6837 Falls of Neuse Road, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27615

Dental Care Instructions

Composite Fillings

Tooth decay can erode the surface of your teeth. It most commonly occurs on the tops and sides of teeth. If detected in time, tooth decay can easily be removed and replaced with a white composite filling.

There have been many advances in composite fillings over the years, and we strive to use the most current yet clinically proven materials available. The materials are actually bonded to the tooth structure and transformed into hard, tooth-like substance.

General Measures:

  • You are able to eat and drink normally as soon as the appointment is over since the material is light-cured right in the dentist’s office.
  • Brush and floss the tooth with the filling the same as your other tooth.
  • Sensitivity to cold and biting pressure are not uncommon, especially in the first few weeks.
  • Seek regular check ups so the doctor can check the status of your filling.

NOTIFY YOUR DENTIST IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING OCCURS:

  • You have spontaneous pain that lingers for over 30 minutes.
  • It feels as if the filling is too high, or you are hitting the filling first when you bite down.

Crowns (Full, Onlay, Veneers)

Badly decayed or broken teeth often must be repaired by using a cap or a crown. Your dentist will recommend this procedure when filling the tooth to its proper shape becomes impossible. Composite filling material has its limitations, however. After a cavity has been prepared, you must have enough good sound tooth left to hold the composite material without the risk of fracturing. A cap or crown replaces the part of the tooth above the gum line. Caps fit over the tooth, and crowns protect the tooth and restore its biting function.

If you have a crown, you should avoid sticky sweets like taffy, because it may be strong enough to pull the crown off.

General Measures

  • Do not bite on your new crown for at least an hour after it has been set so that the cement can harden to its full strength.
  • Brush and floss the crown just like your natural teeth.
  • Note: Sensitivity to foods and liquids is a normal reaction to a new cap and may last for several weeks.

NOTIFY YOUR DENTIST IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING OCCURS

  • The crown becomes loose or moves when you bite.
  • The tooth is sensitive to pressure three days after it is cemented
  • Gums become swollen around the new cap.

Endodontic (Root Canal) Therapy

Teeth can become infected, just like any other part of your body. The infection usually is caused by (1) a deep cavity entering the nerve of the tooth, or (2) traumatic injury to the tooth. The infection forms an abscess that will require examination and testing for accurate diagnosis. An abscessed tooth is nearly always apparent on an X-ray. Thankfully, a tooth with an abscess will not necessarily need to be extracted, because a dental procedure called root canal therapy will control the infection and allow healing. This treatment will save your tooth and avoid the harmful effects of tooth loss.

Root canal therapy is usually done in two or three appointments. The first step is to remove the nerve (pulpal tissue) from the small hollow tube (root canal) located in the center of the tooth. Then a strong medicine is sealed in the canal until the next appointment, where the dentist will file and prepare the canal. Next, the canal will be permanently filled and sealed. The abscessed area at the end of the root canal will start to heal slowly and may require several months for complete healing. Your dentist will want to check the healing process by studying your tooth X-rays.

General Measures

  • Between treatment appointments, avoid heavy biting.
  • Brush and clean your mouth daily.
  • Medications: If an antibiotic is prescribed during treatment, you should take the medication exactly as directed on the prescription.

NOTIFY YOUR DENTIST IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING OCCURS

  • Swelling in the gum around the tooth
  • Body temperature above 101 Fahrenheit
  • The tooth becomes loose.
  • You are in so much pain that Aspirin, Tylenol or Ibproufen do not help.

Routine Dental Extraction

Dentists pull teeth for one of two reasons: (1) loss of supporting tissue (bone and gums) or (2) infection involving the nerve of the tooth. This type of infection develops when germs find an entry into the nerve canal of the tooth. Some fractured teeth cannot be restored using a root canal treatment and have to be extracted.

General Measures

  • Keep you mouth closed firmly in order to produce pressure on the gauze sponge that has been placed in the socket to prevent bleeding. (The “socket” is the space left after the tooth is extracted.)
  • Leave the gauze sponges in place for three to four hours. Change them approximately every 30 minutes.
  • To help prevent excessive bleeding, don’t spit.
  • Apply an ice pack for ten minutes at a time to the skin on the side of the face on which the tooth was extracted.
  • DO NOT suck on cigarettes, cigars, pipes or straws for the next 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, use warm salt water mouth rinses to soothe discomfort and to prevent accumulation of food particles. Rinse gently. Make the solution with one teaspoon of plain table salt in a glass of lukewarm water.
  • Diet: Follow a soft or liquid diet for 24 hours or more. Do not drink any alcoholic beverages.
  • Medications: You make take Aspirin, Tylenol or Ibproufen.

NOTIFY YOUR DENTIST IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING OCCURS

  • Heavy bleeding develops. This may be suspected if the gauze sponges are still being saturated with blood after two hours.
  • Any bleeding from the socket occurs after 18 hours.
  • Severe nagging or “gnawing” pain is present at the extraction site after 24 hours.
  • Your oral temperature is greater than 101 Fahrenheit.

Traumatic Dental Injury

Most people have accidents which injure their teeth during childhood. These accidents can range from a barely chipped tooth to broken facial bones. When a person is hit in the face, the upper front teeth and/or the nose are usually the first structures to be injured.

If you or your child receive an injury to the face, go to your dentist as soon as possible. Before going, however, check around the area of the accident for any teeth that may have been totally knocked from their sockets. If any are found, place them in a container of milk or inside your cheek, and get to a dentist as soon as possible.

The method of repairing fractured teeth depends on the severity of the fracture. If the fracture only involves the tooth’s enamel, the tooth is usually treated by smoothing the rough enamel edges. If the second layer (dentin) is involved, the dentin slaould be covered by a protective filling or cap. If the nerve (pulp) is exposed, root canal therapy is usually required to prevent abscess formation.

The root of the tooth can also fracture as a result of injury. Most root fractures are difficult to treat. Extraction is usually necesary, depending on what section of the root is is involved. The closer the horizontal fracture line is to the end of the root, the better the chance that the tooth will survive. If the tooth fractures vertically, extraction is almost always necessary. Horizontal root fractures that are close to the end of the root require root canal therapy.

The most important thing to remember after a facial or dental accident is to get to your dentist. If teeth have been knocked out, find them and get to your dentist as fast as possible

General Measures

  • Apply ice packs to your face close to the injured area for 10 to 20 minutes each hour for 24 hours.
  • Do not rinse your month for 24 hours.
  • Do not place any biting pressure on the injured area for several days.
  • Diet: Follow a soft or liquid diet for 24 hours or more. Gradually work back to your normal diet.
  • Medication: If medicines are prescribed, take them according to the instructions on the prescription.

NOTIFY YOUR DENTIST IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING OCCURS

  • Swelling around any of the treated teeth.
  • Sharp pain more than three days after the accident.