How to Heal After Gum Surgery


Gum surgery, though necessary if your dentist has diagnosed advanced periodontal disease, can leave a painful aftermath. Yet you can make the healing process more comfortable and perhaps shorter by following the orders of your dentist. You can also avoid complications leading to infections that could complicate subsequent treatment, or possibly even lead to the removal of your teeth. If further infections due to irresponsible postoperative management spread throughout your body, death can result.

Things You'll Need

  • Antiseptic mouthwash
  • Toothpaste
  • Rubber tip
  • Nylon-coated toothbrush

Avoid rinsing or brushing during the first 24 hours after the surgery, as the Perio Post-Operative Instructions webpage, from the office of Dr. Bruno Paliani, points out. This is to give your mouth the rest time it needs after the operation has taken place.

Take all medications as your dentist has ordered, especially the antibiotics. According to Dr. Paliani's website, you must do this until the pills are gone.

Abstain from smoking, at least for the first three days. Dr. Paliani's handout says that 72 hours is the minimum, but also points out that your dentist may want you to stop for longer.

Resume brushing and rinsing. According to the instruction sheet, "Moisten a soft toothbrush under hot water and brush the surgical site first." After cleaning the spot where the surgery took place, brush the rest of your teeth as normal.

Use a rubber tip to reach around the gumline of each tooth under the postoperative packing. As the webpage points out, "Clean gently. Take care not to apply too much pressure."

Use the nylon-coated brush to reach spots too close together for the regular brush to reach. The website calls this "proxy brushing." Apply hot water to soften the bristles on the brush.

Rinse using a special mouthwash your dentist has prescribed. As the website states, use this mouth rinse three times daily, half a minute per time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consume only liquids for the first three days to avoid contamination of the surgery site, according to the Office of Dr. Azeem Sheikh, authors of the Web publication "Patient Care Instructions."
  • Avoid heat of any kind. Use an ice pack, at least for the first 24 to 48 hours, as Dr. Sheikh's webpage advises. The authors of the website say that you should wrap ice in a cloth, applying it to your face in 20 minute intervals, in an on-and-off fashion.
  • Also, avoid chewing at all during the first two hours, when the site of the surgery feels numb, according to Dr. Sheikh's webpage. This is to avoid injury to the lips, tongue, or cheek.
  • Consult your dentist at the first sign of complication.

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