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Patient Education

At North Idaho Family Dentistry, we want you to be prepared for whatever procedure you may need.  Here you can find post op guidelines and information for a variety of procedures.  We encourage you to call if you feel that anything in your healing process seems out of the ordinary because we believe that you know your body best.  Our experienced staff will help answer your questions or you may be asked to come see one of our dentists for a post op visit.  If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office at (208) 267-0203. 

Dental Implants

What happens before the implant procedure?

Prior to getting started, we will conduct an examination to determine if you have cavities or infections in any of your other teeth or if you have gum disease. If so, we generally recommend that these things be treated prior to placing implants. It is important that you start the process in good oral health. This initial exam and X-rays will also determine if you have sufficient bone density to support dental implants. If you do not, you may need a bone grafting procedure prior to getting started.

Is there anything that can slow down the recovery process?

Everyone heals at a different rate and there are any number of things that could change the anticipated timeline of your healing process.  Usually you should be feeling close to normal after 1-2 weeks, but the complete implant process takes around 2-3 months.  Be sure and give us a full medical history so that we can discuss any possible complications before the procedure.

How should I prepare for the surgery?

In our Bonners Ferry dental office, we encourage patients to place some soft ice packs in the freezer. Using them, along with taking ibuprofen and Tylenol, can help to reduce swelling. You should also buy soft foods to eat and plan on taking a couple of days off work. Your gums will be swollen and sore for a few days, so while you will be able to work, you will not be feeling 100 percent and may have difficulty communicating like normal. 

What can I eat afterward?

At North Idaho Family Dentistry, we recommend you eat soft foods that are not too hot or too cold. For example, you should buy yogurt, soft cheese, ice cream, soup to eat at a warm temperature, and fruit to make smoothies. This way, you can receive the nutrition you need without irritating your gums. You can slowly begin to add normal food back into your diet, but should avoid eating anything hard, sharp, or difficult to chew for several days. For example, eat a hamburger without the bacon or an omelet instead of waffles. During your recovery, you need to make these simple adjustments that allow you to eat what you need without exposing your gums to anything harmful.

Tooth Extractions

  • Do not disturb the area: In doing so you may invite irritation, infection and/or bleeding. Be sure to chew on the opposite side for 24 hours and keep anything sharp from entering the wound (i.e. eating utensils etc.).

  • Do not smoke for 24 hours: Smoking will promote bleeding and interfere with healing.

  • Brushing: Do not brush your teeth for the first 8 hours after surgery. After, you may brush your teeth gently.

  • Mouthwash: Avoid all rinsing for 24 hours after extraction. This is to insure the formation of a healing blood clot which is essential to proper wound healing. Disturbance of this clot can lead to increased bleeding or the loss of the blood clot. If the clot is lost, a painful condition called dry socket may occur. You may use warm salt water rinses after 24 hours, but do not swish vigorously.

  • Do not spit or suck through a straw: This will promote bleeding and may dislodge the blood clot causing a dry socket.

  • Bleeding: When you leave the office, you will be given verbal instructions regarding the control of postoperative bleeding. A rolled up gauze pad will be placed on the extraction site and you will be asked to change this dressing every 20 minutes or so depending on the amount of bleeding that is occurring. It is normal for some blood to ooze from the area of surgery. We will also give you a package of gauze to take with you to use at home if the bleeding should continue. Should you need to use the gauze at home, remember to roll it into a ball large enough to cover the wound. Hold firmly in place, by biting or with finger pressure, for about 20-30 minutes.

  • Pain: Some discomfort is normal after surgery. Analgesic tablets (i.e. Aspirin, Tylenol etc.) may be taken under your dentist's direction. Prescription medication, which may have been given to you, should also be taken as directed. If pain continues, call your dentist.

  • Swelling: To prevent swelling, apply an ice pack or a cold towel to the outside of your face in the area of the extraction during the first 12 hours. Apply alternately, 20 minutes on then 20 minutes off, for an hour or longer if necessary.

  • Diet: Eat normal regular meals as soon as you are able after surgery. Cold, soft food such as ice cream or yogurt may be the most comfortable for the first day. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids.

Dental Crowns/Bridges/Veneers

Before you receive your permanent crown/bridge you will first receive a temporary restoration. This is not as sturdy as the permanent version, so you should be careful when cleaning and eating. You should brush the area gently and should not pull up on the tooth when flossing because it could become dislodged. The same goes for eating. You should avoid sticky or chewy foods while you have the temporary in.

There may be some sensitivity and irritation after the temporary or permanent is placed. This is normal and will subside after the soft tissue heals. A warm salt water rinse will help, and you can also take Advil or Tylenol if the pain does not go away.

When the permanent crown or bridge is placed it may feel a little awkward for a few days. Your mouth needs to adjust to the new tooth, and it should feel like one of your natural tooth in less than a week. If your bite feels abnormal in any way, you should let your dentist know. Caring for your bridge or crown is just like caring for your own teeth. You should brush and floss regularly.


After you receive your dentures, you will likely need to return for several adjustments as your mouth gets used to the new dentures.

Dentures should not be considered a replacement for teeth, instead, they should be considered as a replacement for no teeth. It is common to have trouble adjusting to dentures and  the following are common issues that may be faced:

• Difficulties with speaking and/or eating

• Food under dentures

• Functional problems

• Loose dentures (particularly with lower dentures)

• Lack of retention (more common with upper dentures, but can be an issue with lower dentures as well)

• Need for adhesives

• Feeling of fullness

• Changes in saliva production

• The need for future relines and remakes of either immediate or conventional dentures.

We typically recommend implant retained dentures to help alleviate some of these problems.  Please give us a call so we can go over the best options for you.

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