Please follow these instructions in caring for your mouth after periodontal treatment. They are necessary for your comfort and to obtain a good result. Periodontal post-surgical complications are uncommon. However, do not hesitate to contact us should any problems arise.
Pain and Discomfort
Take the pain medication that has been prescribed to you at regular intervals (usually every 4-6 hours) for the next 2 days. After 2 days, take only if necessary. Some amount of pain in variable and may range from none at all to more than average. Most people are somewhere in between. Pain usually lasts 2-5 days. If ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) was prescribed to you, take 400-600 mg every 4-6 hours. It will also help with any swelling. If you have been prescribed a narcotic analgesic (i.e. Tylenol # 3, Percocet), do not drive or work around dangerous machinery while under its influence.
Maintain a balanced, nutritious diet and drink plenty of fluids. Eat only soft, cold, bland food for the first 3 days (ie. pudding, ice cream, yogurt, eggs, milk shakes, chopped or ground meat, lukewarm soup). Eat on the opposite side of your mouth. Avoid hot, hard, spicy, crusty food or food with small seeds (i.e. strawberry, kiwi), alcohol, caffeine (cola, tea, coffee). Avoid sucking through a straw. If you have difficulty obtaining an adequate, balanced diet, food supplements such as Ensure nutrition drinks are recommended.
Your face may swell around the treated area. This is normal and may peak at 3-5 days, then gradually decrease. Swelling can be lessened by applying ice packs (ice cubes or frozen vegetables in a plastic bag) to the affected area for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off etc. It may also help to sleep with your head slightly elevated.
You may see traces of blood in your saliva or on your pillow. Oozing is normal and should naturally subside by the third day. Do not rinse your mouth vigorously or spit forcefully for the first 6 hours after surgery as disruption of the clot may occur. Avoid putting your tongue or toothbrush in the surgical area. If you are bleeding excessively from the roof of your mouth (donor site for gum graft) or following tooth removal, rest quietly and apply firm pressure with a moist gauze, tea bag or facecloth for 30 minutes. Repeat as necessary. For other surgical sites (flap, implant, bone graft, site receiving gum graft) just sit quietly and let it stop on its own. If bleeding persists, please call. To prevent bleeding, do not eat on the area or brush it for two weeks.
Soft tissue donor site (roof of mouth) or tooth removal: If you are bleeding excessively from the roof of your mouth from where a gum graft was taken, sit quietly and apply firm pressure with your thumb for 30 minutes using moist gauze, tea bag or a face cloth. For bleeding after tooth removal, bite firmly on moist gauze, tea bag or face cloth for 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Site receiving soft tissue graft, bone graft, implant or flap surgery: Any movement or pressure of the area will compromise the result. If the site bleeds, whenever possible, just sit quietly and let it stop on its own. Do not pull the lip or cheek to look at the grafted site. This can disturb/move the graft, causing it to fail.
You may experience bruising which can occasionally extend onto the neck. If you generally bruise easily, you may experience more bruising than average. Bruising should resolve after several days.
The local anesthetic may persist from 2-10 hours after the procedure. Be careful to avoid hot fluids or chewing your lip, cheek or tongue while numb. Occasionally, numbness may persist for some time and usually improves during the healing period.
Try and brush and floss areas that were not affected by the surgery, making sure to avoid the surgically treated areas. Use the prescribed mouth rinse after meals, for 45 seconds, 3 times a day until your periodontist tells you to discontinue. Usually, this will be for 1-2 weeks. The rinse may cause a dark stain on your teeth which can be removed by polishing.
A periodontal dressing/pack is sometimes placed over the surgical area. If you have a dressing, do not brush it. If small pieces break away, do not be concerned.
Avoid strenuous or vigorous physical activity (i.e., weight lifting, running, contact sports) for 1 week, unless otherwise indicated by your periodontist.
If an antibiotic was prescribed, take the medication as directed. Discontinuing the antibiotic before completion may make you more susceptible to infection. Therefore, make sure all antibiotics are taken at regular intervals and to completion. Some people experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea from antibiotics. If this occurs, discontinue the medication and contact your periodontist.
Smoking delays healing and increases the risk of post-surgical complications. If you smoke, it is in your best interest to stop smoking for as long as possible following surgery.
The sutures ("stitches") placed in your gums need to be left in place until they dissolve on their own (resorbable sutures) or are removed by your periodontist (non-resorbable sutures). Avoid playing or pulling on sutures. Usually resorbable sutures are used and will fall out before your post-op visit. If a suture becomes loose, falls out early or interferes with eating or speaking, please call. It is very important to keep your post-op appointment so that sutures can be removed and healing assessed.
Feeling Unwell/Running a Temperature
You may feel tired, unwell or run a mild temperature for 1-2 days. You may feel nauseous, vomit or have diarrhea. This may be due to post-op medications, the surgery itself, or sedatives used during the procedure. If symptoms persist beyond 1-2 days or are severe, please contact us.