The influence of postoperative telephone calls on pain perception: a study of 118 periodontal surgical procedures

J Orofac Pain. Summer 1998;12(3):219-25.


This age-matched and sex-matched study examined the influence of postoperative telephone calls on pain perception and on the number of analgesics used for pain relief. Adult periodontitis subjects (n = 118) received periodontal surgery after examination and sanative therapy (scaling, root planing, and removal of local irritants). All subjects received similar care, postoperative instructions, and medication, except 59 subjects were phoned 24 hours postoperative (PC group), and 59 were not (NC group). Callers covered 10 points and were reassuring and positive about surgical outcomes. One week postoperative, subjects completed a questionnaire that rated pain intensity on a visual analogue scale and indicated the number of pills used and whether they had been called. Pain and analgesics used were significantly decreased in the PC group (P < 0.001) compared to the NC group. A significant positive correlation was found between pain and pills used in the groups combined (r = 0.79, P < 0.001 PC + NC), and in the groups separately (r = 0.50, P < 0.001 PC; r = 0.41, P < 0.01 NC). Postoperative communication between healthcare providers and patients significantly reduces pain perception and number of analgesics used for relief.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold / psychology
  • Pain, Postoperative / psychology*
  • Periodontitis / surgery*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telephone*