Oral Surgery Post-Op Instructions

Post-Op Instructions – Extractions
The post-operative instructions listed below should be followed accurately in order to speed your recovery.

  1. Please avoid rinsing today. Beginning tomorrow rinse with warm salt water (one-half teaspoon salt to one cup water) every two to three hours for several days, then after meals and at bedtime for the next two weeks. You may also begin brushing your teeth tomorrow.
  2. Please note that a gradual increase in pain from days three to five is not uncommon.
  3. Keep your head elevated at all times for the first five to seven days following surgery. This will help decrease swelling and pain.
  4. Our office typically uses stitches that are designed to dissolve and fall out on their own. Depending on the type, this may occur within the first week or within two to three weeks.
  5. DO NOT SMOKE. Smoking in any amount in the first few weeks can cause a dry socket and will dramatically delay wound healing.
  6. You may eat or drink what you feel up to once the local anesthetic has worn off. Avoid very hot foods or liquids for 24 hours. Soft foods like eggs, pastas, warm soups and yogurt are recommended. Drink plenty of fluids, but do not drink through a straw or create a sucking action in your mouth.
  7. The surgical site may continue to bleed slightly for a day or two. This is no cause for alarm. If heavy bleeding occurs, fold a piece of gauze (or use a wet or dry tea bag) and place over the bleeding area. Maintain firm pressure for 30 minutes. Avoid frequent pack changes, rinsing, and spitting or physical exertion until the bleeding has ceased.
  8. DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages, drive or operate machinery for 12 hours following general anesthesia. DO NOT combine pain medication with alcohol.
  9. Some discomfort is to be expected and you may be rather uncomfortable for the first few hours or days. Please:
    • Take the prescribed medication with food as directed.
    • Allow 45 minutes for the medication to work. Therefore, take the medication before the pain becomes too severe.
    • Take Ibuprofen (Advil) 800mg every six hours for minor discomfort or in between doses of pain medication to increase effectiveness.
  10. Swelling is to be expected and usually reaches its maximum during the first three days. Apply ice to the side of the face 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off as often as possible for the first 48 hours. Frozen vegetable bags wrapped in dishtowels work nicely as they contour to the jaw. Change to heat (a heating pad or hot water bottle) 48 hours after surgery. Continue to use heat until the swelling has receded.
  11. Bruising may occur, especially along the jaw line. This is not unexpected and should disappear soon.
  12. Keep lips moist with ChapStick or Vaseline to prevent chapping.
  13. Tightness of the jaw muscles may make it difficult for you to open your mouth for up to two weeks.
  14. If you have been prescribed an antibiotic and are currently taking oral contraceptives you should use an alternate method of birth control for the remainder of this cycle.
  15. If any unusual symptoms occur or if you have any questions concerning your progress, do not hesitate to call the office during business hours—(609) 587-0049—or if an emergency arises we may be reached 24 hours a day by calling (609) 587-0049.

Cosmetic Dentistry Post-Op Instructions

Composite Fillings – Post-Treatment Instructions

  1. Composite fillings set up hard right away. There is no waiting time to eat. Children should be observed until the anesthetic wears off. Due to the strange feeling of the anesthetic, many children will chew the inside of their lips, cheeks, or tongue which can cause serious damage.
  2. Sensitivity to hot and cold is common for a few weeks following dental restoration. Usually, the deeper the cavity, the more sensitive the tooth will be. If you feel the bite is not correctly balanced, please call for an appointment for a simple adjustment.
  3. The gum tissue could have been irritated during the procedure and may be sore for a few days along with the anesthetic injection site.
  4. The finished restoration may be contoured slightly different and have a different shape than the original tooth. Your tongue usually magnifies this small difference and will become adjusted to this in a few days.

Temporary Crowns and Bridges – Post-Treatment Instructions
After your first crown or bridge appointment, refrain from eating for at least 1 hour and until the anesthesia has worn off.

