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Periodontal Laser Treatment Post-Operative Instructions

Laser therapy is not a standalone treatment but works in conjunction with traditional therapies. In periodontal laser therapy, your hygienist uses a laser to access and remove the inflamed gum tissue from around your tooth’s root. They then remove the tartar and plaque build up below and around your gum line. Next, they use a different tool to smooth out any rough spots on your tooth above and below the gumline. Removing these rough spots mitigates the chance your teeth and gums will attract more bacteria and get future infections.

After laser therapy, your mouth will need time to heal and regenerate. During this healing process, your gums should be infection-free and be able to tighten back up around your tooth, like a turtleneck that fits nicely around your neck!

Laser procedures usually result in little discomfort but for the first 24 hours after the surgery you may find it helpful to take Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) according to the label. Do not be alarmed if you notice light bleeding, mild swelling, some soreness, or mild tooth sensitivity.

An antimicrobial rinse like Listerine can be used several times a day to reduce the amount of bacteria in the treated area.

For the first 24 hour period following surgery, you may want to stick to a liquid or soft food diet. Stay away from spicy foods and things like chips, popcorn, and pretzels to avoid irritating the surgical site. Do not use straws to avoid suction for the next couple of days. Carefully avoid chewing food in the area where the laser was used to avoid interfering with the healing process.

A good rule to follow is that if it hurts the surgical site, don’t do it.

Smoking is a bad idea in general but particularly bad during healing. Refrain from smoking for at least 48 hours after the procedure but preferably for the rest of your life.

Do not be alarmed with any color changes or the appearance of the tissue following the use of the laser. You may notice that the tissue becomes grey, yellow, red, blue, or purple. These are normal responses.

It is okay to spit, rinse, and wash your mouth. Between rinsing with Listerine, you can rinse with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. glass of warm water).

After the first 24 hours of healing is complete, brush and floss the adjacent teeth normally and gently clean the area where the laser was used using a Q-tip dipped in Listerine.

Do not play with the area using your tongue or cheek. Call us if you experience prolonged severe pain, prolonged or excessive bleeding, or a considerably elevated or persistent temperature.

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