Information and Instruction Following Periodontal Surgery

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SURGICAL DRESSING:  The material around your teeth is periodontal surgical dressing.  The dressing along with the sutures will be removed at your next appointment.  If a portion of the dressing breaks off after three days and you are not uncomfortable, do not be concerned.

BLOOD AND BLEEDING:  There may be bloodstain in the saliva for several hours after the surgery.  This is NOT abnormal.  If bleeding is excessive, lie down with the head elevated, place gentle pressure against the areas of bleeding with gauze or a cotton ball.

SWELLING:  A certain amount of swelling in the area of surgery, the cheek, and part of the neck is not unusual.  It should reach its maximum the second day after surgery and decrease thereafter.  Should the swelling not decrease after two (2) days or should it increase any time after the two (2) days, notify the office.

EATING ON THE DAY OF SURGERY:  No hot foods or beverages; iced beverages can be soothing.  Also, it is best to restrict your diet to liquid and soft foods.  Thereafter, a normal diet MAY be followed, but restrict chewing to the non-operated side.  This is so the operated teeth will not be stressed and the surgical dressing will not be broken loose.

ORAL HYGIENE:  On the day of surgery, the exposed teeth surfaces should be gently brushed.  On the day following surgery, you may brush everywhere except where the dressing is present.  On the operated side you may brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth only -- do not brush the dressing.  Frequent gentle rinsing of the mouth with lukewarm water will aid the cleansing of the mouth (or Peridex rinse as prescribed).  On the operated side, if no surgical dressing is present, use a Q-tip wet with Peridex or Listerine rinse to clean the teeth, the surgical site, and sutures. 

REMOVABLE HEALING DENTURES (PARTIAL OR COMPLETE DENTURES):  Consider these dentures as healing aids.  They are also space maintainers.  They are valuable coverings (in other words, band-aids).  You do not have to wear them 24/7   In fact, remove them several times a day for careful cleaning and rinsing.  During the first few days if you are more comfortable sleeping with your dentures in, then do so.  If you are more comfortable sleeping with them out, that’s fine.  It is important to wear your dentures some part of each day.  They do help control swelling and keep neighboring teeth in their proper positions (prevent tooth drifting). 

GENERAL INFORMATION:  Please, no smoking or alcohol for 24 hours.  Minimize conversation.  Stay quiet for the rest of the surgery day.  In those patients where surgery was performed behind second or third molars, the patient may experience a sore throat and/or earache up to a week after surgery.  This is due to the proximity of the surgery to these areas.

MEDICATION:  Do not mix Motrin (Ibuprofen) with aspirin.  Take medication with food unless otherwise directed.  Remember to begin your medication before surgery, if there is such an instruction on the bottle.        


  1. Brush and floss normally in the areas where no surgery was done.  In the areas where surgery was performed, you may brush the sides and chewing surfaces of the teeth in the usual manner.  For one week, brush the gum tissues gently after having softened your toothbrush by brushing the other areas first or using hot tap water.  On occasions the gum tissues may be too tender to brush and you will need to use such items as Q-tips or a wash cloth.  Floss normally between the teeth, but not apply pressure to the gum tissues.
  2. Rinse the mouth frequently with lukewarm water, especially following meals when brushing cannot be accomplished, or use special rinses if prescribed.
  3. Some discomfort can be expected the first few days but will gradually subside with healing of the tissues.
  4. You may notice that the mobility of the teeth on the operated side has increased somewhat.  Do not be concerned.  They will tighten up after a time.  Sometimes in extremely complicated cases this may take up to six months.
  5. You may also experience that the teeth on the operated side are "higher" than the others.
  6. The teeth will appear longer (some root exposure), following certain periodontal surgical procedures.  This is due to the removal of the diseased tissue plus elimination of the periodontal pockets.
  7. Other problems that will diminish with healing are:
  •  Major surface irregularities of operated tissues.  This is exaggerated by the acute sense of the tongue.
  • The sensitivity of teeth to hot and/or cold.  Sensitivity to heat may last 1-2 weeks.   Sensitivity to cold may last for up to 3-4 months in some cases.

If you have any questions or concerns during working hours please call (828) 255-8100. Should concerns arise after hours, please call Dr. Harrison at (210) 241-0532.

© 2014 Dr. Jody Harrison • Practice Limited to Periodontics • 201 East Chestnut Street • Asheville, NC 28801 • 828-255-8100