Dentist - Chicago
220-222 W. Huron, Suite 4002
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 548-7579 (Office)
(312) 573-2032 (Fax)

Online Dental Education Library

Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.

 

POST OP ORAL SURGERY INSTRUCTIONS

Things not to do:

1. Do not apply heat to the face at any time. This will increase swelling.

2. Avoid spitting, sucking (straws), and smoking for 48 hours. This creates a negative pressure in your mouth and tends to dislodge the blood clot. This leads to additional bleeding.

3. Avoid any sports or strenuous exercise for 24 hours. Physical activity causes the blood pressure to rise and may cause renewal of bleeding.

BLEEDING: It is normal for minor bleeding to occur for the first 24 hours following surgery. Place a piece of gauze over the surgery site and bite firmly on the gauze for at least 30 minutes. DO NOT chew on it. If the bleeding continues, call our office.

MOUTH RINSE: Do not rinse for 24 hours after surgery. Then, after meals, gently rinse with warm salt water - 1 tsp salt to 8 ounces water. This will speed healing by maintaining a clean wound. Tooth brushing is also recommended if you are careful to avoid the wound.

EATING: You should have liquids and very soft foods for the first 24-48 hours following the surgery. Be careful not to chew hard foods near the surgical area.

SWELLING: It is normal to experience some degree of swelling. You can place ice over your face for 20-30 minutes at a time during the first 24 hours to reduce pain and swelling.

MEDICATIONS: Take all medications as directed. This is essential. The medications are prescribed specifically to control pain and infection. You may switch to Advil or Tylenol for discomfort when you no longer need prescription strength medications. If pain persists, please contact our office.

 

FILLINGS:

1. Do not eat on your new filling for one hour and until your numbness is gone.

2. If you are supervising children who had fillings done, make sure they do not bite on their numb lips or tongue (it can cause serious injury to their soft tissue).

3. Do not bite hard or chew on silver amalgam fillings for 24 hours.

4. You may experience cold and heat sensitivity and some gum soreness; this usually subsides within a few days.

5. Call our office if you experience pain or discomfort for more than a few days after the fillings, or if you have any questions.

 

CROWNS AND BRIDGES (also INLAYS and ONLAY):

1. Crowns and bridges usually take 2 or 3 appointments to complete. On the first appointment, the tooth/teeth are prepared, impressions are taken, and a temporary crown is placed on your tooth/teeth.

2. You may experience sensitivity, gum soreness, and slight discomfort on the tooth/teeth; it should subside after the placement of the permanent crown(s).

3. Whenever anesthesia is used, avoid chewing on your teeth until the numbness has worn off.

4. A temporary crown is usually made of plastic-based material or soft metal. It can break if too much pressure is placed on it. The crown may also come off; if it does, save the crown and call our office. The temporary crown is placed to protect the tooth and prevent other teeth from moving. If it comes off it should be replaced as soon as possible. To avoid losing your temporary, do not chew on sticky or hard food (chewing gum, ice). Try to chew on the opposite side of the temporary as much as possible.

5. Continue your normal brushing but be careful while flossing around the temporaries (remove the floss gently from the side). If it is difficult to get the floss between the temporary and surrounding teeth, refrain from flossing until you receive your permanent crown.

6. After the permanent restoration is placed you may feel slight pressure for a few days. Also, the bite may feel different for a day or two. But if after 2-3 days the bite still feels uneven or if you feel discomfort when chewing on the tooth, call our office. Delaying the necessary adjustments may damage the tooth permanently.

7. Call our office if you are in pain or if you have any questions.

 

ROOT CANAL TREATMENT:

1. You may experience moderate pain and sensitivity to pressure on your tooth. Also, you may feel gum soreness for few days after your treatment. The healing process may take several days but the pain and discomfort should subside gradually.

2. Take any medication that was prescribed for you according to instructions.

3. Usually a temporary filling has been placed on your tooth; do not bite on the tooth for one hour and while you are numb. Also, until the permanent restoration is placed, be very gentle with the tooth. Try to chew with the opposite side.

4. Continue your brushing and flossing.

5. Follow up with the placement of your permanent restoration as you have been advised. Any unnecessary delay in placement of final restoration may damage the tooth permanently.

6. Call our office if you are in severe pain or experience swelling, or if you have any questions.

 

TEETH CLEANING (DEEP CLEANING/SCALING AND ROOT PLANING):

1. You may experience some cold and heat sensitivity (especially after deep cleaning).

2. If you have received anesthesia do not eat anything until the numbness has worn off.

3. Continue your regular brushing and flossing.

4. Some bleeding for a day or two after cleaning is normal, but if you experience any excessive bleeding call our office.

5. Call our office if you are in pain or if you have any questions

 

DENTURE DELIVERY:

1. You will experience some discomfort with any new denture for a few days. All new dentures need several adjustments to completely and comfortably fit your mouth.

2. You should take the dentures out every night and keep them in a clean container filled with water or denture cleaning solution. Your gums need to rest and be without the dentures every day for a period of time.

3. Clean dentures thoroughly with a brush and water before putting them back in your mouth.

4. It may be difficult to talk normally with the new dentures for a few days. One way to practice is to read a book or newspaper out loud for a period of time everyday. Your tongue and muscles will get used to the new dentures and you will talk normally very soon.

5. Call our office if you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or if you have any questions.

Thank you.

