I just had gum graft surgery (also called gingival graft surgery) for receding gums surrounding two of my back teeth. I didn’t realize how common the procedure is until I started talking about it.

Most people delay gum graft surgery, probably because there are people online describing it as pain worse than childbirth. I disagree. If you have a good surgeon, you will be fine.

What Is Gum Graft Surgery?

If your gums are receding due to orthodontia, over brushing, genetics or bad luck, you’re likely to need a gum graft. I wish I hadn’t watched the presentation outlining the procedure as I would have been okay not knowing the details.

Basically, they cut tissue off the roof of your mouth (the donor area), cut the gums off around your teeth, peel them down, stitch the donor tissue on and then stitch the gum tissue back over that. *Shiver.*

I’ve Had Gum Graft Surgery So Here’s What I’d Suggest

1. Upgrade Your Drugs

I was given the option of being awake but numb, being consciously sedated with a drug called Halcion, or an IV drip that would knock me completely under.

I still had awesome expatriate insurance, but I hear that in the US, the latter two options are not considered “customary or reasonable” by some US insurance companies, therefore, these gum graft surgery costs might not be covered. Halcion was a $250 upgrade.

The IV sedation was $500 per hour and would involve not eating for a certain amount of time prior and all that. I was told the IV was totally not necessary (reserved for people with extreme dental fears), and in the end, I agree.

With Halcion (and a Valium topper, explained below), I had zero concept of time so if they had done my whole mouth, I would not have been the wiser. Go over your options with your Periodontist and get really comfortable with them.

2. Get the Modern Gum Graft Surgery

The modern version allows for the roof of your mouth to be stitched whereas the old school version left the donor site as a gaping hole. Ouch.

I don’t like to look at stitches so I didn’t look, but was told there were about 13 small ones up there.

3. Get a Stent to Help Prevent Bleeding

This was another optional upgrade. My stent was like a retainer that covered most of the roof of my mouth. It puts pressure on the donor area to help prevent bleeding, your tongue from playing with the stitches, and food from getting caught in them.

I wore it until my stitches were out and afterward for a few days, only while eating. The newly stitch-free area was tender.

4. Bring Music and Headphones

It was very helpful to listen to some music during the procedure. To be honest, I don’t remember it much but I took comfort in knowing that my earbuds were in.

5. Have Someone Else Also Listen to Post Care Instructions

I don’t remember them, because some were given after the gingival graft surgery when I was out if it. And, I was out of it at home for a while. Plus, whoever is taking care of you is going to need to know what to do.

6. Eat Totally Pulverized Food for the First Few Days

Even small vegetable chunks in soups might be hard to deal with the first day or so. You need to get comfortable with your post-surgery mouth and a random chunk getting into that area is freaky.

I ate soup like a dog at first, ladling it into my mouth with the spoon upside down on my tongue and then hoisting it into the back of my mouth to swallow. I drank a ton of smoothies.

7. Plan Nothing for About 3 Days After Gum Graft Surgery

You’ll eat less and, therefore, may feel weak. “Eat” a bunch of liquid meals throughout the day. When I made higher calorie and protein-filled shakes, I felt noticeably better all around.

Also, if you are in pain, you may need to take a stronger pain killer like Vicodin. Obviously, you will not be able to work or care for children in that circumstance. Speaking of prescription medicines, I also took an antibiotic and used an antiseptic mouthwash.

Pain During Gum Graft Surgery

I had zero. The Halcion also has a slight amnesia effect. However, 40 minutes after I took the Halcion (it’s in pill form), I felt only a little tired. The surgeon’s assistant seemed surprised and asked if I felt okay enough to have gum graft surgery.

I said, no way.

She consulted the Periodontist, gave me some Valium, and then all was fabulous. I felt little pinches when they numbed the roof of my mouth and cheek, but that was it. There were also no loud grinding noises, except for once when it felt like the surgeon was scraping my teeth. I was so chill, I did not care.

Pain After the Gum Graft

I do not consider myself to have a sky high tolerance for pain, but found it to be pretty manageable. It might be because I was expecting much worse.

Don’t try to be a hero. Take the pain medicine. That sensation of eating a piece of pizza with cheese that’s much too hot is what you’ll feel on the roof of your mouth sometimes.

I was also sore where they inserted the numbing (Novocaine?) injections on the inside of my mouth. My lips were a little bruised and so was the side of my face.

Anyway, the consequences of delaying gum graft surgery are much worse than the actual procedure. I had my stitches removed 8 days after the surgery, and the area looked almost completely back to normal.

I might need another gum graft on the other side of my mouth where gum receding looks to be occurring again, but next time I won’t be nearly as anxious.

Happy to answer questions if you have them. Of course, I’m not a doctor, so consult yours first.

Photo credit: istockphoto/nyul


Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 7 Gum Graft Surgery Survival Tips -- Topsy.com
  2. Probably not a good post to read when you’ve got the toothache from Hell, but good to know. They’ve been carping at me for years about my gingivitis, maybe I’ll pay a bit more attention now. I would sure hate to go through all this. It sounds survivable, but not fun at all!

