Instructions Following Dental Treatment

It is important to follow all the oral and written instructions you were given by Dr. Miller or one of the team members after your procedure(s) to ensure proper healing and to avoid complications. As a rule of thumb, you should always wait until the anesthesia fully wears off before chewing to avoid soft tissue damage because you are not able to feel all of your mouth. The instructions found below are basic guidelines.

Dental Cleaning, Examination, and Oral Cancer Screening Brush and floss as usual and use any mouth rinse or medication as directed. A thorough cleaning and exam can leave your gums and teeth tender or sensitive for a few days. This should quickly subside and is an indication of our commitment to your dental health and happiness.

Fluoride Treatment Varnish should remain on your teeth for approximately 4-6 hours for the maximum effect. It is recommended that you only eat soft foods and drink cold liquids after the recommended time.

Plastic Sealant This seals the grooves of the teeth to protect them from food and bacteria, which can cause decay. Sealants must be checked and repaired or replaced periodically. You may eat or drink what you like when you leave although chewing may feel “strange” for a few days.

Prescribed an Important Medication Use it as directed. Call your pharmacy or our office with any questions. Report any unusual reactions. If you suspect an allergic reaction (hives, rash, itching, swelling of the throat), seek immediate medical attention. It is your responsibility to know of any possible interactions with this and any other medications you take.

Dental Anesthetic Do not suck or bite your lip, cheek or tongue until the numbness wears off (usually 2-3 hours) as this may cause damage to the area. The area where the injection was given may be tender for a few days. PARENTS: Watch your children so that they do not injure their lip, cheek or tongue during this time. Eating should be avoided until the mouth “wakes up.”

Scaling and Root Planing Treatment (Deep Cleaning) The teeth may be sensitive for a period of time and the gums may bleed easily for the first 24 hours. Rinse with warm salt water for any discomfort. Continue to brush (soft bristle only – always) and floss but be gentle in the area that has been treated. Take all medications as
directed. Please follow-up as recommended for continued improvement and eventual maintenance of your dental

Medicated Sedative Filling This temporary filling was placed so that the tooth and nerve have time to heal and should stay in the tooth for 6-8 weeks. The rest of the cavity must be treated after the tooth has had time to heal. Schedule the follow-up appointment with this time frame in mind. Failing to do so will lead to further tooth and nerve damage. Avoid hard or sticky foods that could dislodge or break the filling. If the filling becomes loose, or comes out, or if the tooth becomes more uncomfortable, contact our office.

Restorative Filling The size and depth of the decay was will determine how much sensitivity the tooth will have. Your tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold foods and liquids, which may last a period of time. If the sensitivity increases or persists please let us know. Do not chew on that area for 24 hours. Also avoid items that stain teeth (i.e. tea, coffee, cola, blueberries, tobacco, etc.) for 24 hours. A large, deep cavity will leave the tooth weakened. It may therefore need a root canal and/or crown in the future.

Temporary Filling, Crown, or Bridge Avoid hard or sticky foods and do not floss that area. If the temporary should break or come off, contact us as soon as possible to replace it or re-cement it to insure your teeth do not shift, get contaminated, irritated, or damaged. Rinse with warm salt water for any discomfort around the gums.

Intermediate Filling or Stainless Steel Crown This restoration is designed to last for only a short time until more definitive treatment can be performed. You will need to have more treatment. Please use caution when chewing on this tooth/teeth; it is still lacking long-term durability. Follow-up as recommended.

Custom-made Crown or Bridge Avoid chewing on or flossing that area for 24 hours. During this time the cement will set and any sensitivity should decrease. Tooth colored crowns are made using very strong porcelain and should be treated carefully, as your natural teeth. Rarely, a crown may come off and need to be re-cemented.

Root Canal Therapy Avoid chewing on your tooth for a few days; it will be tender! If discomfort persists, contact our office. If any medicine has been prescribed, take it as directed. You must follow-up with a crown or filling as recommended, completing your treatment. Not doing so will significantly affect the longevity of your tooth.

Dental Implant The area will be sore for a few days. Rinsing with PerioMed will help the gums heal. If there is a metal healing cap attached to the implant, brush it like you would your natural teeth. If there is a temporary crown in place, DO NOT BITE OR CHEW with it. It is designed only for appearance. Take all medications and return to our office for follow-up care as directed.

Bone Graft You must be very protective of this area. DO NOT USE TOOTHPASTE FOR 1 WEEK. A chemical in the paste will interfere with the successful integration of the graft. There may be some stitches. Take all medications and return to our office as directed.

