Gum graft is a minor surgical procedure. Recovery is relatively easy, and you’re not required to take any time off from work. You will have minor discomfort and bleeding that should pass in the first 24 hours, but full recovery takes a few weeks. The most important restrictions during recovery will be on your diet and oral hygiene.
This page is intended for general information only for people who are considering gum graft surgery. Gum graft patients should refer to the detailed postoperative instructions they were given or call our office if you have further questions or concerns.
Most people report that the discomfort from gum graft is less than they expected. The discomfort from the donor site (if you had connective tissue graft or free gingival graft) is similar to a pizza burn. With this type of graft, there is little discomfort at the recipient site. In pedicle graft, where the donor and recipient sites are adjacent to each other, discomfort is similar to that at the donor site.
You can take over-the-counter medications for discomfort. You will be given instructions about how many to take and when. Studies show that for gum graft, people take an average of about 9 over-the-counter pills during recovery.
Depending on the type of gum graft, we may apply a dressing to the donor area, the recipient area, or both. This dressing will have to stay in place until your periodontist removes it at a follow-up appointment. This includes the clear plastic stent that may be used to cover the donor site on the roof of your mouth.
Bleeding may occur intermittently during the first 24 hours. If you notice bleeding, and you don’t have a stent covering the area, press dampened gauze or a tea bag up against the source of bleeding for a full 20 minutes to half an hour (pulling away the pressure to check if bleeding has stopped can make bleeding worse).
Swelling is to be expected at both sites. The biggest concern is swelling at the recipient site. To help control this, you are encouraged to ice the site regularly. In most cases, swelling will be minor and shouldn’t be too noticeable when you have your mouth closed.
You should eat a soft diet for up to two weeks after gum graft. Typically, the graft is in the front of your mouth and biting into hard foods will disturb the graft site. Eating cool foods can also help soothe discomfort and promote healing.
Spicy and highly seasoned foods are not recommended as these can irritate the site. Alcohol should not be consumed until cleared by your periodontist.
At first, you will not even rinse your mouth after a gum graft. We will have cleaned your mouth thoroughly so you should be okay for a little while. After your first postoperative visit, you will begin rinsing your mouth and can resume brushing and flossing other areas of your mouth.
During postoperative visits, we will help you clean the surgical areas to help avoid infection and decay.
There are several follow-up visits after a gum graft. Four is typical, but the number and timing of visits varies with the type of procedure and the progress of your healing.
These visits will occur on the day after your procedure, the week after your procedure, a few weeks after your procedure, and about a month and a half after your procedure.
If you want to talk to a Beverly Hills periodontist about the gum graft procedure, please contact Dr. Nicolas Ravon today for an appointment.