    1. I just did it. It’s fine. Just do verbatim what they suggest. Took a lil halcyon beforehand and had a numbing shot. Was home in a hour or so. Took two motrin all week. Well in a week. Go do it 😉

    2. I had totally different experience! I just want to be real with other people reading this bc I read review after review saying this was no big deal surgery with very little pain and quick recovery. I could barely open my jaw for first 3 days. I had my bottom front teeth done and graft from roof of mouth. Day 3 was worst for me (super weak, stomach ach, pain). Even after day 5ish i was like when am i going to turn the corner and feel better. I didnt eat even semi solid food until Day 5 or 6. I am now 2.5 weeks out from surgery and still not eating regular yet. There is large hole on roof of my mouth no one seemed to mentioned but doctor said is normal and it is still so tender on roof, feels like super soft skin almost like a blister. My gum area still sore/sensitive. I literally had a dream about chips & dip…….

      1. Thanks for being loyal Dana. I eye roll as I read some of these comments as painless speedy recovery, “did they only get 1 tooth done?” I myself had 5 teeth done and the donator site I swear feels about 1 inch from front to back and then curved around my back molar. Day 1 and 2, I sipping from a large medicine syringe (like a Doppler) day 3, I could finally sit at the table with family and sip from a thin rimmed storage cup container. I’m on day 4, yes a lot less painful then day 1,2,3 and little swelling left, but I still cant eat anything but liquid. Funny how some people enjoy liquid diets but that’s maybe because they are not forced into having to do it. Cause at the back of there mind they know they can still chew. This has brought me comfort reading yours knowing and having similar recovery. But I know you had this years ago, so I hope everything turned out good for you. To try and speed recovery, im taking vitamins A/B/C, collagen and protein smoothies and fruit juices and soups and also taking tissue salts 2/4/8 and silica and rubbing essential oils peppermint and rosemary on the face is extremely soothing. Then after every meal I swish with magnesium and Himalayan salt then silver. Being a person not good with modern meds the childrens Advil dose of just 15 ml was well enough to take those evening pain edges of and those early morning wake ups of shooting pain. But per other posts my mouth seems to be 2 days ahead of the healing process pictures, and already having colour. All in all if you are having a lot of teeth done be prepared with your meds and liquids and rest this is not an easy painless recovery.

  3. Perfect timing! Went to the dentist last week and they told me I need the same thing. So nervous for it so I keep putting of the appointment 🙂 Hoping to make it out as well as you did!

    1. I did tbe same thing…put it off for months till it got worse. It was so easy I felt foolish. Just take sev days off work, hv protein Shake mix and some help at home to get you stuff that day. It’s a breeze. The recession hurt worse that this did. I was great I’m s week and very lil discomfort

    2. I did tbe same thing…put it off for months till it got worse. It was so easy I felt foolish. Just take sev days off work, hv protein Shake mix and some help at home to get you stuff that day. It’s a breeze. The recession hurt worse that this did. I was great I’m s week and very lil discomfort– go to a well known periodontist

    3. Had this gum surgery today… nothing to it. great freezing; didn’t feel a thing… took pain meds right after and a few hours later… It is now 6 hours later and I feel totally normal, except can’t eat normal. Having teeth pulled out is much worse..having a root canal is much worse.

      1. I had a graft done on the 1st. I was surprised at how painfree the procedure was. I haven’t had any issues post-procedure, safe the expected ones: some pain as the numbing wore off (I waited to take OTC ibuprofen so minor discomfort for an hour, if that), swelling on one side of my face and a wee bit of tenderness for a couple of days.

        It’s been nearly a week and I have yet to take an Rx pain med. I stopped taking ibuprofen every 4-6 hours after day four. The only negative has been the eating issue: I’m bored with shakes, soups, oatmeal, pudding, etc. Just another week to go!

  4. Very good post. I just had mine done on my front two teeth last Friday, and everything went very well. I was consciously sedated and don’t remember anything past the first couple minutes after the IV went in.

    One thing that has worked well for me is a combo of Milk, Carnation Instant breakfast powder, and a banana all blended up really well. You get the nutrients from all three (especially the instant breakfast), and the fillingness of the banana as well.

    The one thing I’m not looking forward to is a whole month of not being able to bite anything with my front teeth. I’m not allowed to even move my bottom lip to see if it’s healing well or if I have any food stuck at all. Oh well, I’ll be able to re-experience eating as a baby again I guess.

    1. Oddly, I have been able to eat ok. Soft food. You should be able to chew soft food with your back teeth? At least I hope so. I also didn’t know that you could be consciously sedated with an IV. Were you able to eat prior?

      Thanks for sharing!

      1. I had gum draft surgery done 2 days ago on my bottom teeth I also ate some food the other day pudding & shakes & stuff j miss biting down on food I also had my wisdom teeth taken out, im just freaking starving! The wisdom teeth dont bother me but the gum draft does I also felt sick after eating & took nasue medicine I was also on the IV & my stitches will dissolve within a week what foods should I eat to help keep the fooddown

  5. I’m having my gum graft done in 3 weeks and i’m so scared. Stupid me went on line to look at a video of the procedure and now I’m scared out of my mind. Why is this so scary? I perfer to have ten kids.