Dental Soft Tissue LASER Treatment The area will be tender for a few days. Avoid hot or spicy foods and beverages. Gently rinsing the area with ice cold water will help ease some discomfort. A white layer may form on the surface as part of natural healing. Brush the area carefully.

Tooth/Teeth Extracted Keep biting pressure on gauze for 15 minutes; replace it with fresh gauze if it becomes soaked until the bleeding is under control. DO NOT smoke, drink through a straw, rinse or spit vigorously, or drink hot or carbonated beverages for 48 HOURS. Starting tomorrow, rinse gently with warm salt water every time after you eat for 7 days. Streaks of blood in your saliva are to be expected for a few days.

Stitches in your Mouth Your stitches WILL NOT dissolve on their own. DO NOT pull on or pick at them. Return to our office in 7-14 days for removal of stitches. Rinse with warm salt water every time after you eat for 7 days.

New Denture or Denture Reline/Rebase All of the hard plastic areas that touch your skin are new. Although they are designed for a custom fit, adjustments are usually necessary. Prosthetic appliances are never a replacement for natural teeth. Please allow yourself adequate time to get used to chewing, speaking, and such. Start out slow. Call us for your adjustments. Scrub them twice a day with soap and a brush.

Orthodontic Treatment Follow all written and verbal instructions completely—this will help keep your treatment time as short as possible. Diligent home care and attention to an appropriate diet will preserve the health and beauty of the new smile you are working towards. If Invisalign, wear your aligners at least 22 hours per day.

Orthodontic Adjustment or your Next Aligner(s) Your teeth and gums may be sore or tender when chewing for a few days. Advil or Tylenol will help ease your discomfort. Continue brushing, flossing, and using any rinses. If you have a loose bracket, band, or wire, please contact our office. If it is causing you pain we will need to treat you as soon as possible. In the absence of pain we may elect to wait until your next scheduled appointment for treatment.

Contact this office for any restorations that feel high or different from your natural bite. Adjustments are made before your leave the office but, when the mouth is numb and has been open for a while, false readings sometimes occur. A small adjustment is then required to make the tooth comfortable and protect the restoration.

Following most procedures we recommend you take a regular dose of Advil (if you can) or Tylenol, every 4-6 hours as you feel is necessary but no longer than 3 days. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE NUMBNESS WEARS OFF TO TAKE YOUR FIRST DOSE. This will help ease some discomfort you may experience. Call us if you feel you need a stronger pain medication or if you continue to experience discomfort. Rinse with PerioMed or Peridex. Return to our office as directed.

Please know that you have received the best treatment possible. Fillings, crowns, bridges, and root canals do not last forever. Good home care and regular dental checkups and cleanings will help prolong these restorations. If you have any problems or questions concerning any of your dental work, please don’t hesitate to call. Your referral of family and friends is the highest compliment for a job well done. Thank you for your confidence in us!

(573) 446-2687

“Dental Health and Happiness since 1992”

Root Canal Therapy

You can expect soreness after a root canal procedure for several days. Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed for several days and not until your final restoration (crown) has been placed. Dr. Miller will determine if you need to take an antibiotic to treat any remaining infection around 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 our office immediately.

Crowns/Veneers and Bridges

When your crown or bridge is placed it may feel a little awkward for a few days. Your mouth needs to adjust to the new tooth, and it should feel like one of your natural tooth in a week or two. If your bite feels abnormal in any way, please call us. Caring for your bridge or crown is just like caring for your own teeth. Brush and floss normally and have your teeth professionally checked and cleaned regularly.

There may be some sensitivity and irritation after your custom crown(s) is placed. This is normal and will subside after the tooth and skin heals. A warm salt water rinse will help, and you can also take Advil or Tylenol to help manage any discomfort.

Before you receive your custom crown/bridge you may have a temporary restoration for a short time. This is not as sturdy as the final version, so you should be careful when cleaning and eating. You should brush the area gently and should not pull on the provisional when flossing because it could become dislodged. The same goes for eating; you should avoid sticky or chewy foods.

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. If not, please call us. Continue your normal hygiene plan to ensure that your fillings last for a long time.

Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing)

After this procedure your gums will probably be 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 minimize the pain, cleanse the area and promote healing. 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 you can place a cold compress on the area and take some over-the-counter 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 our office.


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 please call our office. 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. You can use an ice pack to minimize swelling.

You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ice Cream
  • Thin Soups
  • ...and other food you can eat without chewing.

When drinking, make sure you DO NOT use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your blood clot in the socket and slow the healing process or contribute to a very painful dry socket. THE SAME GOES FOR SMOKING! If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don't feel that the extraction site is healing properly call our office.

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