Temporary: A temporary crown or bridge will be placed on the prepared teeth while the permanent restoration is being made. The temporary serves very important purposes. It protects the exposed dentin so it is not sensitive, prevents food and bacteria from collecting on the tooth preparation, and prevents the tooth from shifting or moving, which can make seating of the permanent restoration more difficult or even impossible. The temporary is placed with a cement that is designed to come off easily, so avoid chewing sticky foods such as gum or taffy or anything very crunchy. Use your toothbrush to clean the temporary as you normally do your other teeth. However, when flossing, it is best to slide the floss out below the contact rather than popping up through the contact between the temporary and the tooth next to it.

If your temporary comes off between appointments, even if there is no discomfort, slip it back on and call our office in order to have us recement it for you. It cannot be stressed too much how important this is.

A little denture adhesive or even toothpaste placed inside the crown can help to hold it in place in the interim.

Sensitivity: Sensitivity, especially to cold, is common while you are wearing the temporary. If you experience this, avoid extremely hot or cold foods and beverages. It is normal to have discomfort in the gums around the tooth after the anesthesia wears off. If your gums are tender, rinse with warm salt water by dissolving 1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. glass of warm water. An analgesic, such as whatever you would take for a headache, will help to increase your comfort.

Permanent Crown or Bridge: Typically, we will have your permanent crown or bridge around 2 weeks after the appointment which the tooth or teeth were prepared. It may take a few days to get used to the new crown or bridge, after your permanent restoration is finally cemented. If your bite feels high or unbalanced, please be sure to call our office for an appointment for a simple adjustment.

Home Care after seating your Permanent Crown or Bridge: Although crowns and bridges are often the most durable of all restorations, the underlying tooth is still vulnerable to decay, especially at the interface between the tooth and crown. It is important to resume regular brushing and flossing immediately. Daily home care and regulating your intake of sugar-containing foods will increase the longevity of your new restorations.

If you have any problems or unanswered questions, please feel free to call our office at (609) 587-0049 any time so we may be of assistance to you.

Dentures Post-Op Instructions

Instructions for Complete Denture Patients
Patients normally look forward to the day when they receive their new dentures. They are happy about the prospect that former dental problems will soon be over. Then, the day arrive then the new dentures are inserted and they are frequently shocked that a new array of dental problems are just beginning. In order to receive the maximum service and satisfaction from new dentures, the patient must understand certain relevant and pertinent facts – whether they have previously worn dentures or not. Many misconceptions and erroneous ideas exist concerning the use and care of complete dentures.

Printed instructions have an important role in modern informed consent; and it is essential that the expectations of the patient and dentist are alike. It must be emphasized that both the dentist and the patient have an important role in the outcome of the complete denture service. The following patient instructions are based on the research and experience of many prosthodontists, over many years, and are intended to provide practical methots for mastering the use and care of new dentures.

The art and science of prosthetic dentistry had advanced rapidly during recent years and new techniques and materials have greatly improved our abillity to replace missing tissues with functional and natural looking artificial appliances or prostheses. However, it must be remembered from the outset that no prosthesis or artificaial substitue, regardless of how painstaikingly fabricated, will ever function as efficiently as the original living tissues. Research has shown that the chewing efficiency of experienced denture patiens is, at best, less than twenty percent as efficient as the average chewing efficiency of patients with natural teeth.

Your mental atittude and adaptability are of utmost improtance to learning to use new dentures. Do not expect too much from them, especially at first. The dentist can only provide the denture treatment and then advise you. You must have the patience and perseverance to learn to use the dentures.

Just as learning to swim, or skate, or ski, or ride a bicycle can be traumatic experiences, so it may be learning to use new dentures. These are all physical skills that must be learned and no one is an expert in the beginning. The length of time required to learn to use dentures varies and depends on many factors such as age, general health, nuturtion, muscle tone, tissue condition, coordination, and mental attitude. Since no two patients are exactly alike, all patients cannot expect the same degree of skill or success in using dentures. However, it should be remembered that millions of other people have learned this skill and the odds are likely that you will too.

Please beware of relatives and friends who are denture wearers. Most dentures wearers consider themselves experts on the subject and are eager to give you advice based on their experience. Such advice can be inaccurate and harmful to you. Seek the advice of only one expert, your dentist, who has the training and experience to treat your specific problems.

