Periodontal Surgery Post-Operative Instructions

After Surgery

  • Remember you just had an operation. Minimize physical activity for the next several days.
  • For the first 48 hours, keep the surgical area surrounded by as much cold temperature as possible. This is accomplished by: Placing an icepack on the outside of the face adjacent to the surgical area for 20 minutes at a time, alternating with 10 minutes without the icepack. Bags frozen peas work well.
  • Bleeding: It is not unusual to have some minor bleeding during the first 24 hours. The blood mixes with saliva and there may therefore appear to be more blood than it really is. If bleeding persists or increases in severity, apply firm pressure directly to the site of the bleeding with moist gauze or a wet tea bag. Pressure should be applied continually for 20 minutes. It also helps to lie down with your head raised on a pillow. If bleeding still persists, contact the office.
  • Swelling: Swelling should be expected. It is usually most pronounced on the second or third day after surgery and begins to recede on the fourth day. Keeping the surgical area cold in the beginning helps reduce the swelling. Once it is swollen, warm moist compresses can be applied to the outside of the face after the initial 48 hours to reduce the swelling. Bruising may appear with the swelling but will gradually disappear within 7 to 10 days.
  • Restrict diet to soft cold foods such as Jell-O, egg salad, tuna salad. Select foods that are high in proteins and vitamins as these will help the healing process. Fish, eggs, and dairy products are recommended, provided you are normally allowed to eat these foods. Drink plenty of fluids but do not use a straw.
  • Brushing: Avoid brushing or flossing the surgical site. You should however brush and floss your other teeth normally.
  • 24 hours after the surgery rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water). DO NOT DO NOT RINSE WITH PEROXIDE, until ok’d by the doctor. RISK of rinsing with Peroxide MAY CAUSE FAILURE OF ANY GRAFTING PROCEDURE.
  • Please do not smoke for at least five days after the surgery.

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  • Pain: There will be some discomfort but this is normal. Take the pain medication as directed as soon as you get home. If prescription pain medication is needed, these can ONLY be prescribed during normal office hours, NOT after hours or on the weekend.
  • If you have been prescribed a medication containing a narcotic (Percocet, Vicodin, Tylenol-3), do not drive as this medication will cause drowsiness.
  • Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic, or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it.

Additional Information

  • The affected teeth may appear to be looser until complete healing and final therapy has been achieved.
  • The roots of the teeth that are uncovered following surgery may be temporarily sensitive to cold or hot or tooth brushing and to some foods. If this is a problem, fluoride gel can be prescribed to decrease sensitivity.


  • When the office is closed, the answering service will prompt you on how to get a hold of the surgeon on call. This should be used on an emergency basis ONLY. Leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.