Periodontal Surgery


The following information has been prepared to help answer the many questions you may have regarding the surgical procedure which has just been performed.

  1. DISCOMFORT: It is not unusual to have a certain amount of discomfort for a day or two following your surgery. In many instances, two Tylenol or Advil tablets taken every 4 hours, but not more than 10 tablets daily, will be sufficient to relieve discomfort. It is best not to take aspirin, as it can interfere with blood clotting. If necessary, you will be given a prescription for a more potent medication to allow for a mild postsurgical recovery period. Take as directed on the label. If significant discomfort persists, please contact Dr. Orr.
  2. SWELLING: Minor swelling may follow your surgical procedure. This swelling usually peaks at 48 hours post-operatively. To prevent or minimize swelling, it is advisable to place an ice pack over the area for the next two hours after the appointment. Crushed ice in a zip-lock plastic bag works well. Place on the cheek near the surgical site for 20 minutes, then off for 15 minutes, then on again, and so on. Call this office if swelling around your jaws increases greatly.
  3. BLEEDING: A small amount of bleeding is all that is necessary to discolor the saliva and give the appearance of excessive bleeding. DO NOT BE ALARMED as this is not unusual. If excessive or continuous bleeding does occur: a) discontinue all rinsing, b) sit up in an erect (do not lie down) position, and c) apply a moistened tea bag to the immediate area for 20 minutes. (Repeat if necessary.) If continued bleeding is of concern to you, do not hesitate to call this office.
  4. DRESSING: A periodontal dressing (“packing”) may have been placed on the surgical site and is used to protect the area and help reduce discomfort. Do not be concerned if a small piece falls off. If large portions of the dressing fall off within three days of the surgery, and you are uncomfortable, then please call the office.
  5. DIET: Do not eat hard or firm foods on the side receiving surgical care. If possible, chew on the other side. If both sides received surgical care, then you should eat a soft diet. Avoid very hot foods and very hot liquids for the first day following surgery. Although a liquid or semisolid diet may be used at first, keep in mind that adequate nutrition and fluid intake is essential for proper healing. Avoid popcorn, poppyseeds, or other seeds that can get stuck and cause infection. Needless to say, smoking is highly detrimental to proper healing and can jeopardize the likelihood for long term success.
  6. RINSING/ ORAL HYGIENE: You may have been given a prescription for Peridex or PerioGard – an antimicrobial mouthwash. If prescribed, rinse twice a day as directed. If you have not been given a prescription, then rinsing is not an important part of the treatment, however, it may give you a sense of better oral hygiene. You are now aware of the significance of plaque and the importance of plaque control in the success of your periodontal therapy. You should use your toothbrush and floss on the nonsurgical sites as you usually do. Very gentle brushing is possible on the surgical site, but usually only on the biting surfaces of the teeth. A moistened cotton swab also works well to gently clean the teeth of the surgical site. It is acceptable, however, during this first week to completely avoid the surgical area. Do not use a Water Pik for at least 8 weeks.

©RBO 2000