Post-Op Instructions

Root Canal

After your root canal treatment, it will take time to repair the irritated and inflamed tissues that support your tooth in the jawbone. Your tooth will be tender to biting for the first few weeks and you may notice a difference in biting for even a few months. Try chewing on the opposite side of your mouth.

In order to reduce the inflammatory response and speed up the healing process, it is very helpful to take ibuprofen, Advil or Motrin as indicated on the bottle, even if the tooth is not sore when the anesthetic wears off. On the second day post-treatment, only take Ibuprofen if necessary. Also, Dr. Herrin will likely prescribe an antibiotic to ward off any infection. Please take as indicated on the bottle.

Your jaw muscles will be sore from keeping your mouth open, and the anesthetic injection site may also be sore. The clamp used around your tooth to secure the rubber dam may also cause an irritation to the gum tissue for a few days. If swelling develops or pain increases, please contact our office.

Crown or Bridge

Usually it takes more than one appointment to give a patient a crown or bridge. At the first appointment, your mouth is anesthetized so Dr. Herrin can prepare and file down your teeth that need the restoration. While the permanent, custom crown or bridge is being made, Dr. Herrin will place a temporary crown or bridge in order to protect your teeth. After this first appointment, your lips and tongue will be numb because of the anesthetic used. Do not eat or drink a hot beverage until all the numbness has subsided so you do not accidentally bite your lip, tongue or cheek.

If your temporary crown falls off, please call our office immediately. Bring the temporary crown with you to the office, and we will re-place it on your tooth. To ensure the temporary crown stays on, do not eat sticky or hard foods or chew gum.

For a few days, the tooth with the temporary crown will have heat, cold and pressure sensitivity. These sensitivities should subside a few weeks after the permanent crown is placed. To alleviate the pain in the meantime, we recommend taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin as directed on the bottle.

White Composite Filling

Several hours after your appointment, your lips and tongue may be numb because of the anesthetic used. Do not eat or drink hot or cold beverages until all the numbness has subsided so you do not accidentally bite your lip, tongue or cheek.

For a few days, the tooth with the filling will usually have heat, cold and pressure sensitivity. The injection sites for the anesthetic shots will also be sore. To alleviate the pain, we recommend taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin as directed on the bottle.

Scaling and Root Planing

For a few days following your periodontal treatment, your gums and teeth may feel sore and uncomfortable. To reduce the pain and clean the treated areas, we recommend rinsing your mouth two-to-three times a day with a warm salt water rinse. When brushing your teeth, be sure to brush gently. If you experience any swelling, you may take over-the-counter pain medications and use a cold compress. For two-to-three days after the treatment, please refrain from eating chewy or hard foods.


Placing your veneer will require at least two appointments. After the first preparation appointment, we will place a temporary veneer. Please take care of the temporary as it is not as durable as the permanent veneer.

After each appointment (whether you receive the temporary or permanent veneer), the treated tooth may seem irritated and sensitive. As the tissue heals, these sensations should subside. Using a warm salt water rinse and taking over-the-counter pain medication can relieve your discomfort.

Tooth Extraction

After a tooth extraction, please have someone else drive you home. Once you are home, please rest but do not lie flat on your back. Lying in this position could prolong bleeding. Make sure your head is propped up using a pillow.

A blood clot usually forms in the extracted tooth’s socket to stop bleeding and to protect the exposed jaw bone. If the clot becomes dislodged or does not form, the site is called a dry socket, which is usually painful. If you have a dry socket, please call our office immediately. Usually, a medicated dressing will be placed on the dry socket by Dr. Herrin until the healing process can begin.

To stop bleeding after an extraction, place a piece of gauze over the socket and apply firm biting pressure for 45 minutes to an hour. Applying pressure for this extended period of time should stop the bleeding. If you are still bleeding 24 hours after the procedure, contact our office immediately.

Once the bleeding has stopped and a clot has formed, do not suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush the teeth next to the socket for up to 72 hours afterward, as these actions will disturb the blood clot. Also, do not vigorously exercise for the next 24 hours after the extraction.

Please be mindful of your diet for the first few days post-surgery. We recommend eating soft foods, such as pudding, yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup, ice cream or protein shakes.

To alleviate the pain and reduce swelling, Dr. Herrin will prescribe a pain medication. You can also take ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin as directed on the bottle and apply an ice pack.

With any procedure, if your pain or sensitivity persists or if you have any questions, please call our office.


  • PAUL S. HERRIN, D.D.S. - 395 Derhake Rd., Florissant, MO 63031 Phone: 314-921-0070 Fax: 314-921-7506

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