Any kind of dental treatment can carry with it some after-effects that every patient should be aware of. After your procedure, your dentist should tell you about what to expect at home, or even provide you with some paperwork, depending on the extent of the treatment. Sometimes you will be asked to come back for a follow-up appointment just to make sure everything is healing OK, especially when it comes to more involved procedures like root canals.
It’s important to follow guidelines for care to ensure you have the best recovery possible. Here’s what you can expect in terms of post-treatment care.
- Novocaine: Many times, Novocaine is administered to numb the area of your mouth where the dentist will be working. From root canals to fillings, this medication prevents you from feeling pain. It can last for several hours afterwards, so eating and drinking may be a challenge. You can usually resume normal eating activity right away as you feel comfortable, but just be aware the numbness can dull your reaction to heat and cold. So be careful when sipping a hot coffee!
- Swelling/discomfort: After treatment, sometimes patients can feel discomfort or swelling. This is completely normal and should go away within a day or two. Your dentist may tell you to take some over the counter pain reliever for the pain or she may prescribe narcotic medication that’s a bit stronger. In the latter case, be careful driving a car or operating machinery. Use a cold compress on the area to reduce swelling.
- Uneven bite: In the case of a new filling, your dentist will do everything he can to ensure the bite is even. But sometimes you don’t realize till you get home that biting down just feels weird and uneven. Make an appointment to go back and have him shave it down until it feels right.
- Severe pain/pressure: If these symptoms last more than a couple of days, call your dentist. Pain should not linger more than three days or so.
- Allergic reactions: If you get home and notice hives, swelling, itching or rash, get to the doctor right away. This could indicate an allergy to the medication (lidocaine or Novocaine), the filling material used by the dentist, or even the latex gloves used by the hygienist. Usually, allergic reactions will manifest themselves fairly quickly after exposure, but in some cases the reaction may be delayed.
- Loss of temporary crown or filling: Sometimes fillings and crowns can dislodge or fall out entirely. Call your dentist for the next course of action.
- Previous symptoms return: If you were treated for decay due to toothache, for example, but the initial pain you felt from the toothache returns within days or weeks, call the dentist.
Being aware of how your body reacts to dental treatment is key. It doesn’t hurt to call the dentist if something just doesn’t feel right. Redwood Dental will always let you know post-care instructions. Feel free to call us at 800-462-2222!