Post-Op Dental Instructions Waco

We’ll Help You and Your Smile Recover

Senior woman in dental chair smiling at her Waco dentist

After your dental procedure is over, the recovery period can sometimes be confusing and nerve wracking. How do you know if something’s wrong? What symptoms are normal? Our team at Heart of Texas Smiles General & Cosmetic Dentistry in Waco will always provide plenty of detailed information about what to expect, but you can also read up on some helpful post-operative instructions below for some of the most common procedures we perform. If you’re ever in serious pain or experience heavy bleeding, call us right away.

Tooth Extractions

Gloved hand holding an extracted tooth

Here are some helpful guidelines for what to expect following one or more teeth being extracted.

What to Do on the First Day

  • DO bite on your gauze pack firmly for 30-45 minutes.
  • DO use ice packs for the next 5-8 hours in order to minimize swelling.
  • DO stick to a diet of soft foods.
  • DO take your first pain pill after the gauze sponge is removed. It’s best taken after a meal.
  • DO maintain a high fluid intake, which can include juice, milk, water, iced tea, or soup.

What NOT to Do on the First Day

  • Do NOT spit or swallow your saliva as much as possible.
  • Do NOT rinse or gargle.
  • Do NOT smoke or drink any liquids through a straw.
  • Do NOT drink alcoholic or carbonated beverages.
  • Do NOT drink hot beverages (warm is all right).
  • Do NOT engage in overly strenuous activities.

Second Day Instructions

On the second day, patients can begin rinsing their mouths every 2-4 hours. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water to help with this. Also, be sure not to skip meals. A nutritionally balanced diet can help greatly with the healing process.

More Important Information

  • Most patients will experience some discomfort on the first day. Pain medication will help make it tolerable. This should gradually decrease over the next 4-5 days.
  • Some light bleeding is normal. Because the blood is mixing with your saliva, it’ll seem more severe than it actually is. Bite firmly on a gauze pack for 30 minutes at a time and repeat this until the bleeding subsides.
  • It is common to experience some facial swelling. It will likely be most noticeable after 36 hours. Using ice packs for the first 6-8 hours after surgery can help minimize this. After 24 hours, switch to moist heat (10 minutes on and 10 minutes off).
  • Regularly exercise your jaw muscles to prevent stiffness. Chewing gum can help with this!
  • If you’re experiencing nausea, drink an ounce of a carbonated drink every hour for 5-6 hours. Then, stick to mild tea, clear broth, and soft foods before resuming a regular diet. Be sure not to take pain pills on an empty stomach.
  • Continue to brush and floss your remaining teeth.
  • If stitches were placed, they should dissolve within one week.
  • If we prescribe you antibiotics, please take them until you run out. If you develop an allergic reaction such as itching or a rash, stop taking them immediately and contact us!
  • Small, sharp bone fragments may work their way through the gums during healing. If they bother you, please contact us; we can remove them.
  • Black and blue discoloration can occur on your face after extraction. This typically resolves itself after a few days.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Close up of a patient receiving a dental exam

Your lips and tongue may be numb for several hours after your appointment. Please avoid chewing or hot beverages until this has worn off! It could be very easy to accidentally bite or burn this numb area.

It is normal to experience some enhanced sensitivity to hot, cold, and pressure after the treatment. The deeper the cavity is, the more sensitive the area will be. If the pain persists, please let us know – a root canal may be needed.

Dental Crowns

White dental crown over a tooth in a model of the mouth

After your first crown appointment, you will receive a temporary crown. While wearing it, avoid overly sticky or hard foods and pull the floss down between the teeth instead of up. If the temporary comes off, dab some Vaseline in the crown and gently place it back on the tooth. Then, call Heart of Texas Smiles General & Cosmetic Dentistry and we will help you schedule a time to get it properly replaced. If you keep it off for too long, your new, permanent crown may not fit!

Also, numbness can persist after your appointment for several hours, as well as some jaw stiffness and general bruising. Applying ice can ease this discomfort.