Ellis General Dentistry

Dennis W. Ellis, DDS, PA

FAQs

Please scroll through our list of Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the variety of services and techniques that we offer. Dental work can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! If you have a questions that is not answered here, please don’t hesitate to call.

What is the aftercare following a restorative procedure?

What To Expect

1. When a restoration has been placed, the tooth is often hypersensitive to chewing and temperature for up to several weeks. The pulp of the tooth becomes slightly inflamed from the restorative procedure, the drying, and the manipulation of the tooth. These symptoms will usually subside slowly over the next several weeks.

2. Occasionally, the bite or occlusion of the new restoration with the opposing teeth may feel different. This new and different feeling with usually subside within several days, but may persist for several weeks before settling into a normal occlusion.

3. The gum tissue around the tooth may be tender and slightly swollen for several days after the restorative procedure. It is not unusual for the gum tissue to bleed easily for the first few days, especially while flossing.

4. When we anesthetize the area to do the restoration, it is not unusual for the numbness to persist for up to six hours. The area around the tooth may be unusually sensitive when the numbness leaves initially but will usually subside in a short period of time.

What To Do

1. Usually, pain relief is not required, but in the event that you have discomfort and want some pain relief, we recommend ibuprofen (Nupril, Advil, Motrin)-600 to 800 mg (four tablets)-to be taken every four to six hours. If you have a medical condition or gastrointestinal disorder which precludes the use of ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin) is a substitute, although it does not contain anti-inflammatory properties.

2. Once the restoration has been placed, there is usually a period of time that the new material needs to mature before chewing is permitted, this varies according to the type and location of the restoration. The staff will advise you of the necessary time to wait before you may resume normal chewing and cleaning.

Please Call Us If

1. You are expericning symptoms more intense or of longer duration than those described above.

2. If any questions arise.

What is the aftercare following a tooth extraction?

What To Expect

1. Extraction of a tooth results in bleeding which should subside before you leave the office. There is usually continual bleeding at a much reduced level for up to 18 hours after the surgical procedure. When mixed with saliva, the bleeding apprears to be much more than is actually present.

2. The surgical site should remain tender and slightly swollen for up to 72 hours. Then the initial swelling and tenderness will begin to subside. It is not unusual for the soft tissue of the face and neck to exhibit some degree of swelling and bruising which could take up to 10 days to subside.

3. A blood clot will form over the immediate surgical site. It is important not to dislodge or rinse this clot away, because it will form the matrix for the healing to begin. Occasionally, a larger “liver” clot may form in the vicinity of the surgical site and could be small or quite large, but this clot is not part of the healing process and should be gently rinsed out or removed.

4. Sometimes sutures are placed to promote healing. These may be self-resorbing or may require removal one week later. Occasionally, these sutures can loosen or be lost before the week has passed.  Unless there is unusual pain or bleeding, there is no need to be unduly concerned or have the sutures removed.

What To Do

1. Usually you are given a dose of pain reliever before the procedure, and it should give you relief from pain for about six hours from the time of taking it. We also usually use long acting anesthesia for most dental surgery. In this case, the surgical site will remain numb for six to eight hours after the injections before the anesthesia begins to subdue. Generally, only one dose is needed. We recommend ibuprofen (Nuprin, Advil, Motrin)-600 to 800 mg (four tablets)-to be taken every to six hours. If you have a medical condition or gastrointestinal disorder which precludes the use of ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin) is a substitute, although it does not contain anti-inflammatory properties. Aspirin and non-aspirin containing products are not advisable, as they tend to increase bleeding from the area that was treated. 

2. We think that the most important modality for the control of post-operative pain, swelling, and bleeding is the use of ice. We recommend that you gently apply external ice packs to the area for periods of 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off.  Throughout the remainder of the day, we also recommend that you continuously bathe the area in the mouth with crushed ice. The use of ice should continue for the first 24 hours only. 

3. If bleeding persists, apply steady firm pressure for 45 minutes by gently biting on a tea bag that has been moistened and wrapped in a piece of gauze. 

4. Do not rinse or use mouth washes for at least 24 hours. The use of commercial mouth wash during the healing period is not recommended. 

5. In order to keep your mouth clean, you may immediately use the toothbrush in all areas of the mouth not involved with the surgical procedures. Avoid brushing in the area of the surgical site for seven to 10 days, but you may begin brushing the adjacent teeth as soon as 72 hours. 

6. Avoid all excessive activity for 48 hours, refrain from smoking for 12 hours and avoid consuming liquids through a straw.

