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Gum Diseases

Gum graft complications/pain

03/30/2009

Question:

I had gum graft surgery 14 days ago. Areas behind my teeth on my palate were taken to graft over teeth on my upper and lower left side. All the areas have healed fine with very little pain except the upper left. I`ve been on 2 rounds of antibiotics and still have chills and low-grade fever. I`ve noticed some white discharge around my gums when I floss and they are red and swollen. The problem area seemed to start at the donor tissue site which became infected/ulcerated but now redness & swelling is spreading to the surrounding gums and in-between my teeth. The pain is awful. I`ve had this awful pain since about 2 days after surgery and 4 ibuprofen or 2 XS Tylenol taken with 2 Ibuprofen aren`t enough. I ran out of my 12 Lortabs around day 12. I saw the periodontist today and he thought it looked good and didn`t give any indication there was a problem, but I`m wondering why the pain is so severe and radiating up through my cheek area.

Answer:

Severe pain at the donor site, especially after 14 days, is generally caused by exposed bone. Sometimes it is hard to notice because it is still healing but even very small areas with exposed bone (no periosteum on bone) will cause pain. In addition, if the graft was taken too close to your teeth, you may experience pain/sensitivity due to exposed roots but this does not cause much pain.

If you have a small area of exposed bone, soft tissue will granulate it and cover the area. You should go back to your periodontist if there is no improvement within couple of days.

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Response by:

Binnaz   Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD Binnaz Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor of Periodontology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University