Nowadays, most dentists do a pretty fair job of explaining the procedures that are being performed for our patients. I remember when I was a kid and my dentist would just take a peek and go to town on my teeth, doing whatever work needed to be done. Most of the time, I didn’t even know beforehand what my appointment was going to be about. Then again, sometimes with kids, not knowing is for the best.
After treatment is performed, most dentists will go over a list of post-operative instructions. Sometimes this will be verbally from a dental assistant or printed on a sheet of paper to take home. Sometimes both. A common problem is that most patients are understandably itching to leave the dental office as soon as their treatment is complete. That often leads to post-op instructions being lost in translation. To that end, here are some things to expect after dental procedures are performed.
Please note that this is a very general list that may or may not apply to a given dental visit.
Soreness is totally normal. Jaw muscles can be sore from holding open during procedures. Injection sites (where the needle went in) are often sore for a day or so. The teeth and/or gums around the area treated will also be tender for a few days. Ibuprofen, a common over the counter anti-inflammatory, is great for treating post-op soreness. A good dosage is 1800 to 2400 mg per day for two to three days after treatment is received.
New dental work can often be sensitive to hot and/or cold. This is normal and should get better with time. New fillings, crowns, and even sometimes ceramic dental veneers can be temperature sensitive. Usually, a little time is all it takes for the nerves of the affected teeth to reset and start to feel normal again. Sensitivity lasting more than a few weeks should be re-evaluated by a dentist.
Whether a new crown or a few fillings, all new dental work will affect your bite in one way or another. Dentists thoroughly check and re-evaluate the bite on all work that we do. Under normal circumstances, your bite will return to feeling normal within five to seven days. If things don’t feel right after that, a short visit to balance things out is often all that is required.
After receiving dental care, there are three symptoms to look out for that are signs of a severely inflamed nerve in the tooth. These three are (1) throbbing or pulsing pain, (2) spontaneous pain, or (3) “wake you up” pain. These symptoms suggest that the treated decay or trauma caused severe damage to the nerve in the tooth. Fortunately, even these post-operative problems are repairable with a return trip to your dentist.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.