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Gum Diseases

Post Gum Graft Recovery

08/10/2010

Question:

I had subepitheal gum graft 10 days ago on upper front teeth (4). Pain was minimal, swelling dissipated after 5 days and palate healed well due to stent that I wore first 5 days. Eating has been more of a challenge-I have been on primarily soft foods this entire time.

Issue: I have a very uncomfortable feeling of "something being stuck" in upper gum under lip yet know I cannot rub my tongue over area or even look under lip per doctor`s instructions. (It feels abnormally dry and tight) When I smile, I see an awful looking mass of white/grey in the graft area, and my front teet have stained significantly since graft was done.

I asked for expedited one week follow up visit with my dentist which he somewhat begrudingly allowed. He confirmed it was too early to determine success of graft, and that my graft area was covered with plaque, etc. but he did not want to disturb healing process by cleaning the area. The awkward feeling and "bad taste" continue, and he provided nothing to do but wait until next follow up appointment. (I am brushing bottom teeth and using Peridex 2x day)

I am very self-conscious about the current appearance of graft site and teeth as well as healing process (I don`t want to go through this again!)and wonder if there is anything else I can do to safely expedite healing process, remove plaque build up and improve overall appearance of teeth for important social engagement next weekend.

I was initially told I would be "out of pocket" for 3-4 days and back to "normal" at two weeks. It is very clear now that I was not given realistic picture of actual recovery period which is very upsetting to me. When can I realistically eat, smile, talk (and look)normal again?

Thank you.

Answer:

The staining is due to Peridex and can be removed with professional cleaning. It sounds like the superficial layer of the soft tissue graft is necrotizing which is normal depending on how thick the graft tissue was to start with.

The tightness is due sutures and swelling; it should get better by removing sutures. Your dentist can do this within 10 days after surgery if everything stable.

In any case, you should be seeing your periodontist more often since some of the graft is not taken and the wound needs to be professionally cleaned periodically.

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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