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November 18, 2008


This morning I found out I would be needing gingival graft(s) and I have been sick all day worrying about it. I am pretty tough when it comes to pain.....unless my mouth is involved. Thank you so much for sharing your story! All the other experiences I have read about tonight have been very very negative and fear inducing. Thanks again! Hope you are continuing to do well

Thanks for this entry, I enjoyed reading it. Your experience is better than what i've read on others, It will help to encourage other people not to worry about when it comes to gum graft.Thanks again and good luck.


I also read the posting "The Procedure from Hell" and it almost made me vomit. The trend that I'm seeing from all of these various posts is as follows: gum grafts are not a big deal if you need it for one tooth, but a huge painful mess if you need it for multiple teeth. I guess I'll go ahead and do it, as I only need it for one tooth. The exorbitant price still makes me pause, though.

Just had a gum graft 2 days ago, and prior to the surgery, I asked my dentists assistant about the alloderm grafts, as the idea of cutting up my palate was not something I was looking forward to. The assistant answered my question of `does the tissue come from dead bodies?` with a laugh, and told me no, it is cultivated in a lab. Well now that I am home and have done research, I am disgusted by the idea of cadaver tissue in my mouth.

Having procedure done on 5 possibly 6 teeth. My father had his whole mouth done & said it wasn't that bad. I find that if I have enough anxiety about a dental or medical procedure, I tend to deny pain (meaning I feel nothing at all). So I say, "welcome anxiety".
& already filled hydrocodone/apap just in case ;).

I had a gum graft on both sides of the bottom one day ago. I am doing okay. Wish I wouldn't have worried about it so much. I am okay. I get tired pretty easily.

I enjoyed your blog...i'm looking for some more "don't worry" blogs! Great!

I'm getting my first of two grafts in one week. The first will be done with Alloderm and the second with my own tissue from the top of my mouth. However, I was told the procedure is not as invasive as it once was?
Thanks for the blog--it has definately put me more at ease!

hello friend excellent post about Gum graft goes fine (relax, if you need one) thanks for sharing !! nice site

hey there, thanks so much for this post. i had a consult yesterday and was told that i need to go in for 4 separate grafts. i pictured the dentist cutting out a huge chunk of the roof of my mouth and growing it in a jar for the remaining procedures. i've had 4 other dental surgeries in my life and, from what i've read here, the grafting seems like it'll be the least severe.

hey buddy great post about Gum graft goes fine (relax, if you need one) thanks for sharing!!

I had a gum graft yesterday. I didnt feel a thing then, and i dont feel anything now. Reading this 'procedure from hell' story got me quite worried in advance, but now I'm glad to say the author has much to blame himself actually - allthough I admire his sense of drama and story telling. I think he needs another operation.. one that will turn him into a man !

You can feel whether the anaesthetics are working or not. The part where they'll take the tissue from should feel numb.. if not, just tell your bloody periodontist so that he can apply some more anaesthetics!

I got a chunk of a kind chewing-gum in my mouth now to keep the transplant in place. This will be removed, together with the stitches, precisely 6 days after the surgery. During these 6 days I have to eat liquids / jellys / puddings, that is really the only inconvenience for me. The periodontist gave me pain killers for a week, but I just took one pain killer right after the operation and I won't be needing any more than that..

Gum graft, no big deal!

Hi there. So I've been scouring the Internet in hopes of finding out whether gum grafts are really that big of a deal and am so glad to have found your testimonial! I'm having two teeth done in a couple of days and feel pretty nervous about it! I'm going to be taking Halcion during the procedure which also makes me nervous since I've never taken it before and I also read on another site about the pain being worse than childbirth! At any rate, reading your story (and some of the other comments) made me feel better. Thanks! :)

i`m getting them done in 7 hours and honestly other than your ``chop out`` part this did help. unfortunately i`m also getting 2 wisdom teeth removed, a frenectomy and the cherry on the top of a bad situation...a filling. All in the same sitting.

