Here's What to Do if Your Mouth Is Sore After Dental Work

Are you experiencing a mouth sore after dental work? Maybe it’s even just a general feeling of soreness in your mouth. That’s pretty normal. After all the poking and prodding, your mouth definitely won’t feel the same. So, it’s understandable to want to find relief and speed up your recovery. Whether it’s a routine procedure or a root canal treatment, you can get rid of the soreness in no time.

Discover practical tips to reduce discomfort and help your mouth heal quickly after dental work.

11 Tips for Mouth Sores and General Soreness After Dental Work

Many people experience canker sores or general soreness in their mouths after a dental procedure. Canker sores are different from cold sores, aren’t contagious, and typically disappear within one or two weeks. They occur due to the stress of dental work on your mouth and typically appear on soft tissue like the insides of your lips or gums.

Here are some tips to help with mouth sores and general discomfort after dental work.

1. Follow Your Dentist's Post-operative Instructions Carefully 

After dental work, your dentist will provide you with specific post-operative instructions. Follow these instructions diligently because they relate to your specific procedure and promote faster healing while reducing soreness.

Most times, these instructions may include guidelines on using your medication. It can also include oral hygiene practices, things you shouldn’t eat or drink, and rest periods. By adhering to these instructions, you can quicken the healing process.

2. Manage Discomfort With Over-the-counter Pain Relievers 

To reduce soreness, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Follow the recommended dosage and guidelines provided by your dentist.

Ibuprofen can help relieve pain from mouth sores, and acetaminophen can help with minor aches. If one medication doesn’t ease the pain, you can consider taking acetaminophen and ibuprofen together for stronger relief.

3. Apply Cold Compresses

Applying a cold compress can reduce swelling and numb the affected area. Take a clean ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth and gently place it outside your mouth near the treated area.

Keep it in place for 15-20 minutes at a time. The cold temperature helps constrict blood vessels, reducing inflammation and temporarily relieving soreness.

4. Rinse With Saltwater 

Saltwater rinses are an effective way to soothe soreness and promote healing. Mix half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water and stir until the salt dissolves.

Gently swish this saltwater solution in your mouth for 30-60 seconds. You should ensure it reaches the treated area. Saltwater helps create a healing environment. It reduces bacteria in the mouth and can temporarily relieve discomfort.

Repeat this rinse multiple times a day, especially after meals.

5. Stick to a Soft Food Diet 

One of the best ways to promote healing and minimize soreness is by sticking to a soft food diet. Avoid hard, crunchy, or spicy foods that may irritate the treated area.

Instead, opt for easily chewable options such as:

  • Mashed potatoes

  • Yogurt

  • Soup 

  • Smoothies

  • Scrambled eggs

These foods are gentle on your mouth, reducing discomfort. They also provide the essential nutrients you need for recovery.

6. Avoid Irritants 

Certain substances can hinder the healing process and prolong discomfort. It's best to steer clear of the following:

  • Tobacco

  • Alcohol 

  • Hot beverages

  • Acidic or carbonated drinks

These substances can irritate the treated area, delay healing, and increase sensitivity.

Opt for room-temperature or lukewarm beverages. Good examples are water or herbal tea. Remember, the goal is to stay hydrated without aggravating the soreness.

7. Stay Hydrated

Drinking adequate water is essential for maintaining overall oral health and promoting a comfortable healing environment. It helps prevent dryness in the mouth, which can worsen soreness.

Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water daily and avoid excessive caffeine or sugary beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration.

8. Try Pain-Relieving Gels or Mouthwash

Oral pain-relieving gels or mouthwash specially designed for dental discomfort can effectively relieve soreness. These products often contain ingredients like benzocaine or lidocaine, which provide temporary numbing or pain-relieving effects.

Use topical oral gels or ointments containing benzocaine for temporary relief from soreness. Follow the instructions provided with the product, and if you have any concerns or questions, consult your dentist.

9. Clean Around the Affected Sites

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for a smooth recovery. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or interdental brush to clean around the affected site gently. Be cautious not to apply excessive pressure or irritate the area.

Avoid vigorous rinsing or spitting, as this can disturb the healing process. If your dentist advises, use a mouth rinse specifically recommended for post-treatment care to keep the area clean and promote healing.

Proper cleaning helps remove debris and bacteria, promoting a clean environment for healing. If you experience discomfort while brushing, consult your dentist for alternative cleaning techniques.

10. Stay Consistent With Post-operative Care

One critical tip for reducing soreness and promoting healing is to stay consistent with your dentist's post-operative instructions. Adhere to recommended oral hygiene practices.

Pay extra attention to the treated area while being mindful to avoid causing further irritation. Additionally, strictly follow any dietary restrictions advised by your dentist. This will help you avoid aggravating the soreness and promote quick healing. 

Finally, allow sufficient rest periods to give your body the time it needs to recover.

11. Seek Professional Guidance

If the soreness persists, speak with your dentist. Persistent or severe discomfort may indicate an underlying issue that requires attention.

Your dentist can evaluate the situation and provide further insights into your case. They will also recommend a solution to help reduce the soreness.

By seeking prompt, professional guidance, you can address any potential concerns. It will also ensure a smoother recovery process.

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*Actual costs and savings vary by provider, service, and geographical area.

**As of April 2020

The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance, and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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