7. If you find that eating your regular diet is too difficult, you may switch to a soft diet. You need adequate fluid intake to help maintain your strength. 

Please Call Us If…

1. You are experiencing symptoms more intense or of longer duration than those described above.

2. You encounter significant post-operative swelling or fever.

3. If any questions arise. 

What is Cracked Tooth Syndrome?

Cracked Tooth Syndrome

Unfortunately, the incidence of cracks in teeth seems to be increasing. People are living longer and keeping their teeth longer. As a result, patients are more likely to have complex restorative and endodontic procedures that remove tooth structure, leaving teeth more susceptible to cracks. People of all ages are also living more stressful lives, which can result in crack-inducing habits, such as clenching and bruxism. Malocclusion, the misalignment of teeth, is also a major cause.

The good news is that many teeth with cracks can be saved! The key to saving these teeth is to know the characteristic signs and symptoms and diagnose the cracks as early in its development as possible.

What Are The Signs

Teeth with cracks tend to have erratic pain on mastication (biting), and the patient tends to have trouble explaining the precise location or character of the complaint. Sometimes there is pain to temperature extremes, especially cold, and sometimes there is spontaneous pain for no particular reason. Generally, there is no pain to tapping and radiographs are often inconclusive. Depending on the location, direction and extent of the crack, the patient may present any one or all of these signs and symptoms or a variety of others. This variable combination of signs and symptoms makes diagnosis more difficult.

Occasionally, when the crack involves the dental pulp, there may be signs and symptoms of irreversible pulpitis or necrosis with the possibility of pulp death, resulting in the need for root canal therapy.

What Is The Treatment

Usually a crown is the recommended permanent treatment to insure that the pulp (nerve) is protected from further injury from chewing.  When diagnosed and treated early, the success of the treatment is much improved. Even though a tooth has been diagnosed and successfully treated with a crown, there is always the chance that the pulp may have been irreversibly damaged and over time may become sensitive and need root canal treatment. It may be noted that when a root canal is done through the crown, usually it can be done without permanently damaging the crown.

 

What is the aftercare following a crown cementation?

What To Expect

1.   Cementing a crown or onlay can make the tooth ache and be hypersensitive to temperature and chewing for up to 48 to 72 hours after the procedure.  This heightened sensitivity is more pronounced if the tooth had been sensitive before the preparation or sensitive  after the temporary was placed.

2.   The gum tissue around the tooth may be tender and slightly swollen for several days after cementing the restoration.  It is also not unusual for the gum tissue to bleed easily, especially while flossing for the first few days.

3.   Occasionally, the bite or occlusion of the new restoration with the opposing teeth may feel different.  This new and different feeling will usually subside within several days, but may persist for several weeks   before settling into a normal occlusion.

4.   During those occasions when we anesthetize the area to cement the restoration, it is not unusual for the numbness to persist for several hours. The area around the tooth may be unusually sensitive when the numbness leaves initially, but will usually subside in a short period of time.

 

What To Do

1.   When we have anesthetized the area before cementing the restoration, it is important that you avoid eating solid food until the effects of the anesthesia are completely gone.  Drinking fluids immediately after the procedure is allowed. 

2.   The cement we use is set hard enough to allow you to chew on it after approximately six hours, so we recommend a soft diet until then.  Also, avoid flossing, sticky foods and chewing gum for the first six hours.

3.   We recommend ibuprofen (Nuprin, Advil, Motrin)  600 to 800 mg (four tablets) to be taken every four to six hours as needed.  If you have a medical condition or gastrointestinal disorder which precludes the use of ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin) is a substitute, although it does not contain anti-inflammatory properties..

4.  You may brush the area around the tooth carefully for the first two days, and then on the third day you may resume normal brushing an flossing.

 Please Call Us If …

1. You are experiencing symptoms more intense or of longer duration than those described above.

2. If any questions 

What is the aftercare following endodontic (root canal) therapy?

What To Expect

1. It is not uncommon for a tooth to be uncomfortable or even exhibit a dull ache immediately after receiving root canal therapy.  This should subside within one week.

2.   Your tooth will be sensitive to biting pressure and may even appear to be loose.  This feeling is a result of the sensitivity of nerve endings in the tissue just outside the end of the root, where we cleaned, irrigated and placed filler and sealer material.  This feeling will be short-lived

3. You may feel a depression or rough area (on the top of a back tooth, or the back of a front tooth) where our access was made.  There is a soft, temporary material in that area, which may wear away to some degree before your next visit.