Hi again, just an update to my previous post since I had some surprises that I wish I would have known were coming. I had the two gum grafts a little over a month ago. By the third day I had lots of bruising all around my eye (under and in the inner/upper corner) as well as a lot of swelling in my lower jaw. I had one upper tooth and one lower tooth grafted. I was pretty religious about keeping an ice pack on the affected area and also taking Ibuprofen every 4-6 hours but it didn't help the bruising or swelling it seemed. It's now a month later and while the bruising is gone, I still have a slight protrusion on my lower jaw which I'm concerned about. The periodontist says it is most likely unrelated to the procedure, but I'm going in again to have her take a look in a few days just to be sure everything's fine. Another drawback I experienced is numbness on the roof of my mouth where they took the graft tissue from. At a month later, I still have lack of sensation at the incision site, all along the line where the tissue was taken. These were all surprises to me. My main concern is the jaw going back to normal and looking JUST like my other one again. It's not severe, but I notice it and before the gum grafts, my two jaws looked the same I'm pretty sure. As for the grafts themselves, they are healing nicely and look normal except for really thick (the perio says that will be normal in 3 mos) and aside from a little flappy gum area that is part of the excess that she put in (she'll probably laser it off at the 3 month follow-up), everything is good. Hope this helps someone who is about to get gum grafts! Also, FYI I had the newer, more modern type of graft where they stitch up the roof of your mouth after removing some underlying tissue for the graft rather than the older way of just removing a piece of the roof of your mouth and leaving it open (some people said it felt like a bad pizza burn). Finally -- the procedure itself was a breeze. I didn't feel a thing mostly and when I did feel a little something they gave me more novocaine. The Halcion was pretty good as well -- it just makes you "ok" with whatever they are doing and does have some amnesic effect (I just remember pressure and the perio coaching me saying I was doing awesome, etc). The "bad" stuff with the swelling/bruising began the next day, peaked on day 3 and slowly dwindled down over the next 2 weeks.

Hey everyone, I just had my gum graft done (6.27.10) actually while on vacation in Amman, Jordan...the surgery was not that bad, the worst part was the stitching part of the operation, where I think the Novacaine was fading....the surgery took about ninty minutes and the worst side effect is the lack to eat anything you want and the constant bleeding in my mouth....though the Gum Graft surgery was not that difficult
P.S. keep your eyes closed during the whole thing, the Peridontist asst was crying the entire time.

I'm a 20 year old female and I cannot stand the sight of blood and have never had a surgery (besides wisdom teeth). So the idea of a gum graft is absolutely terrifying to me. Of course I went online and read the horror stories (Procedure From Hell) which happen to be the first search results. I was literally crying. So I have my surgery in 3 days and am still scared to death, but thank you for giving me a bit of optimism :)

I'm a 39 year old woman who needs a total of 6 teeth grafted. I opted for 3 surgeries (grafting 2 at a time) due to the cost each time ($1500) and due to the recovery, ie chewing on different parts of my mouth. I had the first two done 5 days ago and seem to be on my way to a nice recovery. I planned on taking off of work for the surgery, but needed to take the day after as well. Not having my super hot coffee has been my biggest hardship. (I love my Dunkin Donuts hazelnut coffee). There is still minor swelling, eating is still not fun, but all in all it's not the worst procedure in the world. I still have a waxy thingy (non-scientific term) on the roof of my mouth, so that has not bothered be at all.

Realistically, I've told everyone, the first week after the surgery isn't fun. It's not god-awful, but not a walk in the park. I liken it to the recovery I experienced after LASIK 2 years ago.

Best part is...once it's done properly, you should never need a graft in that area again.

Happy healing, everyone!!

Thank you for this blog entry. You are so right, most of the information out there is so negative! I am going in for this surgery today and you have eased my mind.

I just had the gum graft done yesterday and it was very much like the first person described it. Wish I read this before to lessen my anxiety. My biggest problem is not being able to drink coffee. Can i drink lukewarm coffee?
Anyone done that without a problem?

I'm 15 years old and I'm having it Thursday of this week,, I have been worring myself since he had told me. All the comments and stories on here has got me worried. What do they first do before the surgery? I hope your still doing good. Thanks

taylor, I'm doing fine, gum-wise. I healed fairly quickly and no longer notice or think about the gum graft. I brush my teeth normally, and eat normally.

I suspect you'll find that the surgery is the easiest part of the procedure. Your mouth will be numbed. I don't recall feeling any pain. But as I noted in this post, the top of my mouth, where the gum graft was taken, was sensitive for quite a while.

I never added an update about my experience because it went smoothly. I did have some problems getting the retainer out and needed to get some tips from the periodontist's office -- which unfortunately I've now forgotten. I think I may have used a tool of some sort to pry it from the roof of my mouth when my fingers weren't sufficient.

Anyway, try to relax. In my 61-year old experience, which is about four times yours, time-wise, I've learned that almost always my fears about the future turn out to be more scary than the reality. Meaning, my worries are more likely to be excessive, than too small.

My prediction is that you'll find the gum graft goes more smoothly than you're expecting. Afterwards, probably you won't be perfectly comfortable. But, hey, that's life. It isn't always comfortable. And you're doing the right thing to deal with your gum problem now, rather than later.

Thanks a lot I can take pain I got a little scared when they said the word surgery. Thanks again for helping Me I'm glad I'm doing it now then later. Your note has helped me in a lot of ways.

im 16 years old and i was told to day that i need a gum graft and the will be using cadavers not my skin tissue because there is a lack of it .... hence why i need the gum graft.... i am scared to death and at the fact that i will be awake through the whole procedure ..... what do you do to stay calm ?

tesla, one way to stay calm is to embrace and accept your nervousness. Relax, how you're feeling is normal. You're going to experience something new that's more than a little strange - cadaver tissue and all that.

