Aftercare Instructions

While most dental surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, it remains an involved procedure that requires specific preparation and aftercare. In an effort to provide safe, comfortable care, we encourage you to review our pre-and post-operative instructions, which are intended to facilitate a smooth operation and safer recovery.

If you have any questions or concerns about your surgery, please contact Alhambra Dental Plaza today.

Prior to your dental surgery, you will have the opportunity to address any concerns you might have during your pre-op appointment with Dr. Han Do and our surgical specialists. We encourage you to ask questions and make us aware of any fears you might have. Our main goal is to create a secure, comfortable environment for you on the day of surgery so the more you communicate with us, the easier we can accommodate your needs. 

The following guidelines are meant to serve as reminders in helping you prepare for your dental surgery. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our practice.

Leading up to surgery:

  • Fasting must begin at midnight the night before surgery for patients with a morning appointment. If you have an afternoon appointment, do not eat anything 8 hours prior to your scheduled dental surgery.
  • While fasting, the patient may only drink clear fluids (Ex: water, apple juice, black coffee, and sports drinks). Beverages that are not allowed to be consumed are alcohol, orange juice, milk, creamer, and other opaque drinks. Patients should avoid drinking all fluids within 6 hours of their surgery. If you are unsure about what can and cannot be consumed, please ask during your pre-op appointment.
  • Patients may continue taking the following medications with a small sip of water prior to surgery: 
    • Cardiac medications
    • Pulmonary medications
    • Steroids
    • Anti-seizure medications
    • Anti-Parkinson’s medications
  • Medications that patients are prohibited from taking are MAO inhibitors, antidepressants, aspirins, anti-coagulants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Alhambra Dental Plaza requests that patients stop taking these medications at least two days prior to surgery because they can create complications during dental surgery.
  • Patients are not to consume alcoholic beverages or use tobacco products within 24 hours of their appointment and are asked to refrain from drinking or smoking for 24 hours after their surgery.


  • If you are a minor, you must have a parent or guardian present for the extent of your surgery. All patients are required to have a licensed driver take them home after their appointment, and we prefer that you are accompanied by someone for at least 12 hours after your surgery.
  • Brush your teeth as usual, but be sure not to swallow any water or toothpaste. Do not wear any makeup or nail polish.
  • If you regularly wear contact lenses, please remove them prior to surgery. Jewelry and dentures will also need to be removed before surgery.
  • We prefer that you wear loose, comfortable clothing and flat-soled shoes. Shirts that have ¾ sleeves or shorter are ideal.
  • After surgery, you will not be fully aware, therefore cannot return to work or school, and cannot drive or operate other hazardous devices. Also, please make sure that you have assistance when climbing stairs or attempting other difficult tasks.

If you have any change in health on the morning of your appointment, please contact the practice immediately. A cold or fever with chest and sinus congestion may dangerously affect surgery, so it is imperative that Dr. Do and our surgical specialists are made aware of the situation. If it is necessary to reschedule your appointment, we will notify you.

Following dental implant surgery, patients must take detailed care of the area surrounding their new implant. For the first month, the dental implant is still integrating with the bone and tissues, so the patient’s care routine will be slightly more involved during this initial period. Above all, do not disturb the wound in the initial days that follow surgery. Avoid rinsing, spitting, and touching the mouth for 24 hours after surgery to avoid contaminating or irritating the surgical site. 

After dental implant surgery, it’s important to follow these care instructions:

