We use our mouths nearly every minute of every day to eat, talk and breathe. The lining of the oral cavity is also extremely sensitive to temperature and pressure especially for this reason. As a result, even a simple oral ulcer can be really painful and difficult to deal with.
Periodontal or gum surgery can be extremely painful for the patient due to the extreme sensitivity of the oral mucus membrane and the pain and discomfort may be very difficult to deal with. That was then…Now; dentists use the most innovative medications and procedures to ensure that operative pain is minimized as much as possible.
However, you have to ensure that you follow post-operative instructions to ensure maximum recovery. The most common instructions provided are as follows –
Recover From Gum Surgery
Post-operative swellings are common but they usually subside in 12 – 24 hours. You have to apply ice packs at 20-minute intervals (20 minutes on and 20 minutes off) for the first two hours after surgery.
This reduces the size of the swelling and encourages healing. Please do not apply ice packs 48 hours after the surgery as it will delay healing.
Use only the medications that are provided or prescribed. Ideally, take the medications within 20 minutes or one hour of the surgery to ensure pain relief. You may also be provided with numbing oral rinses, gels and lotions. Apply these topical products with a clean finger or Q-tip to prevent infections. You must take the medications whether you experience pain or not.
You SHOULD NOT spit, gargle, or rinse, violently after gum surgery. Violent gargling may dislodge the stitches and the blood clot inside the mouth causing increased bleeding, delayed healing and more pain. Dentists also recommend you avoid alcohol, cigarettes and aerated drinks during this time to prevent wound infection.
Try to restrict talking as well. Talking stretches oral muscles and gum tissue and it may pull on the surgery site slowing down wound healing. We recommend you keep talking to a minimum for two to three days after surgery. We also recommend you avoid all strenuous exercise in the first two days after surgery.
The rule for eating is simple. You can eat cold, soft, small morsels of food that are free of spices. For example, yoghurt, soft rice, mashed potato, eggs, etc are fine. DO NOT eat or drink anything hot or spicy immediately after surgery, as it will hurt.
You can brush your teeth the day of the surgery but avoid the surgical area. If possible, use a soft toothbrush or a clean piece of cloth to clean teeth on the other side.
Warm salt-water rinses are ideal to reduce swellings and to clean the surgical area of accumulated food. You can also use Betadine rinses but we recommend you check with your dentist.
Most patients recover completely in about a week and the dentist will remove the stitches in a week. Please note that the surgical site will continue to heal for up to two weeks after stitch removal.