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Post Operative Instructions


Please don't hesitate to call our office if you have any further questions.  Thank you for visiting us and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Bite Balancing

Congratulations on getting your teeth balanced, which is also called an occlusal adjustment. This is the very best way to extend the life of your natural teeth and dental restorations. Now that your initial appointment is completed, here are a few things to remember:

  • Your teeth are in contact in the best, most anatomically accurate position. Up to this point, though, you have not been. You will notice a difference.

  • Your bite may feel different. Not necessarily better and not worse, but different. This is something that you will grow accustomed to.

  • Bite balancing is a very precise procedure and it will take several appointments. Once completed, you may need adjustments in years to come as your teeth naturally shift. The initial adjustments are part of your overall fee.

  • After the first appointment, you may feel your teeth hitting more evenly, but you may also begin to notice that you are hitting a little too much on one side or one tooth. Bring this to Dr. Caven's attention at your next adjustment.

  • Some teeth may feel slightly rough. Bring this to Dr. Caven's attention at your next adjustment.

  • Some people feel they are biting hard on the front teeth. This is usually a passing sensation, but bring it to Dr. Caven's attention at the next adjustment.

  • We want you to be aware of your bite, but not to concentrate on it. Just chew normally and make little mental notes if something feels uneven.


Tooth-Colored Fillings

Congratulations on receiving the most state of the art filling material available. Here are a few points you should know…

  • After the numbness wears off following today's visit, you may experience mild sensitivity to cold foods and beverages. This is completely normal, and will usually diminish in 1-3 weeks. 600 mg of Advil is useful to alleviate this sensation. However, if you experience spontaneous discomfort that is prolonged (lasting about 30 seconds or more), or if the tooth becomes extremely sensitive to both hot and cold, please contact our office immediately. Dr. Caven may need to evaluate your tooth for possible further treatment.

  • You may also have sensitivity to pressure during eating or when you are just biting your teeth together. If you experience this symptom, please call our office. Dr. Caven may need to do a simple adjustment to the filling and this should eliminate the sensation.

  • Continue to floss and brush your teeth as instructed by Dr. Caven. Keep in mind that practicing good home care on a daily basis is needed to achieve strong, healthy teeth and gums as well as to preserve any dental work.


Final Crown

Congratulations on your new crown. Like a new piece of jewelry, certain precautions should be taken to prolong the functionality and appearance of your crown.

  • It is normal to have some sensitivity for a couple days after getting your new crown.

  • Brushing and flossing on a daily basis is very important to prevent decay from forming around your new crown.

  • Drinking sugary beverages throughout the day, such as coffee with sugar, sodas, and sweet tea is not recommended. This can lead to decay around the crown and other teeth.

  • A night guard is a great way to protect your investment from harmful teeth grinding and clenching. If you have one, please continue to wear it.

  • If you experience any sensitivity when biting your teeth together, please call us to make a short appointment to have your crown adjusted.

  • Crowns are usually placed on teeth with large fillings, decay or cracks and are therefore in a weakened condition. In about 5-8% of the cases though, the nerve in the tooth is damaged beyond repair. These teeth may become sensitive after the tooth has been worked on. If your tooth is bothering you, please contact Dr. Caven's office.


Tooth Extraction

Following these proper care instructions will help hasten recovery and prevent complications.

  • Keep a firm steady pressure on the gauze given to you. Replace as needed by rolling a couple squares together, dampen lightly and place directly on the extraction site. Bite down firmly.

  • We suggest you return home and relax. You may want to return to work tomorrow, but do not undertake any strenuous exercise for several days following your appointment. Do not smoke or use a straw for 2 days.

  • Do not rinse your mouth today. Tomorrow, you may rinse your mouth gently every three to four hours (especially after meals). Use approximately ¼ teaspoon salt to a cup of warm water. Continue to rinse for several days, making sure to be gentle in the surgery area.

  • Following any normal extraction, you can expect to feel sore and even a little swollen. This is normal. Typically, over the counter pain medication can be used, unless stated otherwise. It is recommended to take the pain medication before the effects of the anesthetic go away and to stay ahead of any discomfort.

  • A light diet is advisable for the first 24 hours after an extraction. Make sure to eat soft foods and chew on the opposite side of your mouth.

