Home care advice


Care following oral surgery

You can expect some pain because the soft tissues have been disturbed and you may notice blood stained saliva for a few hours. Most importantly you should notice continual improvement during this healing stage.

Steps to prevent healing complications

  • No eating or drinking for four hours after surgery;

  • Avoid excessive activity and heavy lifting for 24 hours;

  • Rest in an elevated position;

  • Don’t disturb around the socket for a week;

  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol as it delays healing.

Post-operative care

  • Control moderate pain with paracetamol or ibuprofen. Make sure to read instructions and dosage on packaging before taking any medication.

  • Starting the day after your appointment, rinse your mouth gently after meals with half a teaspoon of table salt in a glass of lukewarm water;

  • Chew on the opposite side of your mouth to the wound;

  • Eat a soft diet for the first few days;

  • Maintain regular daily oral hygiene, taking care not to disturb your wound;

Some swelling or difficulty in opening your mouth is common, but it should begin to subside after a day or two.  If you notice continued bleeding, apply gentle pressure to the wound with a clean gauze pack or wet tea bag for 20 minutes.

If the pain persists or worsens, you suspect an infection or bleeding continues, contact our practice for post-operative care. For emergencies outside our opening hours please attend the emergency department of your nearest general hospital.


What to expect after a filling

  • The anaesthetic will usually last for a few hours. Take care to not chew your lip, tongue or cheek while you are still numb.

  • The gum tissue could have been irritated during your filling procedure and may be sore for a few days. 

  • Your tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold. This is completely normal and usually improves within a few days or it may even take a couple of weeks. If your tooth has had a deep filling you may even feel discomfort to pressure for the first few days, although pressure pain can also occur if your filling is too high. During this time you should notice continual improvement with the degree of sensitivity. If your sensitivity is worsening and not improving please contact us.

  • After the anaesthetic wears off, if your filling feels too high when you bite your teeth together please call us to arrange an appointment for follow up care.

What to expect after root canal treatment

  • The anaesthetic will usually last for a few hours. Take care to not chew your lip, tongue or cheek while you are still numb.

  • The gum tissue could have been irritated during your procedure and may be sore for a few days. 

  • Some patients may continue to have pain around the tooth, or the tooth may feel slightly different to the other teeth both during and after treatment.  Please call us if the pain is severe and/or lasts more than a few days.

  • After the anaesthetic wears off, if your bite feels uneven your filling may need to be adjusted. Please call us to arrange an appointment for follow up care as soon as possible.

  • The root canals are filled and the pulp chamber is sealed, however the tooth can still decay. To prevent decay and gum disease from occurring you need to maintain good daily oral hygiene.


Following root canal treatment your tooth may not be as strong and durable as your other teeth. This is especially true for back teeth and this is why a crown may be recommended. In some cases a root canal treated tooth may become darker in shade.  If you are unhappy about the appearance of your tooth talk to your dentist to discuss cosmetic options such as internal bleaching or a crown.


Brushing step by step

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount toothpaste that contains fluoride

  2. Always brush systematically so you thoroughly clean all surfaces of your teeth (example: you may like to start on the upper right back teeth and work your way clock wise around your mouth).

  3. Hold the brush at a 45° angle towards the gum line and use a gentle circular motion to brush the outside and inside surfaces of each tooth.

  4. Use back and forth strokes on the chewing surfaces.

  5. Use the tip of the brush to brush behind your front teeth, both top and bottom using a flicking motion.

  6. Brush your tongue from back to front to remove odour-producing bacteria.

  7. Finish with a spit, not a rinse.

  8. Replace your brush at the first sign of wear or every three months.


If using an electric toothbrush, you should be guiding the moving brush head slowly from tooth to tooth, holding the brush at each tooth for 3 seconds.  The spinning head needs to touch the tooth only, don’t apply pressure.


Hold the brush at a 45° angle towards the gum line and use a gentle circular motion.


Develop good oral hygiene practices early on so your child sees this as a normal part of life. Even if your child only has a few teeth, bacteria can get in and start causing decay, so you should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts.