Many denture patients would like to ignore the fact that they are, to a degree, handicapped. It is evident that a man with an artificial leg would have great difficulty becoming a professional football player. The denture patient must also learn to live with certain limitations. Since you will be wearing dentures from now on, it is no disgrace to use them in a manner that will help insure your ability to wear them in the future. Despite the limitations, your dentures will restore your appearance, speech and ability to chew – when you master their use.

The First Few Days
For the first days after receiving new dentures you should expect only to be able to keep the dentures in your mouth. Chewing should be limited to soft foods and the dentures should be worn all night the first night only. Dentists normally insist on an adjustment the next day. Movement of the dentures during function sometimes causes red spots to develop during the first 24 hours which would become painful denture ulcers, if not treated.

Some patients experiece an initial abundance of saliva which is stimulated by the presence of the new dentures. Soon the salivary glands will adjust to the presence of the dentures and resume their normal production. Until then, you should simply swallow more frequently.

Occasionally, patients experience a gagging sensation when they first begin to wear dentures. Gagging is a reaction that will gradually disappear as the dentures are worn. Do not insist that the upper denture is too long. Anatomic landmarks determine the exact length of the denture and the seal or suction will be destroyed if the denture is shortened. If this problem occurs, consult your dentist, but remember that this is a problem that you must largely overcome through perseverance.

Frequently patients have the sensation that the tongue is too confined and interferes with the stability of the lower denture. This is particularly true if the back teeth have been missing a long time or if a previous denture was not properly below the flattened, filling the space of the missing teeth. As the new denture is worn, the tongue will retain its muscle tone and become narrower and more rounded. The dentist may thin the tongue sides of the denture to help this problem.

Denture irritations or sore spots will invariably develop and will require adjustment by the dentist. These irritations are caused by movement of the denture during function. Time is available each week for such appaintments, so please call and reserve a time if problems develop. Never attempt to adjust or repair a denture yourself. If an area is particularly sore, leave the denture our as much as possible until the day of the adjustment appointment and rinse your mouth requently with warm salt rinses.

Difficulty in speaking is another hurdle which must be overome with patience and practice. Speech patterns will improve only after the tissues of the mouth become accustomed to the new dentures and control of the lower denture is learned. If you watch yourself in a mirror and say the sounds that give you trouble, this sometimes helps the speech “computer” adapt to the new dentures.

Mastication (Chewing)
The greatest problem by far is relearning to eat. Eating with complete dentures is quite different from eating with natural teeth. Natural teeth are embedded in bone and have individual sensory nerves capable of sensing pain, pressure and temerature. A denture, however, functions as a single tooth, is anchored to nothing, feels nother, and rests on soft, movable tissues covering the jaw bones.

If a denture is to remain stable during chewing, the forces of chewing must be distributed uniformly over the denture bearing surfaces. Forces applied to only one side of the denture will compress the tissue under that side, while tipping the other side away from the tissue and breaking the seal. Although some patient are proud of the fact that they can take bites out of such things as apples and corn-on-the-cob, it must be pointed out that dentures were never intended for biting things off with the front teeth. A denture is like a canoe – if you stand up in front of a canoe, it will tent to upset. The long term relust of this practice is damage to the underlying bone.

One solution to the problem of chewing with complete dentures is learning to chew simultaneously on both sides. Brittle foods such as saltine crackers may offer good practice. Place half a small cracker on one side and half on the other side. Attempt to chew slowly and thoroughly and then swallow. At first, this two-sided chewing may seem difficult because we tend to chew on one side onlay with natural teeth. Two-sided chewing can be learning and it is probably better to chew on both sides at once with complete dentures.

Get in the habit early, especially in social situations, of selecting foods which can be eaten with a knife and fork. Cut the food into very small bites which can be placed on the back teeth. Methodically chew on both sides at once until it can be swallowed. Gradually, this process will become natural and rarely will anyone be aware of your denture limitations – unless you call attention to them yourself. Some patients find that the use of commercial denture adhesives are helpful during this learning period and they often become accustomed to the confidence proveded by additional adhesion.