Look upon this as a necessary adventure. You need to have the gum graft. A few months from now you'll look back and say "Hey, that wasn't so bad."

As I noted to another commenter, almost certainly the procedure itself will be almost painless. You'll just need to go through some discomfort during the recovery time.

You can handle it. Go in with a smile and come out with a smile. Later you'll frown -- when you eat something spicy, or whatever, and feel a sting, but that's no big deal.

And you're lucky if, as I assume, tissue won't be taken from the roof of your mouth. That should make the healing process go quicker compared to people, like me, who had the gum graft done with their own tissue.

I just had a gum graft (gingival I think?) done on two teeth next to each other and did not know how serious the procedure can be until after the operation! I am an English teacher living and working in South Korea and have found dental prices here to be half of stateside. Each tooth cost the equivalent of $350. Honestly, I would recommend that if you trust your dentist (BIG "if") then do not read all of the horror stories out there. Do the research after the fact :) If you trust them enough, then doing in-depth research on the subject can lead to a lot of worrying and stress before the actual operation takes place.
I have part of the roof of my mouth cut to place on the graft site of 2 teeth on the bottom and they put the super glue like topical stuff on both the donor and receiving teeth site. The only problem was that the donor site glue fell off on my first sneeze! Within 2 hours. So very sensitive and somewhat painful and on about 4-5 Tylenol a day for the first 4 days. Still nothing too serious. Not serious enough to keep me from hiking up a city mountain in Seoul on the first day after the surgery and no complaints (I was probably lucky to have no complication from the hike. Also, the light exercise helped to take my mind off of it). Take my advice, don't research gum grafts if you trust your dentist implicitly and just go for it. And then use common sense and follow their instructions. I also used antibiotics and gargled with mouthwash everyday.

ps. by the way, I should mention that dental care in South Korea is excellent. I also found an American dentist who I go to for whom language is not a barrier

Thank you for posting your experience. I was putting my procedure off for fear of how bad it would be. Then I found out I was pregnant and got even more worried since gingivitis can present itself or get worse when you are pregnant. So I made the appointment. I was nervous about having to take Tylenol and antibiotics but they said it was safe for the baby and could be worse in the long run if I don't do it. So I'm going in two weeks. Thanks for easing my mind a little on the matter. Still not looking forward to it, but the health of my baby is more important than my fear of gum surgery.

I got a gum graft on 2 of my teeth just a day ago. Because i am 35 weeks pregnant they had to use a local anesthetic. I didn't really feel much but i could hear the scraping across my gums:-/ About 2 hours after the surgery my head was pounding and my jaw was sore. I laid down for an hour and then went into work later that day. i felt horrible but the pain finally eased up! Also, because im pregnant the only medicine i will take is tylenol. Today I woke up sore but i dont have much swelling, bleeding, or horrible pain. The only down side is its hard to eat!! Ive had worse pain being pregnant then i've had with this procedure.

Since your post eased my mind, I thought I'd add to the comments to ease the minds of others.

My periodontist and dentist have been monitoring the receding gum on my lower front teeth for over a decade. Finally they decided it was time to fix it.

I had it done last Tuesday afternoon. I can honestly say that having a periodontal cleaning (which is a bit more harsh than a regular cleaning)is more painful. The worst part was he had the chair tilted so far back that I thought I'd slip out. After an hour of hanging like a bat, I felt a bit woozy when he tilted my back up. ;)

At home I was diligent about icing the area to avoid swelling and I had none.

I had warm soup for dinner. No problem. Someone above mentioned that their palate felt like a bad pizza burn. My doc took the graft from the side of my palate and, except for feeling the stitches with my tongue, it's totally unnoticeable. Also, there was no bleeding from the time I left his office.

That night I took an Aleve before bed and slept fine. The next day was totally pain free and the only thing I felt was the putty over the graft. Again, I ate soft food but made the mistake of eating cottage cheese which stuck to my palate and I had to wash it off with iced tea (no big deal...just saying think ahead).

Brushing my teeth was a bit of a challenge because I had to "think" about what I was doing.

The second morning I awoke with a little pain for no apparent reason, so I must have bumped it during the night. Another Aleve solved that problem.

I'm still eating soft foods but that's mostly because I stocked up on them before the surgery. I've decide to stick to the soft until after my follow up with the doc next Tuesday.

In summery, pretty much every other dental procedure I've had, including deep cleanings, where worse and worthy of more worrying than this graft.

Hope that helps and thanks to Brian for his post and everyone else for their replies.

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