  6. Excellent advice!!!!! I had my surgery yesterday and the author is 100% on the money. I had all these things for my surgery and it has good pretty smoothly. I just want to add that you should follow the post op instructions to the letter, and don’t add any homespun treatments without asking the periodontest. I drank everything, I didnt chew, or talk and left the site alone except the mouthrinses. feels great this am. Even if you can eat, dont. Remember it is a tissue graft and you want it to “take”. And call the office staff if you have ANY concerns after your procedure.

  7. Hello. I found this blog while searching for a solution for my receding gum on my bottom K-9 tooth. I believe this happened because of my tongue thrusting problem when I swallow. Well as I type this I’m sitting in a world of pain. I have hot-pack on my face and I haven’t been able to talk right. Will I need to have a gum graft?

    1. I would definitely see a periodontist asap! You poor thing. Here’s why you can’t let a receding gum go for very long. You’ll eventually get food between the roots (you know that kind of upside down shaped “U” at the bottom of your tooth). Then once that happens, it’s a big problem. I was about to have that and must have mentally blocked out what the Dr said about the exact consequence. I wasn’t interested in losing my tooth.

      I promise, if you are able to choose good pain medicine for the procedure, it won’t be so bad. You’ll be very mellow about everything. Go to the Dr though.

      1. Thank you so much for replying! I was talking to my dad about my insurance. I’m going to call the company tomorrow so I can go to the dentist before my insurance runs out. Did yours take one doctor visit or multiple ones?

        Also the pain has stopped but, its still tender and the gum where the tooth is located is regular pink and the rest is kind of purple.

        1. Mine took about 3 visits. One for the consultation, another for the surgery and a follow up. The follow up was covered in my surgery fee. Booking the surgery was the hard part as there was not a date available for a few weeks after the consultation. Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

      2. LAHOLLA MOM
        Thank you for replying , this happened about 8 months ago. I keep my teeth, gums and everything cleaning – rinsing warm salt water carefully rinsing with the best to keep any infection down. However, I feel I have something, because i am sick at my stomach. not throwing up, but nauseated most of the time.
        Thanks for replying Elena We live in a small an isolated area. I would need to driver long distance to see a periodontist.
        Thank You for replying – Elene

  8. Hi,

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience and for the positive spin !! Your information was helpful.

    Question if I may:

    How long after your surgery were you finally able to return from a soft diet to “real normal” eating (toast, crunchy stuff etc.) ??

    Thanks again

    1. Hi Joe. Thanks for your comment. I had the graft on one side so I was able to chew on the other probably more quickly than someone who had both sides done. I would say it took a month. I was told I was ready before I had the confidence, but I started with soft veggies/fruits and worked my way back up to salads and meat. I was so worried about doing damage. I still am a very light flosser in that area BUT when I had a checkup at about 6 weeks the dental assistant in my periodontist’s office told me she was going to be a little aggressive in the area. Boy was she right. She flossed it harder than I ever have.

      So all is well at 4 months later. I do think I’m going to have to have it on the other side of my mouth too, unfortunately. But I won’t be so stressed about it next time around. The area is a little bit tender and sends sharp pain if I happen to brush it too hard (which I pretty much avoid at all costs) on accident.

      Good luck!

  9. Thanks for this article! I’m having mine done on Thursday and I am so scared! I’ve never even had a cavity before, and I am FREAKING OUT!! Everyone has told me how horrible it is, and that it’ll be the worst pain of my life. Your words make it seem bearable…the light at the end of the tunnel 🙂 thanks again!!!

    1. Jessica. I was the same way and had it yesterday. Just take the halcyon like they say and they will deaden it. The shot kinda hurts then no more pain. A few minutes they are through. I just take Alieve and watched movies last two days. Go get it. I put it off for nothing!

    2. Jessica, I just had mine today, about twelve hours ago. I too was scared @#$%less. I had told me dentist when He referred me for the surgery that I’d rather face an IRS audit. It was so much less painful than I’d feared. In fact with a single pain pill four hours ago I really have no pain. I’ll go really slow with solid foods because part of keeping the pain down is keeping the wounds covered and I DON’T want to knock my dressings out of place. I’ll make a nice soup tomorrow as I’m already tired of yogurt.

