Instructions Following Periodontal Surgery

The following suggestions and reminders will be beneficial to your postoperative progress and will aid considerably in promoting comfortable healing. Please read the instructions carefully and follow the recommendations.

Surgical Dressing

Some areas of surgery may have been covered with a dressing or surgical pack; it will harden within the next hour. The dressing provides a protective covering and serves to withstand moderate stresses of light chewing and tooth-brushing. Small particles of the dressing may break off over time, which is of no consequence, unless it causes discomfort. If the dressing becomes loose, or should come off prior to your next appointment, do not be alarmed. It will already have served it’s purpose, and should not need replacement.


Take all prescribed medications as directed unless you feel there is an adverse effect. After the first 24 hours, take medication for pain control only if needed.

Strong analgesics and sedatives may cause drowsiness or slowed reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work near dangerous machinery while taking such medication.

Care of the Mouth

  1. Use warm salt water (1tsp salt dissolved in large glass of water) and rinse every few hours beginning the day following surgery.
  2. Commercial mouthwashes are of little medicinal value; however, when diluted with an equal amount of water, they may be used as a breath freshener.
  3. Continue routine oral hygiene in areas not affected by the surgery. Your toothbrush softened by hot water will cause no harm to healing tissue when used gently.


A slight amount of bleeding is not uncommon for the first few hours following surgery. If there is bleeding beyond this period, this can usually be controlled by:

  1. Applying firm pressure with clean, wet gauze to the edge of the pack at the area of bleeding.
  2. Holding a strong solution of cold tea in your mouth until it reaches body temperature- repeat several times.
  3. Applying ice bag to face or holding ice chips in your mouth. Rinsing will not stop bleeding. Keep your head elevated with at least two pillows the night of surgery.


Some swelling is to be expected following periodontal surgery. The amount varies with every patient and with the extent of the surgery. Applying an ice bag to the face for periods of 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first two hours following surgery will help to minimize the occurrence. Swelling should be greatest at the second or third day and should start subsiding about the third day.


A feeling of weakness, chills and slight fever may be experienced during the first 24 hours. This is no cause for alarm. Rest is encouraged during this period. The effects of sedation may last for 24 hours, therefore, no strenuous activity should be performed during this time. Resume normal activities the following day.


Eat adequately to maintain nutrition and energy level. Choose soft foods which require minimal chewing. Drink lots of liquids. Avoid hard, hot or spicy foods.

If possible, chew food on the untreated side of the mouth and avoid using straws for liquid intake. Some examples of soft foods include: broths, soups, pasta, well-ground meats, eggs, yogurt, pudding, ice cream, shakes and smoothies, apple sauce and well-cooked vegetables. Food supplement drinks are available at drug stores and should be used if eating is uncomfortable.

If any concerns arise, please do not hesitate to call the office at Savannah Office Phone Number 912-352-2021.