4. Occasionally, a small “bubble” or “pimple” will appear on the gum tissue within a few days after completion of a root canal.  This represents the release of pressure and bacteria which no longer can be sustained around the tooth.  This should disappear within a few days.

 What To Do

 1.   We recommend you take something for pain-relief within one hour of leaving the office, to get the medication into your blood system before the anesthesia we administered begins to subside.  Generally, only one dose is needed.  We recommend ibuprofen (Nuprin, Advil, Motrin) – 600-800 mg (three or four tablets).  If you have a medical condition or gastrointestinal disorder which precludes ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin) is a substitute, although it does not contain anti-inflammatory properties. 

2.   Whenever possible, try to chew on the opposite side from the tooth we have just treated, until you have a crown or onlay placed, or until the access area is restored.  Until that time, your tooth still is weakened and could fracture.

3.   Please avoid chewing gum, caramels, other sticky, soft candy, which could dislodge the temporary material or fracture your tooth.

Please Call Us If …

1. You are experiencing symptoms more intense or of longer duration than those described above.

2. You encounter significant post-operative swelling.

3. The temporary material is dislodged, feels loose, or feels “high” when biting.

4. Your tooth fractures.

5. You have any questions.

I just got bleach trays. What do I do now?

What To Do

1. Brush your teeth well and floss.

2. Place a small amount of bleach in each tooth well. If the bleach touches your gums, you are using too much. If you have crowns, there is no reason to put bleach in that area as bleach will not change the color of crowns or any restorations.   

3. Wear for 30-45 minutes. NEVER SLEEP WITH TRAYS IN YOUR MOUTH. 

4. Remove the tray and brush teeth gently.

5. Clean the tray with cool water only. Never use hot water when cleaning trays. Hot water may distort the shape of the tray.

6. Place in container with water.

7. You may bleach your teeth up to two times per day.

8. Adjust the amount of bleach in the tray, the length of time worn, and the number of times you bleach per day according to your tooth and gum sensitivity. If teeth become sensitive while bleaching, or your gums are blanched or irritated, discontinue bleaching for a two to three days or use less solution in the trays. In some instances you may need to use a lower percentage bleach solution which is available in our office.

9. When teeth are bleached to your approval, place the tray on the model and store dry in container. Keep trays dry until you need to brighten teeth again. 

I just got a night guard. What do I do now?

1. Place Night Guard in container and keep damp when not wearing.

2. To clean, hold gently in palm of hand and brush with toothpaste. Monthly, soak night guard in mild Clorox solution (one part Clorox to nine parts water) for 20 minutes.

3. Bring your night guard when you come for any subsequent appointments as the night guard may need to be adjusted after any restorations. Also, bring your night guard to your cleaning appointments, and we will clean the appliance ultrasonically. 

4. If you have any virus, soak the night guard in the above Clorox solution as you do for routine cleanings to kill any germs absorbed by the plastic. 

5. Be sure to wear the night guard long enough (up to two weeks) to become accustomed to it. If you have teeth that continue to be sore, contact the office for us to adjust. 

6. Keep appliance out of pets’ reach. Night guards make a great “chew toy” for the dog but will ruin the appliance for your use.

What is Periodontal Disease and how can I prevent it?

Periodontal Disease is an infection that affects the tissues and bone that support teeth. The gum pulls away from the tooth, and as the disease worsens, the tissue and bone that support the tooth are destroyed. Over time, teeth may fall out or need to be removed. 

What causes periodontal disease?

 Periodontal disease is caused by plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that produce harmful toxins. If teeth are not cleaned well, the toxins can irritate and inflame the gums. 

How do you know if you have periodontal disease?

It can be hard to know. You can have the disease without clear cut symptoms. Routine dental visits and very important for this reason. However, should you experience any of the following, it is wise to see your dentist.

  • gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • red, swollen or tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • pus between the teeth and gums
  • loose or separating teeth
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • a change in the fit of partial dentures
How can I prevent it?
  • Have a good oral hygiene routine
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with flouride toothpaste
  • Floss daily to remove plaque and bits of food
  • Eat a balanced diet for good general health and limit snacking
  • Visit your dentist regularly
  • Ask your dentist or dental hygienist if they would recommend you using an ADA-accepted germ-fighting mouthrinse
Periodontal Maintenance
 
Once your periodontal disease is brought under control with treatment, it is very important that you get perio maintenance care on a regular basis from your dental office. Cleaning your mouth daily at home is a must, but it is not enough to keep perio disease in check. Perio maintenance is deeper than a normal cleaning in the dental office.
 
-All information is from the American Dental Association.