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Home Care Instructions

After undergoing a procedure here at Smile More Dentistry, we want all of our patients to enjoy a fast and easy recovery. We’ll do everything we can in the office to ensure this, but patients taking the right steps at home is essential as well. Below, you’ll find aftercare instructions for a few common treatments. If you’re about to undergo any one of them, we recommend looking over the lists so you can be completely prepared and know what to expect. Of course, if you ever have any questions or experience a problem while recovering, be sure to give us a call right away!

Home Care Instructions: Surgery and Extractions

  1. Bleeding: For an hour after surgery, you should place pressure on the gauze pad covering the extraction site. If bleeding continues, apply new gauze and pressure for an additional 45 minutes. Avoid changing more often than every 45 minutes. Avoid extraneous activities.
  2. Numbness: Avoid biting or scraping your lips, cheeks and gums. Numbness should subside within 2 hours, but until then you may accidentally damage soft tissue without realizing it.
  3. Food and Drink: Once numbness subsides you may eat food. Avoid eating hot foods or beverages. Do not eat anything crunchy or hard for the next week. Do not rinse your mouth, do not use a straw, do not spit, and do not drink carbonated beverages. Plan to eat soft foods such as soup and yogurt for the next 2-3 days.
  4. Discomfort: You can expect to have some discomfort which may be most severe on the second day but should decrease thereafter.
  5. Swelling: Swelling in the area of surgery and adjacent sites can be expected. To help minimize, wait until 24 hours after surgery then apply ice packs to treated areas of the face. Apply in 20-minute intervals: 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for 3-5 hours. If swelling is present after the first 48 hours, apply a warm compress in 20-minute intervals to the affected area. Swelling will be worst 2-3 days after surgery and will decrease after.
  6. Discoloration/Bruising: Sometimes discoloration and bruising can occur. Do not be alarmed. Bruising will disappear over the next 2-3 weeks. If antibiotics were not prescribed and bruising is occurring, please contact our office.
  7. Medication: Mild discomfort can be controlled by taking two tablets of Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or two tablets of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) every four hours as needed for pain. Avoid any drugs containing aspirin. If a pain reliever has been prescribed, take as directed only if you have discomfort. If an antibiotic has been prescribed, take as directed until completed. If discomfort persists or severity increases after 2-3 days, please contact our office.

Home Care Instructions: Fillings

  1. Numbness: For the first hour after your visit, do not chew or eat until numbness subsides. Do not bite or scrape your lips, cheeks, or gum.
  2. Eating: The filling is fully set and ready to eat on when you leave the office. Please be careful eating until the anesthetic wears off so you don’t bite your lips, cheeks, or tongue.
  3. Sensitivity: Sensitivity, especially to cold, is common for a few days following a dental filling. Usually, the deeper the cavity, the more sensitive the tooth may be. Sensitivity is usually most noticeable the first 12-24 hours after the anesthetic wears off.
  4. Children: Children should be observed until the anesthetic wears off. Due to the strange feeling of the anesthetic, many children will chew the inside of their lips, cheeks, or tongue which can cause serious damage.
  5. Adjustments: The finished restoration may be contoured slightly different and have a different texture than the original tooth. Your tongue usually magnifies this small difference, but you will become accustomed to this in a few days. If after a week your teeth feel they do not touch correctly please call the office. This problem can be solved with a quick adjustment to the filling.
  6. Maintaining your Fillings: Fillings do not last forever. With improper maintenance, fillings can wear and breakdown. Proper brushing and flossing are recommended to help you retain your fillings. Regular six-month cleanings will help prolong the life of your fillings.

Home Care Instructions: Scaling and Root Planing

Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step to a cleaner, healthier smile!!!

Scaling and Root Planing therapy involves removing bacterial plaque and tartar from the root surface below the gum line. Following therapy, you can expect less redness, less bleeding, and less swelling of your gum tissue. Your mouth will taste better and feel better. Your gum health can then be maintained with proper homecare and regular professional care


  • Do not eat or drink hot foods until the effect of anesthetic wears off.
  • No vigorous physical exercise.
  • Do not use a straw or sucking motion.
  • Do not smoke or consume alcoholic beverages for at least 48 hours.
  • Do not eat food that is extreme in temperature or spicy.


  • Discomfort: For any discomfort, you can take ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Discomfort should subside within 4-24 hours.
  • Sensitivity: Teeth may be sensitive to temperature and sweets. This will usually diminish after several days. You may receive a prescription of Prevident to decrease sensitivity.
  • Bleeding and Hygiene: Some slight bleeding may occur during the next few teeth brushings. Gently brush and floss the treated area for a few days. This may take a little more time than normal. You may resume normal brushing in a week or until the soreness is gone. Rinse with a warm salt water rinse, one teaspoon in an 8 oz. glass of water, three times a day. If prescribed, rinse with Peridex (Chlorhexidine Gluconate) for 30 seconds twice daily for 2 weeks.
  • Appearance: As the gums heal they may change their shape around the teeth. This is normal as they tighten.
  • Diet: Consume a soft diet for a day or two and chew on of opposite side of the treated area.

Home Care Instructions: Root Canal Therapy

Please observe the following instructions in order to ensure the most successful outcome.

