Home Care Instructions


  • It is important for a blood clot to form in the extraction site in order for the healing process to start. If the blood clot does not form properly, healing may be impaired.
  • A dry socket may develop as a consequence. This is not common and represents an infection of the blood clot. The clot dissolves exposing the underlying bone. This may cause severe pain. If this occurs, Dr. Heffez will address this for you by applying special medications to the site.
  • To help the clot form, do NOT spit or suck through a straw for 24 hours. For the week following the extraction, avoid any crunching foods, such as chips, or foods than contain small seeds.
  • Avoid eating on the side of the recent extraction for the first 24 hours
  • There will be a pink hue to your saliva in the first 24 hours as the clot shrinks. Do not be alarmed. This is normal. GENTLY bite on on your first gauze for 2 hours after the extraction to aid in blood clot formation. Call the dental office if there is persistent bleeding from the extraction site or your pain is not controlled by the medications prescribed or recommended.
  • You may feel swollen after extraction. To control swelling apply ice pack for 20 minutes on and off to help reduce the swelling. A frozen bag of peas works or wet washcloth nicely and aren’t messy. Apply ice for 2 days. Then, whatever swelling persists will be gotten rid of with applications of warm, moist heat 20 minutes on and off.
  • Eat soft foods for the next two weeks. Soft foods, such as pastas, smoothies, and eggs, will provide proper nutrition but avoid any harm to the extraction site. Avoid eating on the side of the extraction if possible.
  • Stitches may or may not be placed at the time of the extraction. Avoid playing with stitches with the tongue. Make a follow up appointment with Dr. Heffez for suture removal in 1-2 weeks.
  • Avoid smoking as it delays healing time and disrupts proper blot clot formation. Smokers are at greater risk for dry socket.
  • Avoid alcohol for 48 hours after the extraction.
  • You may feel nauseated. This is most often due to taking any medication on an empty stomach. Remember to eat something and drink a lot of water prior to taking any medication, including anti-inflammatories or antibiotics.
  • If antibiotics are prescribed, take the entire dose. Stopping the dose when there is no more pain increases the patient’s chance of antibiotic resistance.
  • After 24 hours, gently rinse with warm salt water rinse (one teaspoon of salt and at least 8 ounces of warm water). This will provide a clean environment for the site to heal.
  • Avoid brushing the extracted area for the next 48 hours.
  • Avoid eating until the local anesthetic wears off, can be 2-3 hours after operation. You should be conscientiously not biting their cheeks. It is very easy to bite or chew on a cheek when numb and this will result in a painful lesion when anesthetic wears off. Cheek biting lesions heal on their own but can be easily avoided. Sometimes residual numbness can occur for a month or longer.
  • Keep your activity to a minimum for 48 hours after the extraction.
  • If there was a sinus exposure, Dr. Heffez will alert you. This occurs when the root of your upper teeth extend close to your sinus. Your doctor will advise you to avoid blowing through your nose, blowing up balloons or playing a wind instrument. A decongestant and nasal spray as well as antibiotics may be prescribed. Take them as indicated or instructed by your doctor. A follow up appointment in one week should be made with your doctor.

Complete & Partial Dentures

  • It is easy to drop dentures, especially when cleaning them. When cleaning your prosthesis, fill the sink with water and brush or rinse over the sink. This way, if the denture slips out of your hands, it will be protected as it lands in the water.
  • Brush your denture with a soft bristled toothbrush or a brush made purposely to clean dentures. Clean with water, soap, or denture paste, as regular toothbrush is too abrasive and can scratch the acrylic.
  • Follow the directions of the manufacturer if desire to use denture cleaning tablets.
  • Rinse the denture with warm water after eating to remove food residue. Do not rinse with hot water as it can distort your denture.
  • Do not use bleach to change the tooth color as it will distort the entire color of the denture. You should be satisfied with tooth color selection prior to fabrication of the denture.
  • Maintain your daily oral hygiene. Remove your partial denture and brush and floss remaining teeth. It is important to brush and keep your gums clean, especially the areas under the complete or partial denture. Infection, irritation, and discomfort can arise from not keeping those areas clean. Brush the gums and tongue with water or salt water solution (teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of water) and use mouth rinse to remove bacteria.
  • Do not sleep with your denture. Failure to remove dentures at night will cause infection, irritation, and discomfort.
  • When not wearing the denture, keep denture either in warm water or denture solution to avoid the acrylic from drying out.
  • Sore spots can arise and look like small red dots where the denture is apply too much pressure. Make an appointment with Dr. Heffez in order to make the proper adjustments on the denture.
  • Do not make any repairs to the denture at home as it can change the shape and cause harm to the remaining teeth or tissues in the mouth. Any adjustments, small or large, should be made at the dental office to avoid any negative outcomes.
  • The underlying bone can change, especially within the first year of healing from any type of surgery. As a result, the current denture may become ill-fitted and a reline or a complete new denture may be needed.


  • Avoid eating until the local anesthetic wears off, usually 2-3 hours after procedure. You should conscientiously not bite your cheeks. It is very easy to bite or chew on a cheek when numb and this will result in a painful lesion when anesthetic wears off. Cheek biting lesions heal on their own but can be easily avoided.
  • When the anesthetic wears off, there is a possibility the filling may feel “high” and cause discomfort. Make an appointment with Dr. Heffez in order to make the proper adjustments.
  • Brush and floss daily to remove bacteria to avoid cavities being formed under the filling.

Crown & Bridge Prosthetics

  • Temporary crown or bridge will be cemented onto the teeth prepared by Dr. Heffez while the permanent crown is being made. If the temporary breaks or falls off, schedule an appointment with your doctor to get a new one made and cemented on. It is important to have a temporary in order to avoid any slight movements or sensitivity of the teeth.
  • Avoid any hard crunchy foods or anything sticky as they may break the temporary or cause it to fall off.
  • Be very careful when flossing around your temporary. When removing the floss between the teeth, slide the floss out from underneath, do not pull the floss up, in order to prevent the temporary from coming off.
  • Follow previous home care instructions for a temporary for the first 24 hours of receiving the permanent crown. It takes 24 hours for the permanent cement to fully set in.

Teeth Whitening

  • If any tooth sensitivity, fluoride home care gel or any high fluoride containing products can help remineralize your teeth. If the sensitivity persists if more than 12 hours or is severe, contact the dental office.
  • Avoid smoking and eating tooth staining foods and drinks, for example: red wine, coffee, tea, and dark green vegetables for 2 days after whitening procedure.
  • Brush your teeth with toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.
  • Follow up appointments are important in order for Dr. Heffez to check on your gums and teeth whitening progress.

Night Guard

  • Don’t wear the night guard while eating. Wear night guard when sleeping or daytime napping.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach in order to avoid excessive muscle strain
  • Bring your night guard to any future dental appointments.
  • If your night guard is too uncomfortable, too tight or loose, teeth are changing shape, or your bite is changing, stop using the appliance and contact Dr. Heffez for adjustments.
  • Brush appliance with toothpaste and cold water after usage. Do not clean with hot water as it would distort it. If crust deposits start to form on the night guard, soak appliance in vinegar for 30 minutes then brush with toothpaste and cold water.

Implant Crown

  • It is important to maintain good oral hygiene around implant supported prosthesis. Bacteria get trapped under implant crowns just as easily as crown on a natural tooth.
  • Brush and floss regularly and use techniques similar to brush natural teeth.
  • Interdental brushes are good for in between the teeth to clean in areas that the standard toothbrush cannot reach. Interdental brushes are narrow and smaller brushes that are designed to brush in between your teeth. These brushes can be found at any drugstore.