  • Bleeding is a normal and necessary part of the healing process and there may be some even into the following day. When a small amount of blood mixes with saliva, it looks like a lot of blood. Do not let this alarm you. It is not uncommon for the bleeding to end, then begin lightly again at night as your head becomes level with your heart. You may want to use an additional pillow at night. If heavy bleeding persists, bite down on a wet tea bag. If bleeding does not stop, please call our office at 645-3366.

  • Replacing a missing tooth is usually important to maintain normal, healthy function and to prevent tilting of neighboring teeth.


Root Canal

Root canals are commonly associated with an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, root canal treatment has come a long way, but there are still a few simple precautions you need to be aware of.

  • Today, the blood supply was removed from your tooth, making it non-vital. Over a period of time, your tooth will become more dry and brittle and could possibly fracture if it remains unprotected. If for any reason you do not have an appointment scheduled for your final crown, please schedule as soon as possible. Waiting longer than a couple months to have the final crown put on your tooth may cause irreversible damage to your tooth. Until the final crown is placed, please avoid chewing on that tooth as much as possible.

  • It is normal to be sensitive on your tooth for a few days after treatment, especially when chewing food. Remember, that tooth was very compromised before treatment and will need time to heal.

  • It is possible for the gum tissue in the general area that was worked on, to be sore. This is completely normal, and usually will subside within 1-2 days. However, if the tooth that was worked on becomes sensitive to hot or cold, please call our office immediately. Dr. Caven may need to evaluate the tooth for further treatment.

  • Usually an over the counter pain medication such as Tylenol or Advil will eliminate any discomfort you may have following today's appointment. If you experience any swelling or extreme discomfort in that area, please call our office immediately. Dr. Caven may need to evaluate your tooth for further treatment.


Scale and Root Plane (Deep Cleaning)

Following these procedures will help your teeth and gums feel more comfortable, and help to prevent any complications following today's procedure.

  • The care of your mouth must be handled with utmost importance to achieve proper healing. Immediately start your home care regimen as instructed by your hygienist, being less aggressive initially.

  • You may experience some mild to moderate discomfort following your treatment. Taking an over the counter pain reliever such as Advil or Tylenol will usually help eliminate any discomfort. In the unlikely situation you are experiencing extreme discomfort, please call our office. Dr. Caven may need to evaluate your mouth for further treatment.

  • Sensitivity to cold may temporarily occur. Usually this sort of sensation will disappear in a few days following your treatment. Using toothpastes such as Sensodyne and / or mouth rinses containing fluoride will help to reduce this sort of sensitivity.

  • Your next meal should be soft. Avoid any hard "chippy" foods like Fritos, potato chips, popcorn, etc. for the next 3-4 days.

  • Very seldom does swelling or jaw stiffness occur. However, if you do experience any of these symptoms, place a warm moist towel to the face in the area of the swelling or stiffness. Please call our office if swelling and stiffness does not subside in 1-3 days following your appointment.

  • Please do not smoke following today's scaling and root planning procedure. Tobacco smoke is an irritant to healing. Refrain from smoking for the next 24-48 hours.


Splint Therapy (Night Guard)

Congratulations on receiving your splint, also commonly referred to as a nightguard. Nightguards are very useful for permitting your jaw joint to move to its most anatomically correct position, thereby relaxing your jaw muscles. This helps to minimize nighttime clenching and grinding and protects your teeth from excessive wear, fractures, cracks and mobility and can significantly reduce chronic headaches. Here are a few pointers while wearing your nightguard.

  • Wear the nightguard at night and any other time you feel you grind your teeth.

  • When you remove the guard, rinse in tap water. You may use toothpaste to scrub it if you wish. Place the guard in the container we have supplied. Keep the container open to allow ventilation. Place the guard up, so the water may evaporate. Keep away from pets. They like to chew on the guards.

  • When you remove the guard in the morning, you may feel that your teeth don't match up correctly. This is normal and to be expected. Your teeth have not shifted. Your bite will return to its accustomed position in a few moments.

  • When your teeth don't feel like they fit together correctly, that is telling you that the best position of your jaw joint is not aligned with your best position of your teeth. This difference is usually the reason we clench and grind our teeth.

  • Adjustments are typical and planned on. Usually we will adjust your guard 1-2 weeks after initial delivery. Occasional adjustment may be needed throughout the life of the guard.

  • You nightguard can last for many years.