  1. If any prescription was given for antibiotics (Zithromax, Penicillin, Amoxicillin, etc.). Please take it as directed on the bottle’s label until it is finished.
  2. A prescription for moderate to severe pain such as Tylenol #3 may also be given. You do not need to fill this, as many of our patients never need to. If Extra Strength Tylenol or Motrin are adequate to relieve any soreness after the anesthesia wears off, in about 1 - 1½ hours, you may stick with that.
  3. Please DO NOT bite or chew on any treated tooth for 1 week. Doing so will traumatize the surrounding bone of the root(s) causing a lot of pain and excessive soreness for at least a week afterwards.
  4. Some minor gum swelling or mild soreness is to be expected following treatment. Sensitivity to cold and heat, as well as any soreness, should go away in a few days. Please report any signs of excessive gum swelling or tooth sensitivity/looseness or if the prescribed pain relievers do not work as soon as possible to the office. If it is after office hours call 201-384-2425 and follow prompt for emergency calls.
  5. For long-term protection against possible tooth/root fracture and subsequent tooth loss, it is recommended that a full coverage crown be placed as possible. This should be scheduled after 2-3 weeks following completion.
  6. Brush and floss gently.

If you have any questions regarding the instructions above, please do not hesitate to call the office.

Home-Care Instructions: Invisalign

Wear your trays 24/7! The only time they should be removed is 30 minutes a day for eating and brushing your teeth. This avoids delays and incorrect movement of your teeth.

1. Initial Discomfort:

  • On the first night of each aligner, the tray may cause discomfort. If needed, you may want to take a Tylenol. Tightness should subside within 48 hours of consistent use.
  • Use Chewies and Munchies to help seat your teeth. Bite down on these each night to help get better results.

2. Salivation and Lisping:

  • You will lisp a lot. To help adjust, practice reading aloud with the trays on.
  • You will salivate a lot. A foreign object is in your mouth and your brain thinks it is food. Excess saliva production should stop within 48 hours of consistent use.

3. Eating and Drinking:

  • Remove aligners, rinse under water, and store in the case while eating. Rinsing avoids smelly aligners.
  • If you plan to drink anything other than water, utilize a straw and try to keep your trays dry to avoid trapping liquid under them.
  • DO NOT drink hot beverages with trays in. Remove if necessary.

4. Cleaning:

  • Keep the mouth clean by brushing in the morning right after breakfast and evening before going to bed. You may brush your aligner as well with tooth gel. An electric toothbrush is highly recommended.
  • You can keep the aligners clean by using 50/50 water and hydrogen peroxide. Let soak for 20-30 minutes, then rinse. Do not brush trays with toothpaste, as this abrasive paste will create micro cuts in the tray that collect dirt. Instead, use tooth gel.
  • Keep up to date with your routine dental hygiene cleanings!

5. Losing your Aligners:

  • DO NOT wrap them up in napkins-- they are guaranteed to be lost.
  • If a tray is lost, skip to the next set and notify our office immediately. Take note of the aligner number that was lost.

6. Accelerated Treatment: If you have chosen accelerated treatment, use your appliance for 20 minutes every day. You may switch aligners every 7 days.

Foods to Avoid While You Have Your Braces And Retainers On


  • Taffy
  • Tootsie rolls
  • gum


  • Steak
  • Whole Apples
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Hard bagels or bread
  • Nuts
  • Crab with Shells


  • Brush your teeth after every meal
  • Brush and rinse with “Prevident” or “ACT” before going to bed
  • Come in for a check-up for cavities and cleaning every 6 months
  • Don’t miss any of your appointments

Home Care Instructions: Whitening

We recommend that you AVOID the following for the next 24 hours:

  • Red wine
  • Dark sodas
  • Coffee or tea
  • Red sauces
  • Mustard or ketchup
  • Soy sauce and A-1 sauce
  • Smoking
  • Anything else that would stain a white shirt

White & Clear foods that you may consume for the next 24 hours:

  • Milk
  • Water
  • Clear soda
  • Bananas and apples (but no peels!)
  • White bread and flour tortillas
  • Oatmeal and cream of wheat
  • Plain yogurt
  • White cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese
  • White rice
  • Baked potato
  • Plain pasta and white sauce
  • Turkey, chicken breast (no skin), and white fish

You may also experience some tooth sensitivity during this period. If you do have any sensitivity symptoms, you may take whatever you would normally use for a headache.

  • Whitening works best on yellow stained teeth. Gray teeth are more difficult to whiten, or may not respond to treatment. Such cases may require porcelain veneers to achieve the desired result.
  • Long term results vary from patient to patient. This can depend on many factors including habits such as coffee, tea, wine, or cola consumption and smoking.

Home Care Instructions: Temporary/Permanent Crown

While Wearing a Temporary Crown

  1. You will wear a temporary crown(s) until your permanent crown arrives.
  2. It is normal for the gum around the tooth to be tender for a day or two. If the tenderness persists any longer than two days, please call the office immediately so we can check the temporary crown and make any needed corrections.
  3. If the temporary crown comes loose or breaks, please call us. If the temporary crown is off for even a short time, the tooth can shift position and cause the final crown to not fit well.
  4. Please avoid eating with the temporary crown as much as possible.
  5. Carefully clean around the crown with a toothbrush and floss every day. When you do floss, pull the floss carefully out the side to avoid pulling the crown off. In certain cases, we may advise you not to floss the area until your final crown is delivered.
  6. Avoid sticky foods and chewing gum on the temporary crown to avoid pulling it off.
  7. Slight discomfort, sensitivity, and tenderness are possible after a tooth has had dental treatment, but if any of these persist for more than a day or two, please call the office.


  1. Chewing: Do not chew hard foods on the restorations for 24 hours from the time they were cemented. The cement must mature for about 24 hours to have optimum strength.
  2. Sensitivity: Mild sensitivity to hot or cold foods is common. It should disappear gradually over a few weeks. Infrequently, sensitivity lasts longer than six weeks. Please tell us if this occurs.
  3. Aggressive chewing: Do not chew ice or other hard objects. Avoid chewing very sticky foods such as “hard tack” candies because they can damage or loosen the restoration.
  4. Apply fluoride to the surrounding area. The tooth will weaken after applying a crown, so fluoride is applied to strengthen it.