Recovery from a Dental Procedure

What to expect after dental work.

Recovery from a dental procedure may be something you don’t think about. Do you have an upcoming dental procedure? Maybe it’s time for a much-needed tooth extraction? Have you been putting off a dreaded dental implant? Or feeling very reluctant about a root canal? Quite often, patients worry about the dental procedure itself without giving much advance thought about what the recovery process will be like. Dr. E wants to ease patients’ fears about recovering from common dental procedures by arming them with the following knowledge and tips!

Recovering from a Tooth Extraction

So, the tooth is out and the worst is over, right? That is typically true. However, depending on the type of extraction, complete healing may take place gradually over a week to 10-day period. The following tips can help ensure a smooth recovery process:

  • Don’t wait for the onset of pain. Take pain medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Apply ice to the extraction site for roughly 10 minutes at a time to help minimize swelling
  • Protect the blood clot within the tooth socket. This is especially critical in the 24 hours following the extraction. Do NOT disturb it by spitting or using a straw
  • Rinse your mouth around the extraction site 24 hours after the tooth extraction and then brush and floss regularly as you recover
  • Eat soft foods such as soup, yogurt, pudding and smoothies (with a spoon of course. Remember, no straws immediately after surgery!)
  • Rest up for at least 24 hours following the tooth extraction and avoid strenuous activity for the next few days

Recovering from a Root Canal

While patients never actually look forward to a root canal, they also do not need to dread this procedure. While it’s perfectly normal to expect some mild or moderate pain for 2-3 days after a root canal, the following tips can help patients reduce their pain and improve the root canal recovery process:

  • Take over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Motrin as directed by your dentist. This should effectively keep any pain at bay!
  • Avoid hard, crunchy foods which can disturb the sensitive root canal site
  • Engage in stress-relieving activities – like yoga or meditation – to take the focus off of your pain
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth regularly
  • Remember that any pain you experience after your root canal is short-term; you will have less pain and more comfort in the long-term as a result of having this procedure!

Recovering from a Dental Implant

Minimal swelling and discomfort is normal following a major procedure like a dental implant but recovery time typically varies depending on factors such as overall oral health, how many teeth are being implanted, and whether bone grafting is involved. That’s why dental implant patients should keep the following in mind during their recovery:

  • For a single dental implant that doesn’t require grafting, recovery should be smooth sailing! Pain should be minor with perhaps some very minor swelling or bruising.
  • For more complex procedures, the healing process may take approximately one week. Pain is relieved through medication as provided by your dentist, and patients are advised to eat a diet of soft foods for roughly one week during their recovery.
  • In very complex dental implant procedures, your dentist will most likely have very specific instructions for you to follow carefully post-surgery. Full recovery may take up to six weeks and, during that time, patients’ symptoms will gradually subside and they can begin to return to their normal diet and habits.

As with any type of surgery or procedure, it is always best to prepare yourself mentally and physically for what is to come. Hopefully, the above tips will help patients view their next dental procedure as less of a pain! Instead, Dr. E encourages patients to recognize that, following recovery from their procedure, they can look forward to the long-term benefits of improved function, appearance and oral health!

Are you due for a dental appointment or procedure?

Schedule with Dr. E Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today!


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