How to Prevent Postoperative Infection After Periodontal Surgery

The risk of infection following a periodontal procedure is an important concern. Some signs of infection include:

  • Increased fatigue instead of feeling better day after day
  • Fever
  • Redness or swelling at the incision site
  • Increased pain at the incision site

Fortunately, there is a lot patients can do to minimize their risk for developing an infection. Following a procedure you will receive instructions for the next few days to help with your recovery. By following these steps you should be able to avoid an infection.

Have an ice pack on standby at home to help with the swelling. You can use a Ziploc bag of crushed ice or store bought ice pack; try holding it on the swollen area for ten minutes and then keep it off your face for ten minutes. Apply ice for the few first days and then you can switch to a moist heat to help with swelling.

In the first 24 hours you’ll need to avoid crunchy and hot foods. Hot foods can cause blood vessels to dilate which can cause swelling and bleeding. Avoid any spice, really sweet or really hot foods, acidic foods, seeds, nuts, husks, and popcorn, basically anything that can get into the wound site.

Brushing teeth, rinsing, spitting, swishing, and sucking should be avoided since these movements can increase bleeding. If bleeding occurs, gauze can be used to soak it up and allow new clots to form.

The best way to prevent postoperative infection is to keep your mouth clean. You’ll want to start lightly brushing your teeth after each meal when your recovery instructions indicate it is safe to do so. When brushing, do not spit, let water and toothpaste fall out of your mouth to prevent additional bleeding.

Sometimes antibiotics are prescribed to help prevent infection, so if you are taking them follow the prescription directions and take all the antibiotics as directed.

If you experience any signs of infection, call your periodontist immediately.