      1. Everyone needs to know that each periodontist has a slightly different protocol so taking Valium or halcion were not options when I had a connective tissue graft taken from the roof of my mouth and sewn onto 13 lower teeth, only the numbing shots were used on me. I also was not given a splint to wear to cover the stitches on the roof of my mouth. I never had a baby but I’ve had surgery on both shoulders and both knees and I have to say that a gum graft was more painful then the pain I experienced from having a shoulder and a knee surgery combined. I would have been so lucky to have only had the sensation of eating overly hot pizza on the roof of my mouth. Everyone needs to go into this surgery eyes wide open, it hurts like the dickens. I had this surgery twice, and I postponed the second one because I knew what I was facing. My face was bruised and swollen so badly it looked like I had gone 12 rounds with a professional boxer , and once the numbing shots wore off it was all I could do to just sit on the couch and writhe in pain. It took vicoden to reduce, not eliminate the pain. The pain was intense for almost a week. The bruseing and swelling took 2 weeks to go away. As for using an experienced doctor I did. People come from far away to go to this guy. Would I do this surgery again? Yes! Because it’s worth it to save my teeth. I just want everyone to know this surgery is no fun to give through. It was very painful to have stitches sewn front to back around the teeth that the grafts were being attached to . The whole process is uncomfortable but so worth it to save your teeth. Just prepare ahead of time. Plan for the down time. Shop for and prepare soft and easy to eat foods. Stay away from extreme temperature foods. Hot and especially cold foods really irritate the roof of the mouth. Once your have your post operation plans in place you can go into the surgery with a lot more confidence. Just know it will not be painless, but your doctor should give you a prescription for pain medication. Good Luck.

  10. I just wanted to add that I had a gum graft done about a week and 1/2 ago. Donor tissue (AlloDerm) was used, I believe this is the preferred method as there was no need to take tissue from the roof of the mouth and have a second healing site. (plus no stent) They also drew blood beforehand and extracted the platelets for use in the tissue- this promotes much faster healing. A dressing was placed over the graft, and for those of you who have this applied, don’t worry too much. I stressed about mine for no reason- I was told that it would start to dissolve after 24 hrs but the post-op info card they gave me said that the dressing should remain on for the next week. When most of mine came off the next day, I was worried, but at my follow-up appt. a week later, the assistant told me that it usually comes off in a day or two. I agree with the author, this whole process is nowhere near as bad as it sounds. Just take your antibiotics, oral rinse, and pain medication and avoid the site until the periodontist tells you everything is okay. In my case, I can not chew on the right side of my mouth for the next two months which is an inconvenience, but considering the alternative, I can handle it. One last thing- don’t worry if the gums at/around the site turn white. I was told this is normal and happens to gingiva when you don’t brush them for a while, and that using a q-tip dipped with the oral rinse to dab at the site will remove it. Hope this helps.

    1. Thank you so much for your candid opinions. I need many teeth to be grafted. I would sincerely appreciate a referral for a doctor that uses Alloderm.
      Thanks you for taking the time to email a referral.

  11. I just had a gum graft and completely agree with this article. I too was freaked out and delayed doing it, but really, it was no where near as bad as I thought it would be. I did the Halcion/ vallum as well (plus I asked to be blindfolded as I’m a very visual person and did NOT want to remember any of it). I don’t have insurance and spent $68 on all the perscriptions, including the vallum, the halcion, some percocets, the mouth rinse, and amoxocilin (sorry for the spelling). The pain was seriously not bad at all. Only annoying things are not being able to eat solid food (who would have thought oats are great in smoothies?), adjusting to the new sensations in your mouth, and swelling for about 3 days. Bottom line, if you need this, go get it done, but make sure you find the right periodontist. If you are in Seattle, Dr. Kang is awesome; fast, accurate, and really put me at ease.

  12. Well, I am the odd one here. I had my gum graft 9 days ago (6 teeth ctr bottom) & my palate was donor site. I was scared too & opted for conscious sedation which was great because I don’t remember ANY of the procedure, including being anesthetized. However the PAIN kicked in bad 2 days later & even Vicodin + 800mg of Ibuprofen didn’t take it away. I had the stent which enabled me to eat small amounts of liquified food but it still hurt. I ended up taking 7 days off work. My dr & the entire office were out of town on retreat when I phoned on Mon so I called the oncall drs office & ended up going to see him on Tues. He took the stitches out & prescribed an antibiotic & gave me additional instructions. On THurs I went to see my regular dr & he said everything was healing fine & I am unfortunately in a small class of people that end up with terrible pain.My dr is great but I will never do this again!

    1. Oh Dayna, that sounds horrible. Wow. I also hope you don’t have to do it again. Do come back and share if you ever find out why you were in so much pain! I wonder if the location of the graft matters as for instance, my front teeth are more sensitive to ice cream, etc. than my rear.

      1. Thank you so much for your empathy! My doctor prescribed dexamethasone (steroid) to take every 3 hrs on one day and it took most of the swelling down and got rid of 99% of my pain. I still can’t eat without the palate stent but with it I am eating real solid food. My 4 front teeth do not look any different but now they are very sensitive to cold. The 2 on either side look like the graft took. I see my doctor again on Tuesday so I will get more info. As I recall the assistant told me Thursday that over time the new tissue will “grow” to cover more of the tooth root. I hope so; I don’t want what I went thru to be for naught!

        1. Did the 4 teeth that didn’t look any different at the time of your 12/12 post ever end up taking the graft? Did the new tissue grow more to cover more of the tooth root? Just curious because your situation is similar to mine. I am 1 week post surgery.

    2. I had one graft 7 days ago done from the roof of my mouth. Still having quite a bit of pain. I have lots of sensitivity pain in adjacent teeth and even my tongue hurts when the pain meds start to wear off. Ibuprofen 800 is not enough so I took Lortab this evening and brushed with Sensodyne which seems to have helped. We will see-but this is much worse than I thought it would be. I was told it would be like a pizza burn in the top of my mouth. The sensitivity pain in my teeth is worse than the surgical sites.