  • Antibiotics – Patients should take all prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection at the surgical site.  Twenty-four hours after the surgery, patients should begin using the prescribed oral rinse twice daily alongside a warm saltwater rinse 4-5 times daily (preferably after every meal/snack).
  • Bleeding – Blood in the patient’s saliva is normal during the first 24 hours following surgery.  We suggest biting on gauze pads to help control and lessen blood flow.  Gently bite down on the gauze pad and try to maintain constant pressure, repeating as often as needed, or until the bleeding lessens.
  • Dealing with pain – Shortly after your dental implant surgery, the anesthetic will wear off. You should begin taking pain medication before this happens. Any over-the-counter pain medication can be taken (e.g., Tylenol®, Aleve®, ibuprofen, etc.).
  • Diet – We recommend an initial diet of soft foods, but patients can resume a normal diet as soon as they feel capable of doing so. Stay hydrated. It is critical that you are drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Hygiene – In order for the dental implants to heal properly, the surgical site must be kept clean. Continue to brush your teeth as you normally would, but avoid any sutures, and do not brush the implant. The antibiotic and saltwater rinses will disinfect the implant itself.
  • Swelling – After dental implant surgery some amount of swelling is to be expected. To help minimize swelling, try to keep your head elevated and lower your activity level as much as possible. Use ice packs for the first 48 hours and apply continuously, or as frequently as possible to minimize facial swelling.
  • Wearing your prosthesis or night guard – Partial dentures, flippers, full dentures, retainers, or night guards should not be used for at least 10 days following surgery. If there are any special circumstances, our pspecialists will discuss those with you during your pre-operative consultation.
  • Smoking – Smoking after dental implant surgery has an increased risk of infection which also increases the risk of dental implants failing to integrate. We recommend that patients do not smoke for a minimum of 2 weeks after dental implant surgery.

While each patient’s case is different, recovery after dental implant surgery happens in a series of phases. With your new dental implants, maintaining proper oral hygiene should be your primary focus. In order for the implant to properly fuse with the jawbone, it must remain clean. Also keep in mind that when properly cared for, a dental implant can serve its owner for life.

When maintaining proper hygiene, oral discomfort should gradually lessen. Swelling, bruising, and minor bleeding may still occur. If any pain does continue, feel free to continue using the pain medications.

Healing time differs depending on whether a patient receives immediate crown placement, or waits for the implant to fuse with the jawbone. Your recovery timeframe will depend on your individual case and treatment plan; follow-up appointments will be scheduled accordingly.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Alhambra Dental Plaza.

There are a number of reasons why our specialists might recommend a tooth extraction. Some dental patients suffer from tooth decay; others need to remove teeth hindering orthodontic treatment, whereas various patients simply need wisdom teeth removal. While a tooth extraction can be a serious dental procedure, aftercare is just as critical as the procedure itself. As a dental patient, it is important to understand that discomfort and the risk of infection can be lessened with proper care.

Care immediately following surgery:

  • Keep pressure on the gauze pad that your doctor placed over the surgical area by gently biting down. Dampen the gauze sponge with water if it begins to dry out. Try to maintain constant pressure in intervals of 45-60 minutes, repeating as often as needed, or until the bleeding lessens. Change the gauze as needed. 
  • Keep your head elevated and try to lower your activity level as much as possible.
  • 48 hours after surgery, rinse your mouth with warm salt water every 1-2 hours. Avoid using any mouthwash containing alcohol as it can irritate the wound.
  • Keep your mouth clean by brushing areas around the surgical site, but be sure to avoid sutures. Touching the wounded area in any fashion should be prevented.
  • Use ice packs to control swelling by placing them on facial areas near extraction.
  • Take all prescribed medications accordingly. If any itching or swelling occurs, contact the practice immediately, or go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Try to eat softer foods, preferably high in protein.
  • Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, but do not drink through a straw for the next 5-7 days.
  • If you are a regular tobacco user, refrain from smoking for the next 3-4 days as smoking increases your chances of getting a dry socket as well as an infection.

After your tooth has been extracted, healing will take some time. Within 3 to 14 days, your sutures should fall out or dissolve. For sutures that are non-resorbable, Dr. Do will schedule a follow-up appointment to remove the stitches for you. Your tooth’s empty socket will gradually fill in with bone over time and smooth over with adjacent tissues.