Young children don’t have the manual dexterity to clean their teeth properly. This is why dentists usually recommend you brush and floss your child’s teeth for them until they are around 10 years old.  Since every child is different, you will need to decide when your child is ready to begin brushing without any help.  A good way to do this is to use plaque disclosing tablets or solutions.  The plaque disclosing agents turn the plaque on your child’s teeth a different colour so that it is easy to see and remove.  As long as your child is removing all the colour-stained plaque from their teeth, they are able to brush by themselves. Until you get to this point let your child brush by themselves for practice, then follow up with a proper clean afterwards.

Remember to use a soft children’s toothbrush with a grain-sized amount of children's toothpaste containing fluoride until 18 months of age. At 18 months old you can increase the toothpaste to a pea-sized amount. Flossing should begin as soon as their teeth start to contact each other.

Why is choosing the right toothbrush important?

  • Soft bristles are recommended to avoid damage to your gums, root surface and tooth enamel.

  • A small head allows easy access to all surfaces of your teeth especially the difficult to manoeuvre areas such as the sides and back of your molars.

Why do I need to remove plaque from my teeth?

Plaque is a soft and sticky substance that accumulates on your teeth. It contains millions of bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. If it is not removed regularly through brushing and flossing, it causes irritation and inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). In some people, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a condition where bacteria causes inflammation of the gums and destroys the bone structure supporting your teeth. Fortunately, gum disease is preventable and can be avoided by maintaining good oral hygiene habits.

Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes helps to remove food and plaque that can damage teeth and gums over time. Flossing daily helps to remove food and plaque from between your teeth where toothbrush bristles cannot reach. Regular flossing reduces tooth decay and significantly improves the health of your gums.

How to reduce enamel erosion

Brushing immediately after consuming acidic foods and drinks can damage the enamel layer that covers your teeth. Enamel is softened when exposed to acidic foods and drinks. It is recommended to drink or rinse with water immediately after eating or drinking, and avoid brushing for at least 30 minutes after meals.

Following these tips will further help reduce tooth erosion:

  1.    Avoid snacking throughout the day

  2.    Reduce sugar intake

  3.    Sip water throughout and after food or drink to wash it out of your mouth

  4.    Use a straw to drink acidic beverages or drink them quickly

  5.    Say no to bubbles


Flossing step by step

  1. Starting with about 45 cm of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving about 2cm of floss to work with.

  2. Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, insert the floss gently between your teeth using a back and forth motion to avoid traumatising the gums.

  3. Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go gently beneath the gumline.  Move the floss up and down to gently scrap the side surface of each tooth.

  4. To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up through the contact point of your teeth.

  5. Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.

  6. Remember to clean the back surface on your rear molars.


Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, insert the floss gently between your teeth.


A parent or carer should start flossing their child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth in contact. This will continue until the child has the manual dexterity needed to floss correctly themselves which is usually around age 10.

Why floss?

Flossing removes food and plaque between your teeth and is essential as your tooth brush cannot reach these areas. Flossing prevents you from developing tooth decay and reduces the risk of gum disease. 


How to keep your mouth healthy while wearing dentures

  • Remove your dentures before going to bed each night to give your gum tissues time to rest

  • Clean your dentures with a soft toothbrush and mild liquid soap or approved denture cleaner twice daily

  • Clean your dentures over a hand basin half filled with water or a towel to prevent breakage if dropped

  • Leave your dentures in a dry environment overnight after cleaning them

  • Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft toothbrush before you insert your dentures

  • Partial dentures should be rinsed after eating to remove food debris and other loose particles trapped between your denture and natural teeth.

  • Your mouth may become sore under your denture or your denture could become loose as your mouth changes, if this happens, please call us.

Always keep your dentures clean to ensure your gums stay healthy.


Caring for your mouthguard

  • Clean your mouthguard after every use with a soft toothbrush, soap and cold water

  • Do not use hot water for cleaning as this will change the shape of your mouthguard

  • After cleaning, let your mouthguard dry thoroughly so it doesn’t become an active breeding ground for bacteria

  • Use the mouthguard box provided for storing your mouthguard, do not store in direct sunlight

  • Bring your mouthguard to all your check-up appointments so your dentist can make sure it still fits properly

Contact us and find out how we can help you