SiteLock David Isaacs, DDS, Amanda Harris, DMD

Home Care

A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients.  Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal.  Your personal home care starts by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
 
Tooth brushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
 
  • Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
  • Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
  • Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
 
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended.  They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently.  Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
 
Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline.  Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
  • Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
  • Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline.  Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
 
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
 
Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush.  If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.
 
Use other dental aids as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist: Interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc., can all play a role in good dental home care.

Extractions

Dr. Isaacs will give you detailed instructions on what to do and what to expect after your extraction. If you have any questions, make sure to ask him before you leave the office.
 
Having a tooth taken out is surgery. You can expect some discomfort after even simple extractions. Usually it is mild. Research has shown that taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can greatly decrease pain after a tooth extraction. These drugs include ibuprofen, such as Advil, Motrin and others. Take the dose your doctor recommends, 3 to 4 times a day. Take the first pills before the local anesthesia wears off. Continue taking them for 3 days. Ask your doctor for complete instructions.
 
Surgical extractions generally cause more pain after the procedure than simple extractions. The level of discomfort and how long it lasts will depend on how difficult it was to remove the tooth. Your dentist may prescribe pain medicine for a few days and then suggest an NSAID. Most pain disappears after a couple of days.
 
A cut in the mouth tends to bleed more than a cut on the skin because it cannot dry out and form a scab. After an extraction, you'll be asked to bite on a piece of gauze for 20 to 30 minutes. This pressure will allow the blood to clot. You will still have a small amount of bleeding for the next 24 hours or so. It should taper off after that. Don't disturb the clot that forms on the wound.
 
You can put ice packs on your face to reduce swelling. Typically, they are left on for 20 minutes at a time and removed for 20 minutes. If your jaw is sore and stiff after the swelling goes away, try warm compresses.
Eat soft and cool foods for a few days. Then try other food as you feel comfortable.
 
A gentle rinse with warm salt water, started 24 hours after the surgery, can help to keep the area clean. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. Most swelling and bleeding end within a day or two after the surgery. Initial healing takes at least two weeks.
 
If you need stitches, your doctor may use the kind that dissolve on their own. This usually takes one to two weeks. Rinsing with warm salt water will help the stitches to dissolve. Some stitches need to be removed by the dentist.
 
You should not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These actions can pull the blood clot out of the hole where the tooth was. Do not smoke on the day of surgery. Do not smoke for 24 to 72 hours after having a tooth extracted.

Crowns

Root Canals

 
  • Until your root canal procedure is completely finished and the permanent filling or crown is in place, it is wise to minimize chewing on the tooth under repair.
  • Upon completion of treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive for a few days due to natural tissue inflammation. This can usually be controlled with over-the-counter analgesics such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil,Motrin) or naproxen (e.g., Aleve).
  • Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.
Upon leaving after the first visit, you will have a temporary dental crown on your tooth. A few precautions should be taken:
 
  • Avoid sticky or chewy foods (e.g., chewing gum and caramels), which have the potential of grabbing and pulling at the crown.
  • Shift the bulk of your chewing to the opposite side of your mouth.
  • Avoid chewing hard foods (e.g., raw vegetables), which can dislodge or break the crown.
  • When cleaning your teeth, slide flossing material out rather that lifting it out. Lifting the floss out could pull off the temporary crown.

What’s safe to eat after crowns? With a temporary crown, it is important to keep anything very sticky or crunchy away from the crown.  This is simply so that the crown does not get pulled off, or break under high chewing forces.  Besides that, you may eat to your comfort level after the anesthetic is worn off.  The gum and tooth may be tender in the area that the work was done, and sometimes it can be helpful to stick to a softer diet for the first few days after a crown. Once the permanent crown is cemented on, it is best to avoid sticky things for the first 24 hours.  After that, you may eat, drink, and clean your tooth just like you did before.  The crown and gum may be tender or sensitive for the first few weeks while the gum is healing from the work done.
Read for more information on crowns.

 

Fillings

  • You can expect to be numb.
  • Avoid eating anything sticky or hard during the first 24 hours.
  • It is best to wait until anesthetic wears off before eating, for it is very easy to bite and traumatize some of the numb tissues in your mouth if you were to eat before it wears off.  If you have had a ‘white’ resin filling, the filling is cured up completely after it is placed in your mouth, and after the numbness wears off, you can resume eating and drinking as you normally would.
  • If you had a silver metal filling, you can resume eating once the numbness wears off, but it is important to avoid anything significantly sticky or crunchy on the filling for the first 24 hours.  After this initial 24 hours, you may eat and drink as you normally do.
SiteLock David Isaacs, DDS, Amanda Harris, DMD