Bleeding – Bleeding after a tooth extraction is entirely normal. Pinkish-tinted saliva and subtle oozing is fairly common during the first 36 hours. If bleeding gets excessive, control it by using dampened gauze pads and biting down to keep pressure on the area. As an alternative to gauze pads, a moistened tea bag can be used, as tannic acid helps blood vessels contract. Apply pressure to the gauze or tea bag by gently biting down for 30 minutes. Please remember that raised tempers, sitting upright, and exercise can all increase blood flow to the head, which can cause excess bleeding. Try to avoid these as much as possible. If your bleeding does not reduce after 48 hours, please call the practice.

Bone sequestra (dead tooth fragments) – Some patients have small sharp tooth fragments that were unable to be completely removed during surgery. During the recovery period, these dead bone fragments, or bone sequestra, slowly work themselves through the gums as a natural healing process. This can be a little painful until the sequestra are removed, so please call our practice immediately if you notice any sharp fragments poking through the surgery site.

Dry socket – In the days that follow your tooth extraction, pain should gradually subside. Rarely do patients report that pain increases to a throbbing unbearable pain that shoots up towards the ear. Often this is a case of dry sockets. A dry socket occurs when the blood clot becomes irritated and ousted before healing is complete. Food and debris can then get into the socket causing irritation. Tobacco users and women taking oral contraceptives are at a higher risk of getting dry sockets. The dry socket is not an infection but does require a visit to our office. If you think you may be suffering from a dry socket, please contact the practice immediately.

Lightheadedness – Because you may have been fasting prior to surgery, your blood sugar levels may be lower than normal. Until your body has had the chance to catch up and process some sugars, you should remember to stand up slowly when getting up from a relaxed position. For somewhat immediate relief, try eating something soft and sugary, stay in a relaxed position, and reduce the elevation of your head.

Numbness – Many patients report still feeling numb hours after their tooth extraction procedure. An extended lack of feeling around the mouth is normal and can last 10-12 hours after surgery.

Swelling – Swelling should subside almost entirely within 10 days after surgery. Immediately following your tooth extraction, apply an ice pack to the facial areas near the extraction. Continue using the ice in 15-minute intervals for the first 36 hours. After 36 hours, ice will no longer be beneficial in reducing swelling and moist heat should be used instead. To decrease swelling, apply a warm damp cloth to the sides of your face.

Trismus (difficulty opening & closing mouth) – If you experience a sore jaw and difficulty chewing or swallowing, do not be alarmed. Occasionally patients’ chewing muscles and jaw joints remain sore 3-5 days after surgery. This soreness can also make it difficult to open and close your mouth. Soreness should eventually subside.

If you have any worries or are experiencing any complications not mentioned, please contact Alhambra Dental Plaza immediately so that we may address your concerns.

Crown placement is a common dental procedure where a tooth-shaped cap is placed over a damaged tooth to restore its shape, size, and appearance. Proper care following the placement of a crown is crucial for maintaining the longevity of the restoration and your overall dental health. Here are some instructions to help ensure a successful recovery after crown placement:

Care following tooth preparation:

  • Be gentle around the prepared tooth to avoid irritation and discomfort.
  • Brush and floss carefully to maintain cleanliness without disturbing the temporary crown or the prepared tooth.
  • Avoid sticky or hard foods that may dislodge the temporary crown or cause damage to the prepared tooth.
  • If sensitivity occurs, use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth and avoid extremely hot or cold foods and beverages.

For temporary restorations:

  • Clean your temporary crown by brushing gently and flossing with caution, using a floss threader if necessary.
  • Avoid biting on the temporary crown with excessive force, as it is not as durable as a permanent crown.
  • Contact Alhambra Dental Plaza if the temporary crown becomes loose, cracked, or falls out to prevent further complications.
  • Be aware that temporary crowns may not have a perfect fit, and some sensitivity or discomfort may be experienced.

Ongoing care:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily and flossing once a day, paying special attention to the area around the crown.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings to monitor the health of your crown and surrounding teeth.
  • Limit consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages that may lead to tooth decay or erosion around the crown.
  • Wear a nightguard if you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding) to protect your crown and other teeth from excessive wear.
  • Contact Alhambra Dental Plaza if you experience any pain, swelling, or discomfort around the crown, as this may indicate a problem that needs professional attention.