 

Frequently asked questions: dental fillings

Are dental amalgams safe? Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to amalgam? Is it true that dental amalgams have been banned in other countries? Is there a filling material that matches tooth color? If my tooth doesn't hurt and my filling is still in place, why would the filling need to be replaced? Read this interesting and informative discussion from the American Dental Association.

FDA consumer update: dental amalgams

The Food and Drug Administration and other organizations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) continue to investigate the safety of amalgams used in dental restorations (fillings). However, no valid scientific evidence has shown that amalgams cause harm to patients with dental restorations, except in rare cases of allergic reactions.

ATSDR - public health statements: mercury

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some scientific background on mercury (contained within silver-colored fillings), and whether it believes the substance presents any health hazards.

Analysis reveals significant drop in children's tooth decay

Children have significantly less tooth decay in their primary (baby) and permanent teeth today than they did in the early 1970s, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA). The analysis reveals that among children between the ages of six and 18 years, the percentage of decayed permanent teeth decreased by 57.2 percent over a 20-year period. In addition, children between the ages of two and 10 years experienced a drop of nearly 40 percent in diseased or decayed primary teeth.

Alternative Materials

Advances in modern dental materials and techniques increasingly offer new ways to create more pleasing, natural-looking smiles. Researchers are continuing their often decades-long work developing esthetic materials, such as ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. As a result, dentists and patients today have several choices when it comes to selecting materials used to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth.

The advent of these new materials has not eliminated the usefulness of more traditional dental restoratives, which include gold, base metal alloys and dental amalgam. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.

Alternatives to amalgam, such as cast gold restorations, porcelain, and composite resins are more expensive. Gold and porcelain restorations take longer to make and can require two appointments. Composite resins, or white fillings, are esthetically appealing, but require a longer time to place.

Here's a look at some of the more common kinds of alternatives to silver amalgam:

  • Composite fillings - Composite fillings are a mixture of acrylic resin and finely ground glasslike particles that produce a tooth-colored restoration. Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth, and this may result in a smaller filling than that of an amalgam. Composites can also be "bonded" or adhesively held in a cavity, often allowing the dentist to make a more conservative repair to the tooth. In teeth where chewing loads are high, composite fillings are less resistant to wear than silver amalgams. It also takes longer to place a composite filling.
  • Ionomers - Glass ionomers are tooth-colored materials made of a mixture of acrylic acids and fine glass powders that are used to fill cavities, particularly those on the root surfaces of teeth. Glass ionomers can release a small amount of fluoride that help patients who are at high risk for decay. Glass ionomers are primarily used as small fillings in areas that need not withstand heavy chewing pressure. Because they have a low resistance to fracture, glass ionomers are mostly used in small non-load bearing fillings (those between the teeth) or on the roots of teeth. Resin ionomers also are made from glass filler with acrylic acids and acrylic resin. They also are used for non-load bearing fillings (between the teeth) and they have low to moderate resistance to fracture. Ionomers experience high wear when placed on chewing surfaces. Both glass and resin ionomers mimic natural tooth color but lack the natural translucency of enamel. Both types are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.
  • Porcelain (ceramic) dental materials - All-porcelain (ceramic) dental materials include porcelain, ceramic or glasslike fillings and crowns. They are used as inlays, onlays, crowns and aesthetic veneers. A veneer is a very thin shell of porcelain that can replace or cover part of the enamel of the tooth. All-porcelain (ceramic) restorations are particularly desirable because their color and translucency mimic natural tooth enamel. All-porcelain restorations require a minimum of two visits and possibly more. The restorations are prone to fracture when placed under tension or on impact. Their strength depends on an adequate thickness of porcelain and the ability to be bonded to the underlying tooth. They are highly resistant to wear but the porcelain can quickly wear opposing teeth if the porcelain surface becomes rough.

Sealants

Research has shown that almost everybody has a 95 percent chance of eventually experiencing cavities in the pits and grooves of their teeth.

Sealants were developed in the 1950s and first became available commercially in the early 1970s. The first sealant was accepted by the American Dental Association Council on Dental Therapeutics in 1972. Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years. In fact, research has shown that sealants actually stop cavities when placed on top of a slightly decayed tooth by sealing off the supply of nutrients to the bacteria that causes a cavity.

Sealants act as a barrier to prevent bacteria and food from collecting and sitting on the grooves and pits of teeth. Sealants are best suited for permanent first molars, which erupt around the age of 6, and second molars, which erupt around the age of 12.

Sealants are most effective when applied as soon as the tooth has fully come in. Because of this, children derive the greatest benefit from sealants because of the newness of their teeth. Research has shown that more than 65% of all cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of a child`s newly erupted teeth because of trapped food particles and bacteria.

Application

Sealant application involves cleaning the surface of the tooth and rinsing the surface to remove all traces of the cleaning agent. An etching solution or gel is applied to the enamel surface of the tooth, including the pits and grooves. After 15 seconds, the solution is thoroughly rinsed away with water. After the site is dried, the sealant material is applied and allowed to harden by using a special curing light.

Sealants normally last about five years. Sealants should always be examined at the child`s regular checkup. Sealants are extremely effective in preventing decay in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.

Insurance coverage for sealant procedures is increasing, but still minimal. Many dentists expect this trend to change as insurers become more convinced that sealants can help reduce future dental expenses and protect the teeth from more aggressive forms of treatment.