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Geoffrey R. Bauman, DMD, MS | After your Gum Surgery in Newark

Geoffrey R. Bauman, DMD, MS / Board Certified,  American Board of Periodontology
Fellow, Midwest Implant Institute



After your Gum Surgery

If you feel drowsy, dizzy, or at all faint do not drive.       

Loss of the surgical dressing:  If a dressing was placed, be careful not to disturb it.  However, if it falls off by itself do not be concerned.         

Home care:  Do not perform any brushing or flossing until the second day after the surgery.  On the second day, you may begin brushing and flossing all the areas of the mouth not involved with the surgery.  You will be given a mouthwash (Peridex) to use in the surgical area in the morning and evening after you have brushed and flossed the non-surgical areas.  However, do not vigorously rinse with this or any other liquid.  Just allow it to pool over the surgical site for about 1-2 minutes and then spit out.

Pain:  Some discomfort should be expected post-surgically; however, the dentist will have given you prescriptions for medications to control pain.  Take the medication as directed.  Even a doubling of the recommended dose can cause severe problems.  Take your first dose of ibuprofen or Tylenol before the numbness wears off.  If the Ibuprofen is not adequate, then start taking the narcotic in addition to the ibuprofen (don’t stop taking the ibuprofen).  Do not take Tylenol in addition to the narcotic as there is already Tylenol in the narcotic pill If a narcotic (Percocet, Synalgos, Vicodin, Tylenol #3) was prescribed and you find that you do not need to use it, the FDA recommends returning the remaining pills to a local takepback site (Google for site locations) or to dispose of them in the toilet (narcotics are considered "dangerous drugs" and so should be removed from your premises expeditiously).  If you cannot locate a take-back site or avail yourself of one expeditiously, it is perfectly acceptable to flush the remaining pills.   Do not save this medication for pain at a later date.  Narcotics can be detected by blood or urine test and you may be prosecuted for taking the drug without a current prescription.  Most pain medications have the potential to cause nausea and vomiting.  This effect is decreased by taking the medications with 8 oz of fluid. With narcotics, it helps to remain still (even walking around can be a problem) to prevent nausea.  If nausea ensues with narcotics, you must stop taking them. It will only get worse otherwise.           

Bleeding:  Bleeding is generally well controlled by the time you have been released after the surgery.  A slight amount of oozing may be expected sporadically during the early healing period.  It is recommended that you sleep on old bed linens as oozing during the night may result in linen stains.  If bleeding is suspected, do not create suction to clear the mouth as this will increase the bleeding.  Rinse gently with water and identify, if you can, where the bleeding is coming from.  If no dressing is present over the bleeding site, you may dampen a gauze or tea bag and apply it with gentle pressure over the bleeding area for 6 minutes.  Do not remove it intermittently and look to see if the bleeding is stopped.  Watch the clock.  When 6 minutes is up, the bleeding should be stopped.  If not, you may need to call your dentist.           

Diet:  Your diet should include the equivalent of 8 glasses of water per day (anything except for alcohol or soft drinks during the first 4 days).  1000 mg per day of vitamin C may be helpful for healing.  For the 1st day, just liquids up to a milk shake/pudding consistency.  2nd day soups with soft vegetables, rice, short noodles, etc;  on the 3rd day, you may start some softer foods such as baked potatoes, ground beef, etc., in very small bites and always chew on the opposite side from the surgical areas.  If you  are not careful you might knock the dressings loose and cause severe pain and bleeding. Continue that softer diet through the first two weeks.  The surgical areas of your mouth should not be used for chewing for 4 weeks after the surgery.           

Tooth sensitivity to cold or touch:  This is not unusual after gum surgery.  Most of the sensitivity will subside within 4 weeks after the surgery, but may take several months to completely disappear.  If you have prolonged trouble with tooth sensitivity, you may purchase a desensitizing toothpaste to help resolve the problem.  Some brand names include Crest for sensitive teeth, Denquel, and Sensodyne.  If you purchase Sensodyne, buy the kind in the green tube.  Sensodyne pink (strontium chloride) is not very effective.  Desensitizing toothpastes take up to 3 months to work using twice daily, so have patience.  Fruits such as apples and citrus fruits prolong sensitivity as does a high frequency of sugar in the diet.  You must eat some fruit daily to maintain good health, but be careful about the frequency while trying to control tooth sensitivity.  Keep the teeth very clean since plaque also prolongs the sensitivity.           

Activities: Do not engage in heavy physical activity or excessive speaking for 3 days after the surgery. Any type of activity that requires pursing or excessive movement of the lips during the first week after surgery may disturb the surgical site and result in failure.  Smoking is detrimental to proper healing and can adversely affect the outcome.           

Smoking/alcohol: Smoking causes blood vessel constriction and alcohol causes dehydration which are both harmful to healing and it is best that you not smoke or drink for as long as possible after the procedure, especially during the first week