Dental fillings are a common treatment used to repair teeth affected by cavities, decay, or minor fractures. Following the placement of a filling, it’s essential to take proper care of the treated tooth and the surrounding area to promote healing and maintain good oral health. Here are some instructions to follow after receiving a dental filling:

Immediately after the procedure:

  • Avoid eating or drinking until the numbness from the local anesthesia has worn off to prevent accidental injury to your cheeks, lips, or tongue.
  • Be cautious when chewing on the side of the filling for the first 24 hours, as the material may still be setting.
  • If you experience sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, try to avoid consuming extremely hot or cold foods and beverages for a few days.

Discomfort & sensitivity management:

  • Sensitivity to pressure, temperature, or biting is normal after a filling and should subside within a week or two.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to manage discomfort, following the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
  • If sensitivity persists beyond two weeks or worsens, contact our office for a follow-up appointment.

Oral hygiene & maintenance:

  • Maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine by brushing twice daily and flossing once a day to protect the filling and surrounding teeth.
  • Use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth if you continue to experience sensitivity after the filling.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings to monitor the health of your filling and overall oral health.
  • Limit consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages, as these can contribute to tooth decay around the filling.

Long-term care:

  • Be aware that dental fillings have a limited longevity and may eventually need to be replaced due to wear or further decay.
  • Contact our specialists if you notice any signs of a failing filling, such as sensitivity, pain, or a noticeable gap between the filling and the tooth.
  • Protect your fillings and teeth from damage by refraining from biting on hard objects.
  • Wear a nightguard if you suffer from bruxism to minimize the impact of grinding or clenching on your fillings and other teeth.

After undergoing a scaling and root planing procedure, it is essential to follow proper post-treatment care in order to aid in the healing process and maintain good oral health. These guidelines will help you navigate the recovery process and prevent complications:

Immediately after the procedure:

  • Be cautious when eating or drinking until the numbness from the local anesthesia has worn off to avoid accidentally biting your cheeks, lips, or tongue.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water two or three times a day for the first few days to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
  • Avoid using alcohol-based mouthwashes as they may cause irritation to the treated areas.

Discomfort management:

  • Mild discomfort, sensitivity, and gum tenderness are normal following scaling and root planing and should subside within a week.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to manage discomfort, following the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
  • Use an ice pack on the outside of your face over the treated area for 15-20 minutes on and off to help reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • If discomfort or swelling persists or worsens after a few days, contact our office for a follow-up appointment.

Long-term care:

  • Maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine to prevent future buildup of plaque and tartar that can lead to periodontal disease.
  • Incorporate an antimicrobial mouthwash into your daily routine as recommended by our dentist to help control bacteria and improve gum health.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes foods rich in vitamins and minerals to support gum health and overall oral health.
  • Stay vigilant about your gum health and contact our specialists if you notice any signs of gum disease, such as redness, swelling, bleeding, or persistent bad breath.

After completing a teeth whitening procedure, it is crucial to follow proper post-treatment instructions to maintain your bright smile and minimize sensitivity. These guidelines will help you make the most of your teeth whitening treatment:

Immediately after the procedure:

  • Avoid consuming staining beverages such as coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-colored sodas for at least 48 hours to prevent immediate discoloration.
  • Steer clear of staining foods like berries, dark chocolate, and tomato-based sauces for the first 48 hours.
  • Refrain from smoking or using tobacco products for at least 48 hours, as nicotine can cause staining and compromise the whitening results.

Managing tooth sensitivity:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures may occur after teeth whitening but should subside within a few days.
  • Use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to help alleviate sensitivity and provide relief.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to manage discomfort, following the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
  • If sensitivity persists or worsens after a week, contact our office for a follow-up appointment.

After receiving your new dentures or partials, it is vital to adhere to the proper care instructions in order to ensure a comfortable fit and preserve the longevity of the prosthetic. These tips will help you adjust to your new dental appliance and care for it properly:

While initially adjusting to your new dentures:

  • Wear your dentures or partials as instructed by our specialist to help your mouth adapt to the new appliance.
  • Be prepared for an adjustment period as you get used to speaking and eating with your new dentures or partials. Practice reading aloud and eating soft foods to become more comfortable.
  • Schedule follow-up appointments with Dr. Do and our restorative team to make necessary adjustments for a better fit and increased comfort.

