Home Care Instructions

After Cosmetic Reconstruction

Remember that it will take time to adjust to the feel of your new bite. When the bite is altered or the position of the teeth is changed it takes several days for the brain to recognize the new position of your teeth or their thickness as normal. If you continue to detect any high spots or problems with your bite, call our office at Ridgeley, WV Office Phone Number 304-726-4562 so we can schedule an adjustment appointment. It is normal to experience some hot and cold sensitivity. The teeth require some time to heal after removal of tooth structure and will be sensitive in the interim. Your gums may also be sore for a few days. Warm salt water rinses (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) three times a day will reduce pain and swelling. A mild pain medication (one tablet of Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin) every 3-4 hours) should ease any residual discomfort. Don’t be concerned if your speech is affected for the first few days. You’ll quickly adapt and be speaking normally. You may notice increased salivation. This is because your brain is responding to the new size and shape of your teeth. This should subside to normal in about a week. Daily brushing and flossingare a must for your new dental work. Daily plaque removal is critical for the long-term success of your new teeth, as are regular cleaning appointments. Any food that can crack, chip or damage a natural tooth can do the same to your new teeth. Avoid hard foods and substances (such as beer nuts, peanut brittle, ice, fingernails, or pencils) and sticky candies. Smoking will stain your new teeth. Minimize or avoid foods that stain such as coffee, red wine, tea and berries. If you engage in sports let us know so we can make a custom mouthguard. If you grind your teeth at night, wear the night guard we have provided for you. Adjusting to the look and feel of your new smile will take time. If you have any problems or concerns, please let us know. We always welcome your questions.

After Crown and Bridge Appointments

Crowns and bridges usually take two or three appointments to complete. In the first visit, the teeth are prepared and molds of the mouth are taken. Temporary crowns or bridgesare placed to protect the teeth while the custom restoration is being made. Since the teeth will be anesthetized, the tongue, lips and roof of the mouth may be numb. Please refrain from eating and drinking hot beverages until the numbness is completely worn off. Occasionally a temporary crown may come off. Call us at Ridgeley, WV Office Phone Number 304-726-4562 if this happens and bring the temporary crown with you so we can re-cement it. It is very important for the temporary to stay in place, as it will prevent other teeth from moving and compromising the fit of your final restoration. To keep your temporaries in place, avoid eating sticky foods (gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew on the opposite side of your mouth. It is important to brush normally, but floss carefully and don’t pull up on the floss which may dislodge the temporary but pull the floss out from the side of the temporary crown. It is normal to experience some temperature and pressure sensitivity after each appointment. The sensitivity should subside a few weeks after the placement of the final restoration. Mild pain medications may also be used as directed by our office. If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office at Ridgeley, WV Office Phone Number 304-726-4562.

After Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction(s) are similar to any other surgery.  Good home care and following the doctor’s instructions help alleviate discomfort and aid in your speedy recovery.  Therefore, please READ AND FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.  Call our office if you have any questions or problems.

Healing: After a tooth has been extracted there will be a resulting hole in your jawbone where the tooth was. In time, this will smooth and fill in with bone. This process can take many weeks or months. However, after 1-2 weeks you should no longer notice any inconvenience.

Loss of the blood clot can cause a “dry socket”, a condition, which leads to severe throbbing pain. Dry socket occurs when a blood clot fails to form in the socket where the tooth has been extracted or the clot has been dislodged, and the healing is significantly delayed.  DO NOT disturb the wound by touching it with your finger or tongue because irritation, bleeding, and infection could result.  The blood clot, which forms over the area, is nature’s method of healing and SHOULD NOT be disturbed. 

Should you experience a dry socket,  Dr. McElfish will apply a medicated dressing to the dry socket to soothe the pain.

  • Avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after the extraction.
  • DO NOT SMOKE OR DRINK WITH A STRAW FOR 24 HOURS.  Smoking will slow the healing process and contribute to a dry socket.

Bleeding: Some bleeding should be expected. To minimize bleeding, bite on gauze for 1 hour.  NO CHEWING.  The gauze should be folded in a tight ball and firm pressure should be applied.  This should be repeated on an as needed basis.  Some bleeding can occur several hours after the procedure and this should not be a concern.  If bleeding continues, apply a Wet Tea Bag to the area and bite for 20 minutes.  Repeat if necessary.  If bleeding persists longer than this, please call our office.

Rinsing of the Mouth: Avoid ALL RINSING FOR 24 HOURS after leaving the office. After 24 hours, you should use warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon per 8 ounces) 4-6 times per day, usually after meals and before bedtime.  This will be helpful in destroying objectionable odors and tastes.    Avoid commercial mouth rinses, as they tend to irritate the site.  Brush the remaining teeth, but be careful to avoid the area of surgery.

Pain and Medications: Discomfort following tooth extraction is not uncommon.  Using the prescribed medication (if any) according to directions can alleviate this discomfort.  If the pain remains constant or worsens in 2-3 days, this could be a dry socket, therefore, please call our office.  If you experience pain you may use non-prescription pain relief medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil).

  • AVOID USING ASPIRIN AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES.  THEY WILL INCREASE BLEEDING.

Swelling: To reduce ordinary swelling following tooth extractions, apply an ice pack to the face over the operated area.  The ice pack should be applied for 10 minutes and off for 20 minutes. Repeat this cycle as you feel necessary for up to 24 hours.  The more compliant you are with this, the better your recovery.

Diet: Eat a soft diet and stay away from hot liquids and alcoholic beverages for 24 hours. Avoid chewing on the extraction site for 3 days. 

Activity: Plan your schedule to get plenty of rest following surgery.  It is important to limit your activity level for the first day or two.  This is particularly important if your surgery has been extensive.  The more rest you get the first few days, the less swelling, and discomfort.

Discoloration: Discoloration of the skin near the area of the surgery is many times a normal event following tooth extraction.  The purplish black discoloration, which looks like a bruise, will gradually fade.  The skin will then return to its normal color.

Sharp Bony Projections: During the healing process, small fragments of bone may become loosened and work up through the gums.  THESE ARE NOT ROOTS.  If they do not work themselves out, please call our office to set up an appointment for their removal.

Sutures: If placed are to be removed in one week. 

After Composite Fillings (white fillings)

When an anesthetic has been used, your lips and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. It is very easy to bite or burn your tongue or lip while you are numb. It is normal to experience some hot, cold & pressure sensitivity after your appointment. Injection sites may also be sore. Ibuprofen (Motrin), Tylenol or aspirin (one tablet every 3-4 hours as needed for pain) work well to alleviate the tenderness. If pressure sensitivity persists beyond a few days or if the sensitivity to hot or cold increases, contact our office at Ridgeley, WV Office Phone Number 304-726-4562. You may chew with your composite fillings as soon as the anesthetic completely wears off, since they are fully set when you leave the office. If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office at Ridgeley, WV Office Phone Number 304-726-4562.