  • Patients often choose to have their bites aligned with the best position of the jaw joint. This is a straightforward and painless procedure routinely performed by Dr. Caven. Ask Dr. Caven if that is an appropriate procedure for you.


Provisional Crown

Thank you for coming in today for your crown preparation appointment. During the next 3-4 weeks it is very important to follow a few basic instructions.

  • It is important that you be careful not to eat any food or candy that is sticky, tacky, or extremely crunchy, as these kinds of foods may dislodge or fracture your provisional crown.

  • Continue to brush your teeth as instructed by Dr. Caven, but do not floss around your provisional crown. Using floss can cause the crown to loosen, and possibly come off.

  • If for any reason the provisional crown becomes loose, or does fall off, please call our office immediately. In the unlikely situation you are unable to see Dr. Caven quickly, or you are out of town, place Fixodent, Vaseline, or Poly-grip inside the crown and carefully place it back onto the area it came from until such time you are able to come to the office and have Dr. Caven re-cement your provisional crown.

  • It is normal to have some sensitivity associated with provisional crowns, especially to cold water or biting. This is not to cause alarm, unless the sensitivity is severe or prolonged (longer than 1-2 minutes). If that is the case, please call us. Dr. Caven may need to evaluate your tooth for possible further treatment.


Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common pathologies in the world. Dentist can treat it, but prevention is always easiest and least expensive for patients.

This sheet is meant to help inform you how decay starts and what you can do on a daily basis to help prevent it.

In order to have a cavity, you must have 3 things.

  1. A tooth
  2. The specific type of bacteria that causes decay
  3. Sugar that feeds the bacteria

There are over 500 different types of bacteria strands in our mouths. Only a few cause decay and if you happen to have them, your risk for decay increases.

The bacteria thrive on sugar. It uses the sugar and emits an acidic by-product that weakens the tooth's enamel. A hole in the tooth can form, which is a cavity.

The bacteria can also seep around old fillings or crowns. Once the filling or crown begins to leak, decay can form and destroy the tooth from the inside. Every crown or filling has a lifespan, so we will always want to keep a close watch on previous dental work.

What can you do?

The most effective way to limit your risks for decay is to thoroughly floss and brush your teeth. Many cavities form between the teeth where the toothbrush can't reach. That makes flossing critical.

Regular dental check ups with annual radiographs are important in controlling and monitoring your health. When you get your teeth cleaned, we always recommend professional fluoride, which is a very good way to kill bacteria.

Drink fluoridated water. City water in Jacksonville has about 7 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride. Many bottled water brands have none, while most have about 3 ppm. Filtered water from most refrigerators still has fluoride.

Watch what you eat. Controlling your sugar intake will help you tremendously. The effects of sugar are strongest for 20-30 minutes after you eat, so try to brush and floss quickly after consuming sugar. Don't eat sugar items throughout the day. Soft drinks, energy drinks and many juices are loaded with sugar.

And eventually, dentists will be able to assess your specific bacterial types and treat that with antibiotics. Individual risk assessments are the way of the future.


Whitening Instructions

Congratulations on getting a brighter smile. Here are a few tips to follow…

  • Make sure trays fit well and comfortably. Do not expose trays or solution to heat. For example-do not leave in your car, on top of the refrigerator or on the microwave. Please brush and floss before a whitening session.

  • After inserting the tray into your mouth, make sure to wipe away any excess that flows out onto your gums. Try not to disturb the trays. Leaving the solution on your gums may cause irritation to the tissue.

  • Wear trays about 1 hour once or twice a day. Use new solution each time. Make sure tray is dry before applying solution. If there is water in the tray, the solution will be diluted and will not be as effective.

  • Whitening does not damage your teeth in any way. Tooth sensitivity is common while whitening. Some but not all patients experience this. Avoid any citrus such as orange juice. Use Sensodyne toothpaste while whitening and you may wish to use a fluoride mouthwash such as ACT-if you experience sensitivity. Prescription strength desensitizers are available at our office.

  • It is also best to limit the amount of dark beverages. If you do drink tea, coke, coffee, dark wines it is recommended to use a straw, when possible, to avoid contact with the teeth.

  • After the initial treatment time of 10-14 days (or as otherwise prescribed), keep the whitening solution stored in your refrigerator. Storing the solution in a chilled environment tends to increase the shelf life of the product.


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