Managing discomfort & sore spots:

  • Minor irritation and sore spots are common as your mouth adjusts to the dentures or partials. These issues should improve over time as your mouth adapts.
  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers to manage discomfort, following the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to soothe irritated gums and promote healing.
  • If sore spots persist or worsen, contact Alhambra Dental Plaza for a follow-up appointment to make adjustments.

Oral hygiene & maintenance:

  • Clean your dentures or partials daily by brushing them with a soft denture brush and denture cleaner. Avoid using toothpaste, as it may be too abrasive for the appliance.
  • Soak your dentures or partials overnight in a denture cleanser or water to help maintain their shape and cleanliness.
  • Brush your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth with a soft-bristle toothbrush to stimulate circulation and maintain good oral hygiene.
  • If you have remaining natural teeth, continue to brush twice daily and floss once a day to maintain their health.

Long-term care:

  • Schedule regular dental checkups with Dr. Do to monitor the fit of your dentures or partials and the health of your gums and remaining teeth.
  • Be aware that changes in your mouth and jaw over time may require adjustments or replacements for your dentures or partials.
  • If your dentures or partials become damaged or no longer fit properly, contact our office for a professional evaluation and repair.
  • Maintain a balanced diet to support your overall oral health and the health of your gums and remaining teeth.
  • If you experience ongoing discomfort, difficulty speaking or eating, or notice any changes in the fit of your dentures or partials, contact Alhambra Dental Plaza for assistance.

After undergoing a soft tissue graft, it is important to take proper care to promote healing, minimize complications, and ensure success. The following guidelines will assist you in recovering and maintaining optimal oral health:

Immediately after the procedure:

  • Avoid hot foods and beverages for the first 24 hours, as they can increase swelling and discomfort.
  • Do not disturb the surgical site by touching it with your tongue, fingers, or other objects.
  • If a periodontal dressing or stent has been placed over the graft, do not remove or disturb it. It will removed at a follow-up appointment.

Bleeding & swelling management:

  • If you experience mild bleeding, gently apply pressure to the area with a clean, damp gauze pad for 20-30 minutes.
  • To minimize swelling, apply an ice pack to the outside of your face over the treated area for 15-20 minutes on and off during the first 24-48 hours.
  • Keep your head elevated, especially when sleeping, to help reduce swelling.

Discomfort management:

  • Take prescribed medications or over-the-counter pain relievers as directed by our specialist or according to the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
  • Be prepared for some discomfort and swelling after the procedure, which should subside within a week.
  • If discomfort, swelling, or bleeding worsens or persists beyond a week, contact our dentist for a follow-up appointment.

Oral hygiene & maintenance:

  • Avoid brushing or flossing the surgical site for the first week to prevent disruption of the graft or sutures.
  • Gently rinse your mouth with a prescribed antimicrobial mouthwash or a warm saltwater solution two or three times a day to keep the area clean and promote healing.
  • After the first week, gently brush the area with a soft-bristle toothbrush and gradually reintroduce flossing as directed by our specialists.

Activity & diet:

  • Limit physical activity for the first 24-48 hours to reduce bleeding and swelling.
  • Consume a soft food diet for the first week, avoiding hard, crunchy, or spicy foods that may irritate the graft.
  • Gradually reintroduce your regular diet as the graft heals and you become more comfortable.

Long-term care:

  • Maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine of brushing twice daily and flossing once a day to protect the graft and surrounding teeth.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings to monitor the health of your graft and overall oral health.
  • If you notice any signs of gum recession, inflammation, or persistent sensitivity, contact Alhambra Dental Plaza for an evaluation.
  • Practice proper oral hygiene and follow our specialist’s recommendations to prevent further gum recession and the need for additional grafting procedures.
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