.

If you routinely take blood thinners as prescribed by your physician, avoid taking them for 24 hours after the extraction and then consult with your physician as to when to start back on them.

Also avoid any aspirin-containing medication for 24 hours after the extraction, as this will interfere with cessation of your bleeding.

After the extraction, once you are no longer biting down on a gauze pad and your numbness is completely gone, drink lots of liquids (at least 2 quarts per day) and eat soft nutritious foods (soup, yogurt, milkshake) for the first 24 hours after the extraction. Avoid alcoholic beverages, carbonated beverages and hot liquids during this time. Begin eating solid foods the next day or as soon as you can chew comfortably. For about 2 days, try to chew food on the side opposite the extraction site. If you are troubled by nausea and vomiting, call us for advice.

The day after the extraction, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (one-half teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. glass of warm water). Repeat this several times a day for a week. Gently rinsing after meals is important to keep particles out of the extraction site, but remember not to rinse your mouth vigorously. Avoid using a mouth rinse or mouthwash during this early healing period.

Oral Hygiene:
It is important to continue to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly twice a day. The tongue should also be cleaned with a tongue refresher. This will help eliminate the bad breath and unpleasant taste that is common after an extraction. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush so that you do not injure the tissues in your mouth. On the day of the extraction, avoid cleaning the teeth next to the healing tooth socket.

Temporary Crowns and Bridges

A plastic restoration has been custom fabricated and placed on your tooth to protect your tooth while the final restoration is being made by the lab technician.  By properly caring for this temporary, you ensure the safety of your prepared tooth during this waiting time.  Please be diligent in following these recommendations:

  • Do not chew on anything until your numbness is completely gone.  This may take as long as 3-5 hours after leaving the office.
  • The temporary restoration is cemented with temporary cement and certain foods will stick to it and therefore cause it to be pulled off or dislodged.  (This will not happen with the permanent restoration).  To avoid the temporary from being pulled off or dislodged, refrain from eating sticky or hard foods and gum until your final restoration is cemented.  Examples of such foods are chocolate, candy, rice, corn, ribs, steak, chicken, nuts, apples, and hard vegetables, to name a few.
  • Temporary crowns are not strong.  If not careful, they may break or come off.  If they do, save the temporary and call us for an appointment and we will replace them.  If you are unable to contact us, go to a pharmacy and obtain a product called “FIXODENT” (a denture adhesive).
    Clean the inside of your temporary with a Q-tip soaked in water, dry it very well, place a small amount of the Fixodent inside it and place it over your prepared tooth in the proper orientation.  Be sure to completely seat the temporary on your tooth prior to biting down on it.  This denture adhesive will hold the temporary in place until you can see us.

Please do not leave the temporary restoration out of your mouth as this will allow the teeth to move immediately and the final restoration will not fit.

Please remember the following:

  • The color of the plastic temporary does not resemble the final restoration.
  • The shape and size of the temporary may be slightly different to your natural tooth and especially temporaries on the back teeth may feel larger and rougher to the tongue and the cheek.
  • Temporary restorations, due to the nature of the plastic material are more porous and thus you may feel some sensitivity to cold or air.
  • Clean your temporary restoration by gently brushing it with a soft bristled toothbrush and refrain from using an electric toothbrush.

If after your numbness has completely gone, in biting down you find that the temporary restoration contacts the opposing tooth before the rest of your teeth touch, call us right away so that we can correct this condition as soon as possible.

After Cosmetic 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 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 Santa Ana Phone Number 714-546-5579 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 (a teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. cup of warm water) three times a day will reduce pain and swelling. A mild over the counter pain medication may be used as directed by our office.

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, break, 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, fingernails, or pencils) and sticky candies. Smoking will stain your new teeth. Minimize or avoid foods that stain such as coffee, red wine, colored tea and berries.

If you engage in sports let us know so we can make a custom mouthguard. If you grind your teeth at night, wear the night guard we have provided for you. 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.

After Composite Fillings (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 & pressure sensitivity after your appointment. Injection sites may also be sore. If pressure sensitivity persists beyond a few days or if the sensitivity to hot or cold increases, contact our office at Santa Ana Phone Number 714-546-5579.

You may chew with your composite fillings as soon as the anesthetic completely wears off, since 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 Santa Ana Phone Number 714-546-5579.