Certain foods are often avoided by denture patients, i.e., tough fibrous meats, tough breads and hard rolls. Tiny, hard particles that cannot be softened by saliva can be extremely painful if they get under the dentures. Examples are strawberry and raspberry seeds and particles of nuts and carrots. Sticky substances such as chewing gum and caramels can stick to the dentures and should be avoided.

Proper nutrition and fluid balance are important to both your general health and to your success in wearing dentures. Taking a daily mulitple vitamin is recommended. Avoid the usual tendency to overindulg in doft carbohydrates (sweets) that are high in calories and low in food value. A well balanced diet should contain some daily portion of the following types of food: low fat milk, cheese, bread, cereals, meats (especially fish or fowl), green and yellow vegetables, fruit and water (2 quarts per day).

Above all, wear the dentures at mealtime despite the difficulties. Do not become discouraged. Don’t fall back on the “crutch” of using old dentures or doing without. This will only prolong the adjustment period. Remember, millions have learned these skills and you can too.

Mouth and Denture Care
Dentures should remain out of the mouth for an eight hour period during each twenty four hours. This period is essential for the long-term health of the denture supporting tissues. Research had shown that certain pathologic conditions occur only if the dentures are worn continuously. The gums stay healthier and jaw bones shrink less with a daily rest period. Most patients find it convenient to rest the mouth during sleeping. Taking the dentures out at night has thus become the recommended procedure.

Dentures tend to collect even more food debris that natural teeth. Dentures must be removed from the mouth and cleaned after eating and before retiring at night. The complete denture patient should have two brushes, a denture brush for cleaning the dentures and a soft toothbrush for brushing the gums and tongue. The denture brush had a small tuft of bristles on one side which help clean inside the denture. Please do not use toothpaste on the dentures. The abrasives in regular toothpaste polish enamel without damage but can be damaging over time to the plastic denture bases and artificial teeth. Use a dentifrice made specifically for dentures, or simply soak them with liquid soap or plain water. Since the plastic denture material is breakable, it is an excellent idea to brush the dentures over a sink partially filled with water. Many dentures have been broken by dropping them into an empty sink.

Remember that tartar or calculus can form on dentures just as on natural teeth. Stain and tartar generally do not form on dentures that are thoroughly brushed daily. Remember also that “denture breath” is caused by unclean dentures in an unclean mouth.

Whenever dentures are out of the mouth they should be stored in clean water. Failure to keep dentures wet results in the material drying out and warpage can occur. Dentutres should be stored overnight in a denture cup and commercial denture cleaner may be used if desired. Such cleaners can make drntures taste and smell better but should not be considered a substitute for brushing.

Future Denture Service
As a child develops, his or her jaw bones grow for the purpose of supporting the teeth. When the teeth are removed, the body knows that bone is no longer needed, and the bone that supports the teeth immediately begins to shrink away. This shrinkage is greatest during the first year after teeth are removed but continues slowly in a chronic, progressive, and irreversible manner throughout life. The lower jaw shrinks four times faster than the upper jaw. Studies have shown that wearing dentures accelerates this process. It is generally accepted that changes in the jaw bones and soft tissues occur in six to ten years to require the construction of new dentures. However, there is wide variation among patients and sometimes the internal surface needs to be updated earlier by what is called a reline procedure.

For the reline procedure, and impression is made inside the denture between the current inside denture base and the existing ridge. Acrylic is reprocessed to refit the denture. This does not change the apperaance, teeth, or bite on the denture. While this will improve the fit of the denture, you may have to readjust to the relined denture just as if they are a new set of dentures and all thier associated problems.

Since we know the tissues of the mouth were never intended to support artificial dentures, and that dentures can damage these tissues, it is important for denture patients to be examined by the dentist at least once each year. Any unusual changes in the mouth should be reported to the dentist immediately. Patients who use tobacco and drink consist of an oral examination to evaluate the fit and bite of the denture, an oral cancer evaluation, and cleaning of the dentures.

