What You Should Know
Is this going to be a terrible experience?
The answer is no. It is natural to think about what can go
wrong. These procedures are very safe and side effects are minimal.
Drs. Wunderlich & Chang have completed well over 4,000 of these procedures and are very
confident in the techniques. Most patients anticipate severe discomfort
after surgery, which is generally not true. We will give you the
medications necessary to reduce swelling, pain, prevent infection, and
help keep things clean. Our patients routinely comment that the procedure was not
nearly as bad as they imagined. Remember, the benefits of keeping
your own teeth are extensive and although they need some work now, the
end result will be well worth it!
MAKE SURE WE KNOW THE FOLLOWING!
- Your normal medications and that you will be taking
them unless otherwise instructed by Drs. Wunderlich & Chang
- If you are taking aspirin daily
- If you are on blood thinners
- If you are diabetic or have special diet
- If you have a prosthetic joint less then 2 years
- If you have an artificial heart valve or history or
- If you have been on bisphosphonates for
osteoporosis, longer than 5 years
Expect to have some sensitivity of the teeth after surgery.
The procedure will remove all plaque and tartar (calculus) from the root
surfaces, which may increase your sensitivity to extremes of hot, cold,
and/or sweets. Our recommendation is to avoid very hot or very cold
foods/beverages for a couple of weeks after surgery. In most cases, the
sensitivity will subside and return to normal after a few months.
Sensitive toothpaste can help during these phases. Our office can also
prescribe various medications that can help with long-term sensitivity.
Clenching or Grinding of Teeth
After surgery, the teeth may feel a little loose due to minor
swelling. This may trigger a clenching or grinding episode, usually at
night making the teeth feel sore. The process usually is self-limiting;
symptoms should get better in a few weeks and go away after a few
months. If your symptoms get worse or are not getting better let Drs. Wunderlich & Chang know. If you cannot control the clenching/grinding habit then a
bite appliance to be worn at night may be prescribed.
Our experience shows that there is a low risk of infection
associated with periodontal surgery. If bone grafts are part of your
treatment plan then antibiotics will be prescribed as a preventive
measure. Routine periodontal surgery does not require antibiotic
coverage. If you notice an elevation in temperature, drainage or
significant swelling, please call the office. Remember, swelling after
the procedure is normal and usually peaks about 4 days after surgery.
This usually resolves in a week or so.
Gum Tissue Appearance
If surgery is planned for your front teeth to correct damage
due to your gum disease, shrinkage in the gum tissue may occur when the
swelling goes down. This may leave dark spaces between the teeth and
the teeth may look somewhat longer. Rest assured, Drs. Wunderlich & Chang will do their best to minimize these changes, and protect your smile. In some cases,
if surgery is planned for the front upper teeth, and you have crowns,
the margins of the crowns may be exposed after surgery. This is usually
not a problem if you don’t show too much teeth during smiling. If you
display a lot of gum tissue during smiling, the crowns may need to be
remade to have an esthetic result.
Besides all the long-term health effects that smoking can have
on your body, it can dramatically impact on the stability of your
teeth. Study after study has shown that patients who smoke can end up
with significantly less teeth than non-smokers. Post operative
sensitivity is also higher in smokers and healing is slower. Do what
you can to kick the habit. We can start you on a smoking cessation
There is a very, very low risk of permanent numbness to the gum
tissues or skin surface after periodontal surgery. In most cases, this
is a temporary phenomenon and has a very low incidence. We will do
everything possible to limit the possibility of this happening.
It is important that you return for the following post-surgery
Removal of Sutures and Initial Healing Evaluation
This visit is usually two weeks following surgery unless
indicated otherwise by Drs. Wunderlich & Chang. The visit is usually 15 - 20 minutes
long. In many cases the sutures dissolve on their own. Loose sutures
may be trimmed at home if they are bothering you.
Evaluation of Result & First Periodontal Prophylaxis
This visit takes place 3 months weeks following surgery. Drs. Wunderlich & Chang will re-chart the treated area, and confirm that you are stable.
Since personal oral hygiene is compromised while the sutures are in
place, a professional cleaning will aid in the healing process by
keeping bacteria from getting back under the gums. This is usually a
one-hour visit and may be in addition to your normal cleaning schedule.
Then it is up to you!
Periodontal Maintenance “Cleanings”
Because periodontal disease is a chronic condition our goal is
to control the disease; we can’t cure it. Your body has demonstrated
that it needs help in keeping destructive bacteria from getting back
into your gums. Once you are stable, professional dental cleaning and
examination at regular intervals is critical.
Some patients have questioned why they need to return to our
office. Since we have extensive experience treating patients with
severe forms of periodontal disease and in detecting early changes, you
will have better long-term stability if you remain under our care for
periodic professional cleanings.
Depending upon the severity of your case, Drs. Wunderlich & Chang may
recommend that you have your teeth cleaned every 3 - 4 months. These
cleanings will alternate with Your Family Dentist. Together we can
protect your gums and teeth. The following is an example of an
alternating cleaning schedule:
- January - Cleaning with Dentist
- April - Cleaning with Periodontist
- July - Cleaning with Dentist
- October - Cleaning with Periodontist
Working Together with your Dentist
It is very important that your Family dentist see you for
cleaning visits on an alternating basis. Both of our offices will
provide a professional tooth cleaning at these visits, however, in our
office the focus is definitely the gum tissues and health of the bone.
The focus of the cleaning and check-up at your general dentist will be
to ensure that crowns, bridges, and fillings are healthy. If a
restoration is not healthy, your general dentist may recommend
replacement of the restoration or placement of a dental implant.
Adequate home care after any periodontal treatment is crucial
if you want the results to last! Removing the plaque at home will help
in preventing destructive bacteria and calculus from reforming between
cleaning visits. We will continue to help you with home care and
provide tips and techniques for getting the best results; please ask for
help if you need it!
Remember, your long-term periodontal health
is directly dependant upon how well you care for your teeth at home and
maintain your cleaning visits with Drs. Wunderlich & Chang and your dentist!