If you have severe gum recession, you may need gum graft surgery to correct the problem and restore your oral health. Gum graft surgery restores your natural gum line by delicately suturing new tissue into place to cover root surfaces of your teeth that have been exposed. The sutures help keep the new tissue in place while it integrates with your existing tissue. The new tissue can come from your own body or from a tissue donor. When a large section of gums have receded, donor tissue is usually the best option. And although it does not involve a separate incision site for harvesting tissue, using donor tissue does still involve a recovery period. Here’s what you need to know.
Gum graft donor tissue care and recovery
Gum graft surgery is common, but if you’re unfamiliar with it, it may seem intimidating. Sometimes, knowing what to expect post-surgery helps make the recovery process a little bit easier. Below, we’ve provided a brief general outline of recovery after gum graft surgery. Your periodontist will provide you with a more specific set of instructions at the time of your surgery.
Healing timeline and postoperative instructions
It’s usually best to relax for the rest of the day after your gum graft procedure, and maybe the following day as well. Use an ice pack wrapped in cloth or a cold compress against the cheek to control swelling for the first 24 hours. Most people are able to return to work within a couple of days, though it’s important to refrain from physical exertion of any kind for at least 48 hours post-procedure. The grafting site will be tender for a few days, and sensitive to hot and cold for a week or two. Over-the-counter pain medications should provide sufficient relief.
Typically, it takes around two weeks to heal from gum graft surgery, and during that time, it’s important to follow all post-operative instructions given to you by your periodontist in order to avoid complications. Post-operative instructions may include the following:
- Eat soft foods, including soft fruits, eggs, yogurt, very softened vegetables and lukewarm soups
- Avoid hot foods, hard foods, crunchy foods, sticky foods
- Avoid drinking with a straw
- Refrain from drinking alcohol until completely healed
- Stay away from tobacco products
- Do not brush or floss around the gum graft area until it has completely healed
- Use the special antimicrobial mouthwash provided for you
- Take antibiotics or pain medications as prescribed
- Attend follow-up appointments with your periodontist
Healthy gums make radiant smiles. After you’ve healed and your smile has been restored, it’s important to make sure that you practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly in order to ensure that your gums and teeth remain healthy.
Gum graft surgery at San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry
One of the keys to a successful gum graft procedure is choosing the right periodontist to perform it. At San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, you’re in the hands of Dr. Kennie Kwok, one of San Diego’s top periodontists. Dr. Kwok is highly skilled and has extensive experience in periodontal procedures of all kinds, including gum graft surgery. For more information about Dr. Kwok, his practice, or any of the services he provides, call San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at (619) 543-0905 today.