Numbness: Numbness usually lasts approximately 2 hours. Please do not chew anything or drink hot or cold liquids until the numbness is gone.
Discomfort: You can expect slight discomfort following your treatment. To make yourself more comfortable while you are healing, do the following:
- Pain medication guidelines: Pain following periodontal surgery is usually well controlled with non-narcotic medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). If ibuprofen has been prescribed for pain, continue taking this medication for several days; even if you are in little discomfort, ibuprofen will reduce swelling. Narcotic medications (such as Vicodin or Codeine) may be additionally beneficial for pain control. You may elect to take the prescribed narcotic (with, not in place of your ibuprofen) for pain that is moderate to severe. Please note that some narcotic pain medications contain acetaminophen (Tylenol), so do not exceed 3000 mg in a 24-hour period. Narcotic medications may cause drowsiness and/or nausea. To minimize stomach upset, take your medication with at least 1⁄2 glass of water and after a meal.
- Antibiotic medication guidelines: If you were prescribed antibiotics, please take the full prescription. It is best to take these medications with food to prevent stomach upset. Antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills, so additional methods of contraception should be employed. Note that Doxycycline should not be taken if you are breastfeeding or pregnant, and it may cause an increased tendency to sunburn.
- Beginning 48 hours after the procedure, gently rinse 1 to 2 times daily with warm salt water for 30 seconds (1 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of warm water). If you prefer to use Listerine, you may dilute it with warm water and rinse. This is beneficial for both healing and cleanliness.
- If instructed, you should apply an ice pack on your cheek near the surgical site—for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Do this multiple times during the 24 hours after the procedure.
Activity: The day of your surgery, we recommend that you limit your activities and return home to rest. This is especially true if you have taken sedative medications. You generally can resume normal activities 1–2 days following periodontal surgery.
Brushing: Brush thoroughly and gently, avoiding the surgical area for a few days. If a mouthwash is prescribed, it will clean the surgical area; for 2 weeks after surgery, use only the prescribed mouthwash. When brushing, use a soft brush warmed in water, and temporarily avoid electric brushes, rubber tips, water picks, or other dental aids in the surgical area.
Bleeding: For several hours following surgery, a small amount of blood may appear in your saliva. If bleeding persists, try to localize the area where the bleeding is coming from. Apply firm but gentle pressure directly to the site of bleeding, with a gauze or moistened tea bag for 10 minutes. If severe bleeding continues and you cannot stop it, please call the office or go to your local emergency room. Your gums may bleed for a few days when you brush or floss. Do not be alarmed, as this is normal.
Surgical Dressing: Surgical dressing may have been placed over your gums. In areas of gum grafts, try to keep the dressing in place for as long as possible. Do not worry if the dressing falls off other areas before your next appointment, as this will not adversely affect your healing. Continue to avoid the area with the toothbrush. If you are concerned, feel free to call the office.
Nutrition: A good diet is important for healing. A semi-soft, high-protein diet is recommended. Avoid hot, hard, and crunchy foods, since these may injure healing tissues. Food suggestions include scrambled eggs, yogurt, bananas, instant breakfast drinks, applesauce, cottage cheese, oatmeal, fish, soup, etc. Avoid extreme hot or cold on your teeth, as they will be sensitive. Sensitivity is normal and may last from a few days to several weeks. You should expect gradual improvement. We recommend the use of anti-sensitivity toothpastes such as Sensodyne, or fluoride gels such as Prevident or Gel-Kam. Smoking after surgery will impair healing.
Post-Surgical Problems: Please call the office if you experience any of the following: fever, swelling that increases after 3 days, discomfort not controlled by the prescribed medications, adverse reaction to any medications, or any uncertainty about your progress in healing.
Call us: If you have any further questions or concerns, please call the office at (510) 843‑6341.