There are some patients who never master the use of complete dentures. Perhaps they cannot learn to keep the lower denture stable enough to chew, or perhaps they cannot get accustomed to having the whole palate covered by the denture. In the past, little could be done for these patients. Today, such problems can often be managed through the use of dental implants. For example, as few as two dental implants can markedly improve the retention and stability of a lower denture. Implants are alawys a better alternative to traditional denture retention and support. However, some patients might need extensive and expensive bone grafting to receive implants thus making implant treatment complex and lengthy. Even if obtaining implant treatment is not easy, it is still a better alternative to traditional denture therapy.

General Dentistry Post-Op Instructions

Diet Restrictions for Sealants
Sealing over the pits and grooves of teeth is a very wise and preventive measure, congratulations!

The following are precautions you should be advised of to get the most benefits from the sealants.

It is very important to follow the diet restrictions listed below:

  • Do not eat sticky candy such as taffy, “Red Hots”, “Jolly Ranchers”, etc. This can pull the sealants out. (chewing sugarless gum is okay)
  • Do not bite on extremely hard foods such as hard, clear ice cubes, unpopped popcorn kernels, etc. This can break or chip part of the sealant out leaving the tooth susceptible to decay.

Parents should keep these diet restrictions in mind when allowing your child to snack. We offer a one year guarantee on all sealants. Any that are lost in less than one year (excluding abuse) will be resealed at no charge. However, with reasonable diet and care, most people get many years of service from a single sealant. All previously sealed teeth will be checked at preventive hygiene visits for any possible loss or breakage of the sealant.

Thank you for allowing us to be your preventive health care team.

Questions About Your Temporary
A temporary is a filling or crown that is placed until the permanent filling or crown is made and ready to be placed. It is normal for the gum around your tooth to be a little sore when the anesthesia wears off. This will disappear by tomorrow. Do your best to chew on the opposite side until your next appointment. Chewing sticky foods can sometimes dislodge it. It is not uncommon to have the following reactions or problems with the temporary.

  • It feels rough. Please call us if it is making the tongue sensitive.
  • It came off. This is probably the most common problem. It is supposed to come off easily and some foods will help this. Stay away from sticky foods or gum. It is important for it to be there, so call us so we can re-cement it or you can put it back in with a denture adhesive until you can get in.
  • It feels high. Come in so we can adjust it. You can bruise a tooth if it is high.
  • Its not how I want the permanent to look. Don’t worry, the permanent will look much better.
  • It is sensitive. The temporary will not always fit as well as the permanent will, so there may be some sensitivity to hot and cold as well as chewing. If it is too uncomfortable, please call.

The temporary is very important. It protects the exposed dentin so it is not sensitive, prevents food from gathering in the preparation, and prevents the prepared tooth from shifting and moving making seating of the permanent more difficult. Use your toothbrush to clean the temporary as you normally do your other teeth. You will not be able to floss around your temporary as you may dislodge it.

If you have any questions concerning your temporary, please feel free to call. Remember, it will only be for a week or two and it will all be worth it when you get your beautiful permanent restoration.

Silver Amalgam Restorations Care
We have just placed silver amalgam restorations in your teeth. This high quality material should provide you with years of service. However, you should be aware of the following information about your new restorations:

CHEWING: They do not have their maximum strength for 24 hours. Chew only soft foods on the new restorations until that time.

SENSITIVITY: Metals conduct heat and cold faster than tooth structure. Therefore, you may experience sensitivity to hot and cold foods a few days to a couple of weeks. This sensitivity should begin to gradually disappear. If it does not do so, please contact us.

RECALLS: Visit us at regular six-month recall periods. Often problems that are developing around the restorations can be found at an early stage and corrected easily, while waiting for a longer time may require redoing the entire restoration. We will contact you when it is time for your recall.

PREVENTIVE PROCEDURES: Use the following preventive procedures that are checked:

  • Brush and floss after eating and before bedtime.
  • Swish vigorously for at least 30 seconds daily with one of the following products: (1) Colgate FLUORIGARD; (2) Johnson & Johnson ACT; or (3) LISTERMINT with Fluoride. The best time is immediately before bedtime (.05% neutral sodium flouride)
  • Swish vigorously with .2% neutral sodium fluoride. (This requires a prescription from us.)
  • Use a Water Pik

THE FUTURE: Small silver amalgam restorations will serve for many years in your mouth. However, larger silver amalgam restorations may break, or the tooth structure around them may break in the future. In this event, the involved tooth or teeth would require a crown (cap) for optimum strength. The restorations we just placed in your mouth were:

  • Small with optimum longevity potential.
  • Moderate to large with good longevity potential.
  • Very large and with questionable longevity potential.