      1. Hi there!
        Thank you for this article. I have generalized gum recession on my bottom teeth, and my Periodontist is suggesting that I correct them all once in a 4 hour surgery for both sides of my bottom teeth (around 10 in total) using my pallett tissue as the donor site. I live alone, and I’m wondering if it’s possible to recover without help or it absolutely necessary to have someone else around. I only plan to get local anesthesia. I’m really very nervous — more about the recovery than the actual surgery — and would greatly appreciate any guidance!
        Thank you!

    3. Me too Dayna. I had mine 6 days ago and I am still in agony. I am on round the clock layering of vicodin and 600 mg Ibuprofen. I had two teeth front bottom done. This had better take because never again. I also had the roof of my mouth as the donor site. My doctor never gave me any other options than to be my own donor and also no choices for surgical numbing.By the time I walked in the door of my home after the procedure I was in agony. I slammed three Advil while my husband filled the prescriptions. For an hour, while I waited for them to take I walked the floor and cried holding ice on my face and I prayed. I see the doctor tomorrow and am dreading even having him examin the sites.

      1. Sorry to hear about the problems you are having, Barbara. I had one side done in December, and the other side six days ago. The December one was pretty easy. This one has been terrible. Same doctor. Same mouth. Totally different results. I took a Percocet last night due to the intense pain. I hate narcotics, so I held out until then. Unfortunately, it made me so dizzy and nauseous for about four hours that I won’t consider another. I prefer pain to feeling that sick. I had the same reaction to Vicodin years ago. Looks like I can’t take either one of them. Just have to gut it out. The last one took two weeks to feel somewhat normal. I’m hoping this one resolves in another week as well. Good luck. This too shall pass.

  13. It’s great to find a blog that puts a positive spin on the gum grafting procedure and follow-up. I would strongly suggest you have the procedure performed by a recommended Periodontist and not a regular dentist. You will want someone that is specialized in treating your gums.

    I had mine done at the beginning of October on 8 teeth in all 4 quadrants of my mouth. Fun, right? I also opted for the Halcion (no valium) and was pretty much out of it for my 4.5 hour procedure. Afterwards, I had a little bit of swelling but it subsided after 3 days. The pain was very manageable…after the day of the surgery, I only took Ibuprofen for the minimal amount of pain. I was on a soft food diet for a month which was not as bad as I thought it would be. If you have to have the procedure done in more than one quadrant of your mouth, I suggest you have it done all at once.

    1. I have to chime in here. Also had it done on both sides, 6 teeth in all. This is the 2nd day , I have NO pain, I’m not taking pain meds but will if it starts hurting. I agree that you should get both sides done at the same time, if you can. My only problem was naseua after the surgery….must have been the anesthesia. They called something in and now I feel fine. Also thanks for the great info here

      1. For anyone else having this done, plan out how you’re going to recover from this. I’d been putting it off for a year and a half, had a small window of opportunity, and finally committed to having it done just before a long weekend. I went with the AlloDerm, Halcion, and valium route, three sites all at once. My written recovery instructions were liquids only for 24 hours, then soft foods, don’t look at the stitches, take antibiotics and a mouth rinse, limit talking. I don’t remember the procedure or first two days of recovery, and had no pain after that (didn’t need the prescribed Vicodin at all). The antibiotics were hard on my stomach and intestines, but not that rough. Unfortunately, when I went for the appointment the a week later, the sutures and graft had failed – probably the first day since I never knew. There should have been some soreness at least during recovery, and I should have really been on a no-work, no talking, food-through-a-straw regimen for more than just a 3-day weekend. If the rest of the recovery is otherwise uncomplicated, I get to do this again in a couple of months. At least I know it doesn’t hurt and I don’t remember it.

  14. I just had this surgery done 5 days ago still in lots of pain and cannot eat at all i cant even eat ice cream all i eat is soup. i also still have a lot of pain where the graft is. and i have an extremley high pain tolerence.

  15. Thank you all for your posts here – the good & not so good. This site was very informative and has eased some of my worries. I’m having a subepithelial connective gum graft on my lower left incisors (a & b) this coming Tuesday and am terrified about the recovery. I’m hoping not to remember much of the actual procedure so it’s the recovery that has me concerned. Reading about your experiences has been very helpful.

  16. I met with a periodontist and he has suggested I need 8 teeth grafted (upper and lower; both sides) yikes!
    I’m debating if I should have them all done at the same time?? If I do, then I will need to use Alloderm since I won’t have enough tissue from the roof of my mouth to cover all areas.
    Should I do all or only as many as my own tissue can cover with more than one surgery?
    Any suggestions would be welcome.

    1. As Dayna below said, I think first you need to get comfortable with using Alloderm. It is really personal. Dayna answered your question better than I can, as I only had 2 teeth done.

