What to Expect After Your Surgery


Optimal healing following periodontal surgery is dependent on proper post-operative care.  It is very important to follow the post-operative instructions given to facilitate optimal healing after periodontal surgery.

Most surgeries involve repositioning of the gum tissues and re-contouring the bone around the teeth.  In regenerative procedures bone materials and barrier membranes may be used to “rebuild” tissues lost to disease. In soft tissue grafting procedures, sutures are used to hold tissue in position.  After all surgeries, the most important factor which promotes healing is stabilization of the surgical site.  Thus, the surgical site must remain undisturbed for at least 10 days. Sutures are placed to facilitate position and stabilization of tissues. Do not pull at the site or any of the sutures until you return for your postoperative visit.

After your surgery, we ask that you maintain a healthy diet, however there are certain restrictions:

  • Avoid anything hard, crunchy, sharp, spicy or salty (chips, nuts, raw vegetables, seeded items, etc.)
  • You may eat nutritious foods in order to heal properly, just be careful not to chew or bite anything in the treated area.
  • See that your diet has soft, high protein foods; such as eggs, baked fish, ground beef, applesauce etc.
  • Avoid extremely hot food and drink for the first 24-48 hours as extreme heat may cause bleeding.

Consider purchasing appropriate foods prior to surgery that you are prepared for the immediate post- surgical period.

Possible complications could include but are not limited to:

  • Injury to the nerves
  • Pain
  • Bleeding and/or bruising which may be prolonged and could last approximately 2-5 days
  • Dry socket (extractions)
  • Involvement of the sinus above the upper teeth
  • Infection including the loss of regenerative materials or tissues if used, which could necessitate revision surgery
  • Injury to adjacent teeth or fillings
  • Unusual reaction to medications given or prescribed

If you have travel plans or an event scheduled, please know that swelling and bruising can occur so it is best to schedule when you have a few weeks to heal. Swelling usually develops during the first 12-24 hours following surgery, often peaking on the 3rd post-operative day. It should begin to subside by the 4th day after your surgery. Swelling can be minimized by placing an ice pack on the affected side at 30 minute intervals during the first 48 hours after surgery. Should you experience any complications, it is important not to travel outside driving distance for 2 weeks after surgery.

Limit activity during the first 48 hours after surgery. Excessive exertion such as elevated blood pressure, exercise and/or heavy lifting may lead to postoperative bleeding and discomfort and can cause disruption of the surgical site.

Your periodontist may prescribe antibiotics and pain medication after your surgery. The antibiotics should be taken as directed and the pain medication can be taken as needed.

Post op instructions will be reviewed and given to you the day of surgery. If at any time you have questions regarding what you can expect after surgery, please call our office at 828-665-4405.