Mouth Care After Pocket Reduction Surgery: Avoiding Unnecessary Trips To The Gum Doctor

Posted on: 18 December 2014

Pocket reduction surgery or periodontal flap surgery is often necessary because the individual has receding gums that show signs of gum disease. A periodontist who specializes in treatment of the gums typically performs the surgery. Taking proper care of your gums and mouth post-surgery can help you to avoid needing more procedures in the future.  

Why Pocket Reduction Surgery Is Necessary?

The gums anchor your teeth in your mouth. Unhealthy gums often recede and then the roots of your teeth can be exposed by the deep pockets that result from this problem. The pockets trap bacteria from your mouth and the foods you eat.  Receding gums can also make the teeth more prone to cavities and tooth loss. The first symptoms of receding gums are generally tooth sensitivity or one or more of the teeth looking longer than others in your mouth.

Things To Avoid After Pocket Reduction Surgery

Many patients are tempted to pull back their lips or tongue to inspect the gums. They do this to show off their stitches or simply to inspect how well the mouth is healing. This action may loosen the sutures; it can also cause the gums to move, thus decreasing the positive benefits of the surgery. This danger passes after about a week.

Sucking motions can also wreak havoc in your mouth after the flap surgery. Don't smoke or drink your beverages from a straw. Also, avoid soft foods that tempt you to suck the food from your teeth.

Good Practices To Aid Healing And Reduce Discomfort

Use the pain medications that the periodontist recommends and an ice pack on your face to help control the swelling and discomfort you may feel after the surgery. Another important step is to use the antimicrobial mouthwash that the periodontist recommends; this helps decrease bacteria. All these measures provide comfort and aid in the healing process.

Common Occurrences That Shouldn't Cause Panic

Sensitivity is common after the pocket reduction surgery. This is because the periodontist cleans the roots and other areas of the teeth extremely well before permanently reattaching the gum flap.  

Some patients may see a small piece of bone sticking up through the gum area. This is called a sequestrum. The problem generally resolves itself because the gum grows back over the area or the piece works itself out as your mouth heals.

Reasons To Contact the Periodontist Before Your Checkup

Call the periodontist if you have unusual problems or signs of infection before you return for a checkup. Excessive swelling, pain or bleeding all warrant a call to the periodontist.

Generally, the dentist asks you to return one week after the surgery. Discuss any concerns about sensitivity or other minor problems at that time. He or she will be able to advise you on ways to cope with any issues until healing is complete.