      However, it’s been about 6 months since my surgery and my donor site is still a bit numb, but it doesn’t bother me at all. However, if I get a little too aggressive with my toothbrush on the graft it shoots a sharp pain. I can floss with no problem but every once in a while, I get this quick, sharp pain with temperatures and brushing. But it’s no big deal.

      I know this is not super helpful for your situation. For that many teeth, pain management during and after the surgery is critical and I would urge you not to skimp in this department. Also, this sounds ridiculous but pay attention to how you eat. What kind of foods can you eat while avoiding your potential graft areas? If you can somehow chew on one side, I’d go for it and get them all done (provided you are comfortable with Alloderm). If not, you’ll have eat mush for much longer than I had to.

      Your periodontist knows best. Does he think you can handle it? Let us know what you decide!

      1. hi– do you recall how much you paid per tooth/procedure…. I need to pay up front and insurance might cover some… but want to know if price i got quoted is reasonable/comparable… thanks

  17. I had my gum graft surgery on 12/2/10, lower front 6 teeth. You can see my original post on 12/11. I am pain free now but my lower teeth are still very sensitive to extremes in temperature. The roof of my mouth has not completely healed but it doesn’t bother me. It really depends on where in your mouth those eight teeth are if you were to have them all done at once. If you have 2 on each of the 4 quadrants of your mouth it might not be so bad to have it done all at once. On the other hand you must consider how you feel about using Alloderm(cadaver) tissue. That is totally a personal decision. I would discuss the pros and cons thoroughly with your periodontist. You should definitely have a plan ahead of time for pain management if you should experience a high level of pain. The roof of the mouth is the main culprit (at least it was for me). Having a stent to put in is extremely helpful and I probably did not use it enough in the beginning. Also, have soft room temperature food available and limit talking. Many people have no problems with the proceedure and many do. I think it is a crap shoot. Just plan to take time off and with good pain management in place it won’t be that bad.

  18. Thank you so much for this write up. I am going to have this done in about 2 weeks and am not looking forward to it one bit. My periodontist gave me a prescription for valium so i plan on taking that but i can only get the Novocain because of insurance (I already have to pay a lot out of pocket) so I hope that will be enough. I love your idea of the iPod and will be creating my “gum graft mix” soon. Thanks again for calming my nerves a bit.

    1. You know, everyone is different but the valium sure sent me into la la land. I did not even hear my iPod. “Gum graft mix” did make me laugh out loud though! Let us know how it went for you.

  19. I just had my gum graft done on Tuesday. I too had six teeth done, all in the center on the bottom. I had the option of splitting it into 2 procedures, but I opted to get it done and over with. Despite the pain, I think I am glad that I decided to do that. I am still having a lot of pain and discomfort. I keep telling myself it is because I had such a large area grafted plus the area where the donor tissue was taken. This morning I took Aleve and that seems to be helping more than the ibuprofen. I wish I would have read your post prior to my surgery. I don’t think I was fully prepared for the new diet I would be on. The first day I did not eat enough and ended up with severe nausea from the pain meds. So far soup and ice cream have been about the only things that haven’t bothered me. Scrambled eggs have been ok. I seem to have developed “texture issues” and am having a hard time not gagging on some of the softer, mushier foods that I have tried. I like the smoothie idea and am going to go that route. Thanks. 🙂

    1. Hi amanda… I just had a gum graft (one tooth only) four days ago. Ive been having a bit of nausea and some texture sensitivity too. Just thought I would mention it. I was told to resume a normal diet as much as possible but the nausea and discomfort from the stent makes it uncomfortable. I’m supposed to see the periodontist again in a couple of days. I didn’t think to ask how long I’m supposed to wear the stent…

  20. I am having gum graft surgery in the morning and I am terrified.
    My dentist gave me a prescription for motrin for pain.
    He also prescribed doxycycline for healing.
    He does not offer any other meds for pain or sedation.
    I will let you know how it goes.
    I have a cruise planned in about 3 weeks.
    I hope I can enjoy it.

    1. Good luck! Please do let us know how it goes with motrin. I don’t have experience with motrin so it would be helpful if you could share your thoughts. I would have been ok on a cruise 3 weeks after my surgery. I was still eating very carefully though.

  21. Pingback: Aby-a-Day – January 25: I’ll be there for you «
  22. Thank you for all your stories and advice. I need to have the bottom two front teeth done. My dentist sent me to an oral surgeon as I am a wimp and he could provide more sedation options and is really good. However, the oral surgeon (during the consult) kept remarking how hard this was going to be. Am I better off going to a periodontist or should an oral surgeon provide similar results (in general)?

    1. I hate to say that I am not sure what the differences between an oral surgeon and periodontist are in regard to this surgery. My surgery was done by a periodontist. I see that you’re in Singapore by your email address so I’m not sure if it’s different over there. BTW, I used to live in Hong Kong and love Singapore. Am thinking about going back in April to take my daughter to the night zoo, etc. 🙂

  23. I would recommend you see a periodontist-they do these proceedures all the time; they are the experts. I’m surprised your dentist did not suggest a periodontist in the first place! I had my 6 front teeth done and I had the IV sedation. I don’t remember anything until after the surgery was over. The weirdest thing is that my doctor said I was very cooperative during the proceedure; I turned my head when he asked me to etc. The anesthesia is very similar to the drugs used for colonoscopy’s (another fave proceedure, NOT). With only 2 teeth you probably don’t need the sedation, just some great happy pills.

