What do I do after cosmetic reconstruction?

Remember that it will take time to adjust to the feel of your new bite. It is also normal to experience some hot and cold sensitivity at first.

Your gums may 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 (acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin)) should ease any residual discomfort.

Daily brushing and flossing are a must for your new dental work. Daily plaque removal is critical for the long-term success of your restorations, 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 nuts, peanut brittle, ice, fingernails or pencils) and sticky candies.

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.


What do I do after crown or bridge appointments?

Crowns and bridges usually take two or three appointments to complete. During the first visit, the teeth will be anesthetized, and afterward the tongue, lips and roof of the mouth still may be numb. Please refrain from drinking hot beverages and eating until the numbness is completely worn off.

Occasionally a temporary crown may come off. Call us if this happens and bring the temporary crown with you so we can re-cement it.

To keep your temporary crowns in place, avoid eating sticky foods (gum or candy), 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 because it may dislodge the temporary crown. Instead, pull the floss out from the side of the temporary crown.

If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office.


What do I do after a tooth extraction?

After a tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times.

Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 24 hours.

You may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.

It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.

After a few days, you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for two to three days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately at 308-236-9694.


What do I do after a composite filling is placed?

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 when they are numb.

It is normal to experience some hot, cold and pressure sensitivity after your appointment. Injection sites may also be sore. Ibuprofen (Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin (dosage recommended on packaging) work well to alleviate the tenderness.

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 308-236-9694.


What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by a clear, sticky substance on your teeth called plaque and its reaction with the sugars and starches in food. This reaction produces an acid that damages the enamel over time and weakens the tooth. Eventually, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. The weakened area becomes soft and a hole or cavity forms.


How often should I see my dentist?

You should visit your dentist at least every six months to get your teeth cleaned. People at a greater risk for oral diseases, especially periodontal (gum) disease, should have dental checkups more than twice a year. Going to your regular checkups will help to keep your gums and teeth healthy as well as detect any problems such as gum disease, oral cancer and cavities. Your dentist can help you prevent early problems before they become uncomfortable or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment. He/she may suggest more frequent visits, depending on your specific dental health needs.


What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure done to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed, fractured, or that has become infected. The treatment involves cleaning out the decayed tissue inside of the tooth and then sealing it. The canal is filled with gutta percha, a rubber-like material, to prevent recontamination of the tooth. The tooth is then permanently protected with a gold or porcelain crown. This enables patients to save their tooth, instead of having it removed.


When will my child lose his/her baby teeth?

Children will begin losing their teeth at approximately age 5. Timing can vary, though, and girls generally lose baby teeth earlier than boys do. Baby teeth usually fall out in the order they erupted, usually starting at the front. Children will continue to lose baby teeth until the age of 12 or 13 when all of the permanent teeth finally erupt.


What should I do if my child gets a tooth knocked out?

If the tooth is a permanent tooth, it is an emergency. There’s a good chance it can be successfully reattached if you get it taken care of immediately. Rinse the tooth gently with water. Do not scrub root surface. Then immediately stick the tooth back in the socket. If your child is uncomfortable placing the tooth in the socket, put it in a glass of milk and get your child and the tooth to our office as quickly as possible.

If the tooth is a baby tooth, do not put it in the socket because damage to the permanent tooth can occur. When in doubt, transport the tooth and your child to our office as soon as possible.