After Periodontal Surgery

Patient Post-Operative Care & Instructions

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, which will help the healing and keep you comfortable.

Surgical Dressing

The areas of surgery may have been covered with a dressing or surgical pack. The dressing provides a protective covering and serves as a stent. It will withstand moderate stresses of light chewing. It will usually remain in place until your next appointment at which time it will be removed.

Should the dressing become loose or dislodged, do not become alarmed. If you are comfortable without the dressing, there is no reason for alarm. Simply begin cleaning the area gently as you would otherwise. If you do experience extreme discomfort without the dressing, call the office so we can make arrangements for its replacement.


Eat something and then start taking the pain medication as soon as you can swallow and take the prescribed dosage as directed. Do not drive or operate machinery while taking pain medication. Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking the pain medication. If other medications, such as antibiotics, are prescribed, take them as directed on the bottle.

Surgical Stent

If your treatment requires a surgical stent for palatal coverage, do not remove for three days (i.e. remove on ______). You may wear your surgical stent as needed after three days. Zilactin maybe applied as needed.


A slight amount of oozing is not uncommon for the first 12 hours. You can usually control the slight amount of bleeding by: Applying firm pressure with clean wet gauze to the edge of the pack at the area of bleeding. Applying ice bag to face and holding chips of ice in your mouth. Firmly hold a moistened tea bag firmly on the area for 20 minutes. To prevent excessive bleeding, do not spit, rinse, or use a straw for 24 hours after your surgery. 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. Apply ice packs to the face; alternating the pack on and off every ten minutes will aid in controlling the swelling and discomfort. Swelling should be greatest on the third or fourth day and should start subsiding about the fifth day. After the first 24 hours, apply moist heat to the area of swelling and use frequent warm salt-water rinses.


A slight elevation of temperature, chills, and weakness may be experienced during the first 24 hours. This should not be concern for alarm. The temperature elevation should not be over 1 or 2 degrees. If you have excessive rise in temperature, notify our office.


Some discomfort should be expected since you have had surgery. However, the medications prescribed should keep you comfortable. Take them as directed on the bottle.


Rest for the first 48 hours and avoid exertion. After 48 hours, assume normal activities as you become able.

Care of the Mouth

If prescribed, use Peridex twice daily. Otherwise, use Listerine at least twice daily. Soften your toothbrush by placing it under hot water and then gently brush teeth. Do not use Water Pik while dressing is in place.


Often some discoloration of the skin is seen following periodontal or any oral surgery. Slight bleeding into the tissue during surgery causes the discoloration and only time will eliminate it-usually within a week to ten days.


Maintaining a nutritious diet during the week of healing is most important. The patient who maintains a good diet of soft foods generally feels better, has less discomfort, and heals faster. Foods containing tomatoes, onions, pepper, or spices of any kind will be irritating and should be avoided. Fruit juices may cause burning sensation. During the first 24 hours, avoid hot food and drinks. Drink plenty of fluids.



Milk, hot chocolate, ovaltine, tea, or coffee. Fresh orange juice, stewed fruits, prunes or similar fruit should be well mashed or sieved. Cooked cereals: oatmeal’s, cream of wheat, grits with butter, cream of rice. Eggs: soft boiled, soft scrambled, poached or soft fried.

Lunch and Dinner

Home cooked broth, bouillon, and soups. Baked or broiled fish (or fried fish with crust removed). Boiled or stewed chicked (finely chopped) or fricassee. Oyster stew, chicken noodles or dumplings, eggs as above. Irish potatoes: baked, broiled, or whipped.

  • Asparagus, English peas, carrots, lima beans, string beans (all mashed).
  • Cottage cheese, cream cheese, cheese souffle, baked apples. Cold applesauce.
  • Fresh vegetable juices (may be obtained at health food stores), cooked meat and vegetable juices, ice cream and milkshakes.
  • Bread should be softened with vegetable juice or milk.
  • A blender may be used to liquefy foods.


Ensure, Boost, Nutrical, or Carnation Instant Breakfast may be used 3 or 4 times daily, either added to meals or as an in-between-meal snack. These supplements may be obtained at your drug store. Cottage cheese or yogurt is good for added nutrition.

Instead of three large meals each day, you might have a number of smaller meals and manage better. Do all that you can to continue eating.

REMEMBER: You may eat any soft foods that do not irritate. You may chew if it is not too uncomfortable to do so. You will probably lose parts of the dressing around the teeth as your ability to chew improves, but this can easily be replaced. If there are any questions, don’t hesitate to call us.

IMPORTANT: A hungry person becomes irritable and nervous. It has been scientifically proven that a patient in this state is more susceptible to pain. The importance of a good diet cannot be over stressed, especially following surgery.

Feel free to call upon us at anytime, for it is our desire to have you be as comfortable as possible during your healing period.
At North Alabama Periodontics, we are committed to providing quality healthcare to patients of all ages. We provide individualized solutions for your unique dental health needs. Contact Us
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