    1. Hi
      I had mine done on this past fri. And all is going well , just a little lite bleeding, am eating soft foods, mine were on lower front teeth. My lower lip is pretty swollen and it feels like a little pinch when I move or open my mouth when eating, I guess it’s because of the swelling. Thanks for any feedback. Cris

  24. Just had two bottom front teeth done this morning. I am a huge wimp when it comes to mouth pain, but the actual procedure was easy. I received oral sedation and then nitrous oxide on top of it. The hardest part was the numbing as I am not a fan of needles. Once everything was numb, the procedure went very fast.

    Pain so far is minimal, but we will see how things go. I have been taking lortab and ibuprofen for the pain.

  25. Thank you for creating this blog. It helped to relieve my worries about the surgery. My Periodontist was super, but a little lacking with information on what to expect in terms of pain. In his defense, each experience can have so many variables that it would be hard to give a realistic across the board prediction. I had 3 of my upper teeth done a week ago. Fortunately, the donor tissue came from the upper inside cheek area (I think) and not from the roof of my mouth. I believe this greatly lessened my pain experience. My Periodontist prescribed 800mg ibuprofen…I took that for 5 days (one every 6 hours) and never touched the pain medication that was prescribed in addition. The pain from this procedure was FAR less than I anticipated. The only thing noteworthy was when I would rinse later in the day that I had surgery….simultaneous pain and itching. The best comfort was a hot wash cloth over my cheeks. The good thing is the sensation was gone after 10 minutes and only occurred on day one, so don’t pop a pain pill in haste. Other than that, there was some discomfort from a little swelling on the 3rd and 4th days afterwards. I felt good enough to work the day after, but decided to be smart and stay home. The chlorahexadine rinse prescribed to me will discolor your teeth, so use it only as often as recommended (after breakfast and before bed). My after surgery brochure suggested a luke warm salt water rinse (teaspoon salt to 8oz water) for rinsing beginning the day after the surgery. This was effective and comforting for my rinsings between the morning and evening chlorahexadine rinsings. It has been a week today and all feels great. I started feeling “normal” on day 5. All swelling is gone now and the only reminders are the slick, slightly num “new” flesh and the stitches. I go back in a week for the removal of the stitches. I might need this procedure later on two of my lower teeth and I won’t hesitate to go back. If it can save me from losing teeth down the road and the horrible pain that would be associated with that, I consider it a VERY wise investment!! The sooner you get it done, the better. I say that because according to what my Periodontist said, the more the gums recede, the harder it is to get effective coverage with the grafts.

    1. This is so interesting! I haven’t heard of using cheek tissue. I take it you had stitches? How was eating for you? Is there a reason they used cheek instead of the roof of your mouth? Sorry for all of the questions. I’m likely to need the surgery again too, so I’m interested. 🙂

      1. Oh yes, I have stitches…a lot of thread in area between my cheek and the upper gums and of course on the upper part of the 3 roots he covered. I’ll ask the Periodontist more about where he took the donor skin from when I go back in a week to get the stitches removed. He had mentioned that as an option and I had forgotten about it until I awoke from surgery and realized the roof of my mouth was untouched.

      2. Okay, more about the “cheek tissue” option. I went back on Friday to get my stitches out and I asked my Periodontist more about what he did. Just to recap, I had the procedure done for three of my upper teeth. It felt like the tissue came from above the gums. He explained that he cut the gum tissue on each side and scored it to make it “stretchy”. He then pulled the tissue down and stitched it in place to cover the exposed root areas. This is why I had no graft donor sites (which greatly reduced my pain experience). The coverage was very effective. When the stitches were out (completely painless removal, btw), I had him to show me the sites in the mirror. I was amazed at how well this worked. I go back for a follow-up in 2 months. I saw where someone had asked how long until you’re back to “normal”. From my experience, I can say 2 weeks.

  26. I realized I didn’t answer your question about eating. No problems. I had stocked up on cream of chicken soup, rice pudding, other puddings, yogurt, liquid breakfast drinks and Boost, LOL! No pain from eating, again, because the roof of my mouth was left intact. My main concern was keeping food away from the sites as much as possible and I am still rinsing at least with water immediately after eating now to be on the safe side. The most tasteful foods in the first days afterwards for me were instant mashed potatoes, soft homemade chicken & dumplings with the meat chopped in a processor, tiny english peas, etc. Another tasty option for me, because I love carrots, was to shread them and cook them with a little butter until they were very tender, like you cook baby carrots. When I returned to work, I stuck with meatless Lean Cuisine type items such as the macaroni and cheese. I had fried chicken fingers last night…that’s the most I have ventured out so far. I can eat most anything at this point, but being cautious until the stitches are out and not yet ready to eat crunchy things, sticky foods, or nuts, etc.