AGGRESSIVE CHEWING: Do not chew ice or other very hard objects. Avoid chewing very sticky “hard tack” candy because it can remove restorations.


  • A Feeling of movement or looseness in the restoration.
  • Sensitivity to sweet foods.
  • A peculiar taste from the restoration site.
  • Breakage of a piece of material from the restoration.

We have done our best to provide you with the finest quality oral restoration available today. However, as with a fine automobile or watch, only our continuing care and concern can assure optimum service longevity.

Implant Dentistry Post-Op Instructions

Caring for Your Dental Implants
A thorough and conscientious program of oral hygiene is the single most effective way to protect the longevity of your dental implants.

Regular oral health visits as recommended by your dentists will detect minor problems before they develop into major concerns. Professional dental cleaning and implant maintenance by a hygienist at your recommended intervals is essential.
In general, care of your dental implants is much like the care you give your natural teeth. Those patients who enjoy the greatest success with implants are those who follow a program of immaculate plaque removal. These suggestions can help:

Brushing: When using a standard toothbrush, be sure to clean in and around all implant posts. Many people find that an electric toothbrush is easiest to use.

Flossing: When implants are not attached to adjacent teeth, you may floss implants as you do your natural teeth. However, several teeth may be attached together in an implant supported “bridge or bur”. In such cases, “floss threaders” or “Superfloss” are used to run floss under these areas for easy cleaning. Special “wide” floss may be recommended depending upon your individual implant structure.

Interproximal Brushes: While they are not a replacement for dental floss, these tiny dental brushes can offer additional help in cleaning hard to reach places.

Oral Irrigators: Can help in reducing bacterial plaque accumulation around both dental implants and natural teeth. A special mouth rinse may also be recommended.

Contact our office if you experience any of the following:

  • Looseness in a dental implant
  • Dull or sharp pain when chewing
  • Swelling or redness in the gums surrounding the implant site(s)

Root Canal Treatment Post-Op Instructions

Endodontic Treatment (Root Canal) – Post-Operative Instructions

  1. Root canal treatment can take 1,2, or more appointments, depending on the conditions present in each case. During that time any of the following symptoms may be present: sensitivity to hot or cold, sensitivity to pressure, or swelling.
  2. Some tenderness can be expected after each appointment. It is best to start taking either an over-the-counter pain medicine (Advil or Motrin 200 mg., or Tylenol), or the pain medicine prescribed to you. These are most effective if taken before the office anesthetic wears off.
  3. If an antibiotic has been prescribed to you, be certain to take it as directed. Be certain to finish all the pills regardless of how well you feel.
  4. If swelling or pain is present after 2 days of your last appointment or is increasing, your medication may need to be adjusted. Contact the office immediately.
  5. If your bite feels high or if pain occurs with light biting, your bite may to be adjusted due to inflammation around the tooth. This is a short appointment. Please call the office immediately.
  6. A temporary has been placed in the tooth. This restoration is not very durable and is prone to breakage or dislodgment if not treated carefully. Avoid sticky foods (gum, taffy, caramels, etc.), and hard foods (chewing ice, nuts and hard candy).
  7. Floss your temporary restoration gently. Just clean and pull floss out to the side (do not bring the floss up), so temporary filling will not “pop off”.
  8. The tooth is often very weak during therapy. Avoid biting on hard objects until the tooth is properly restored with a filling or crown after therapy is completed.
  9. Hot food or beverage can be harmful to anesthetized tissues. Please avoid drinking hot coffee, etc., until the numbness wears off.
  10. Should you have greater than expected sensitivity, discomfort on biting, if your temporary filling becomes loose or broken, please call the office immediately.

