Post-Op Instructions

Post-Op Instructions

It is important to follow instructions after you have oral surgery to ensure proper healing and to avoid complications. As a rule of thumb, you should always wait two hours after surgery before eating to let the anesthesia wear off. Trying to eat before this could result in soft tissue damage because you are not able to feel all of your mouth. The instructions found below are guidelines. After your surgery the doctor or dental assistant will give you full instructions on how to properly recover from surgery.

Root Canal Therapy

You can expect soreness after a root canal procedure for a few days. You should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed so you do not irritate the area and also to ensure 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.

Stainless Steal and Zirconia Crown

Restrict diet to liquids such as a smoothie, soup, yogurt, or Jello for the first 3 hours. Your child should chew on the opposite side of the crown for the first 24 hours. The gum tissue surrounding your child’s crown may be red, inflamed, bleed easily, and will be sore immediately after placement of the crown. This is normal at this time and may persist for 7- 10 days after crown placement.

For the next few days the gums will be sore but please lightly brush the area and the rest of the teeth twice daily.

DO NOT let your child chew or eat sticky foods and candy such as gum, Now & Laters, Jolly Ranchers, Laffy-Taffy, Starburst, Skittles, gummies, fruit roll-ups, or any other sticky candy. These can pull the crown off the tooth.

In the event that your child’s crown does come off, save the crown, and call us for an appointment to have the crown re-cemented. Come in as soon as possible, because the longer you wait to put the cap back on, the more expensive and time consuming the procedure will be.

Your child’s lip, cheek and/or tongue will be numb or “asleep” for about 2-3 hours. During that time, do not let your child bite, scratch, or pick at these areas.

Follow these instructions if your child bites his or her cheek, lip or tongue: After local anesthesia is used, your child may accidentally chew on his or her lip, cheek or tongue to the point of injury. Once the initial bleeding stops, the area will likely turn whitish in color. Do not be alarmed – this is normal and not a sign of infection. Luckily, these areas of the mouth heal very quickly.

Apply an ice pack over the area during the first 3 days if there is swelling. Place the ice pack on the area for 15 minutes and remove it for 15 minutes. Repeat this process for 1 hour, 3 times a day.

Give your child Tylenol or Motrin over the counter as directed per the manufacturer’s label for pain.

Call us if the wound is not healing in 5-7 days or if it seems infected. Signs of infection include continued swelling, drainage, and/or redness. If the area won’t stop bleeding and/or if the injury is significant, call the office (909) 795-2507 so that we can further assist you.

White Fillings (Bonding)

After the anesthesia wears off your teeth will likely be sensitive. You should avoid hot and cold food or drink 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 in the area you can place a cold compress on the area 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.


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 for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call your dentist. 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 become sore take 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:

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, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly call your dentist for a follow up.

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Emergencies 24/7/365

Emergency care is always a priority.  We hope that your child will never experience a dental emergency, but if it happens, we want you to know what to do.  We have an on-call doctor 24 hours/seven days/week for emergency situations for patients of record.

Call Loma Linda Children’s Dental Group office immediately for any trauma to your child’s teeth or jaw.  If your child’s teeth are broken or knocked out, put them in milk or your child’s own saliva. Avoid rinsing the teeth with water or wiping/scrubbing the teeth.

In the rare event in which you do not hear from us, please call Loma Linda University School of Dentistry Pediatric Clinic at (909) 558-4689 and you will be connected to the Emergency Room where a pediatric dental resident can help.

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