Generic Post-Op Instructions

Oral Hygiene – Post Treatment Home Care
We want you to keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. We are happy to explain and demonstrate proper home care. However, responsibility for your oral health ultimately lies with you. Yes, it is really up to you to keep things on the right track. If you do the following every day, you will significantly increase the likelihood of a lifetime of good oral health.

Floss is used to remove plaque and whatever else decides to take refuge on your teeth, both above and below the gum line. Plaque refers to the bacteria and other things that stick to your teeth. There is direct connection between plaque, gum disease and tooth decay. Therefore, if you don’t remove the plaque, you will get gum disease and tooth decay.

Glide Floss is one of top floss products currently available. It is designed not to shred or get caught on your teeth or fillings. Take about an 18 inch length of floss and wrap it around your 2 middle fingers. Hold about a 1 inch length of this floss between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, keeping it tight. Gently place this 1 inch tight piece between the tooth contact. When you reach the gum line, hold the floss against one tooth and move it into the space between the gum and tooth below the gum line. While keeping the floss in contact with the tooth, move it up and down along the side of the tooth, from just below the contact to as far as you can comfortably get below the gum line. It is important that you get the floss in the space between the gum and tooth, as this is where gum disease begins. Repeat this procedure for the tooth on the other side of the contact. As you move from tooth to tooth, use a fresh section of floss.

If you haven’t flossed in awhile, your gums may bleed at first when you do this. If you are doing it correctly (and at least once a day), your gums will start to heal and the bleeding should stop in no more than 2 weeks.

Brushing removes plaque and food debris on the chewing, inside and outside tooth surfaces. After flossing, use a soft brush along with a fluoride containing brand-name toothpaste. For the inside and outside surfaces, hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to the teeth and gums and use a gentle back-and-forth motion. This technique will not only clean your teeth, it will also keep your gums healthy. It is important to have the brush contact the teeth and gums at the same time. On the chewing surfaces hold the brush flat and use a gentle scrubbing motion.

Brush for two minutes. That is a long time, but it will be much more effective than the 20-30 seconds that most people do. Since two minutes standing by the sink is much longer than most people think, you may benefit by using a toothbrush timer. Brush at least 2 times a day, especially in the morning and at bedtime.

When done, spit out as much as you can. Don’t swallow any of the toothpaste, and don’t rinse out with any water.

A tongue scraper is great for removing bacteria and food debris on the tongue. These substances get stuck in the deep crevices of your tongue, and if not removed, the byproducts give you bad breath. After brushing, a tongue scraper followed by a rinse is frequently the best way to control bad breath.

The tongue scraper we give you has two sides, regular and soft. Usually you will use the regular side.

Hold the scraper with two hands, between the thumbs and forefingers. Bend the scraper so that it forms a “C”. Stick out your tongue and start scraping from back to front several times. You will notice a creamy film develop on the scraper. Rinse it off. Repeat the scraping and rinsing until the film coming off your tongue is clear.

Rinse and dry the tongue scraper. It is designed to last a long time.

An antibacterial rinse is just that, a rinse that cuts down on the bacteria that causes gum disease and cavities, plus it reduces those bacteria and the bacterial byproducts that cause bad breath. After scraping your tongue, it is recommended that you use a non-alcoholic anti-bacterial rinse, such as BreathRx or Crest Pro Health Rinse. This will significantly decrease the bacteria and volatile sulfur compounds (the substances responsible for bad breath). It will improve the health of your mouth and you will be a delight to be near. Why a non-alcoholic rinse? Most mouth rinses (such as Scope) contain a high percentage of alcohol. Alcohol dries your mouth out. Just put some alcohol on your hand and observe how quickly the skin dries out. Using a mouth rinse with a high alcohol content may make your mouth smell nice for only a short period of time. Once the alcohol begins drying the tongue and gums, your breath can actually smell worse than before you used it. Therefore, an alcoholic mouth rinse is not recommended.

Use a very small amount (you need less than you think) of mouth rinse and swish for 10-15 seconds and spit it out. No rinsing with water.

Remember: You don’t have to clean all your teeth; only the ones you want to keep. Congratulations! You are on your way to excellent oral health.