  27. Wish I would have seen this post a week ago! I was nervous about having it done too–even had weird pre-surgery dreams about it–but mine went pretty well too. One thing to add: I was told to start rinsing with listerine the next day a few times a day. I thought it would be a painful experience added to what I was already feeling, but that part was absolutely fine too! Worried for nothing!

  28. Can anybody tell me how long it took for their gums to return to normal? I am having the graft done on one front tooth where I had an implant done and i am in a wedding in 4 weeks so I’m really nervous that the new gum won’t match up with my old ones that fast and it will all look very weird.

  29. Thank you so much for the info. I’m having my first one done Friday. My Dr. told me I’ll need 3-4 more due to 10 years dealing with an eating disorder. I was terrified of the procedure but after reading yours and other’s experience I’m a little more at ease. When I first went to the consultation they said I would be shown a video but I opted out. I told them I didn’t even want to get a visual of what they do. Thanks for the IPOD idea, I’ll definately take mine. I hope to be 100% healed by March 17th for my trip to Vegas!! I’ll let you know how it goes : )

  30. Thanks for this post. I’m having this done tomorrow on one side with the other side set for next month. I didn’t get a lot of information from the periodontist so thought I’d better do an information search before I go (nothing like waiting until the last minute!) I’ve had a lot of experience eating mush so I’m looking at this as a great diet opportunity…although I’m also supposed to be out of town for the weekend so that could be interesting. I see lots of soup and yogurt in my future.

  31. hello ,
    thanks for this post.
    today i went to dentist for gum grafting from my own palate.
    i was ready, but i gave up.

    my story is a bit different than yours.i broke my front upper 2 teeth when i was 12 years old. now i’m 33..
    i have porcelain plating. and my left tooth s very weak.
    i sat for gum grafting today. but after rontgen dentist said, i can lost my left tooth %50 . and he can make an implant instead of it. i need 3 months for implant he said.

    i frightened. and gave up even gum grafting.

    i want to ask u
    1)what do u think about alloderm instead of own palate tissue? is it as good as palate tissue? it makes me feel better. because stitching my palatte makes me bad.

    2)if u were me would u gor for this operation? both implant for front tooth + gum grafting?

    note:link below shows my current situation. caution: it s not good for viewing for everyone..


    thank u very much

  32. i don’t know if the situation is different in canada (are people in this thread seeing less than the best doctors in some cases?) but i live in toronto and had this procedure 2 weeks ago today. i took the halcion (i needed 1 1/2–the 1st tablet didn’t do that much but then it kicked in), and after that and a pain killer, the numbing wasn’t bad at all. the rest of the procedure went by quickly and i hardly remember most of it (tissue was taken from the roof of one side of my mouth and the graft was done on two of my front lower teeth.

    that night i took one codeine tablet but almost threw up since i hadn’t eaten. it was worse than the pain which was very minimal so that was the last one i took. the next day i took an advil in the morning and no pain meds after that. there was a little soreness but i had coverings over the graft, the roof of my mouth and over the stitches behind my lower front teeth. that made talking and eating hard and slightly painful. for the 1st 2 days i barely talked, drank from a sippy cup (seriously, get one if you’re having this surgery) and drank soup. even tiny pieces were impossible because they float around and you don’t want them to get near your wound or under your coverings. no brushing teeth for 2 days for me, just the (peridex) rinse morning and night. then careful brushing everywhere the covering wasn’t and still the rinse. soft food for dinner on the 2nd day. mashed potatoes with soft-boiled eggs, mashed avocado + mashed sweet potato, for breakfast mashed banana and some pumpkin seed butter but that was later (sticky so a bit trickier). and alphagetti one time. ha. the coverings came out after 5 and 6 days–i was careful–which kept the pain down and kept the sites clear. slight pain and weirdness when they came out. day 7: follow-up to remove stitches. by day 10 i was eating anything i wanted but nothing too sharp or pointy (no chips, for instance) and STILL nothing that could move or hurt the graft like biting into a burger. anything i don’t have to tear into like that with my front teeth is ok. still no brushing on the graft, brushing everywhere else and using the rinse at night only until my next appt in 3 weeks.

    overall, not nearly as painful as i thought, easy and speedy recovery, EXCEPT day 1-3 where talking and eating is hard. i have no idea how some people go to work the next day or even the day after. i mean, hi, you can’t brush your teeth till day 3, or i couldn’t.

    hope this helps. all of the info i read here before my procedure helped me get ready. thanks for creating this post, i was glad i found it,

  33. I am having gum graft surgery in mid-April. I am trying to determine how long I will be out of work. How many days did you guys stay home? Thanks.

    1. Sorry for the late reply! I work from home but was back to moving around normally on the 2nd day. So I would plan for 2-3 days. I’ve read about some people being fine right after surgery, though I can’t imagine how that’s possible!

  34. Good morning, and thank you for having this post. I have learned more here than anywhere else on the web, and it helped me go ahead with the surgery, which I’m glad I did. I had the connective gum graft yesterday. At the end of the procedure he showed me what he had done (graft on a lower front tooth) and it looked so much better than how it had been before. So now I can only hope that this good outcome is worth the experience. So here are my tips that hopefully will save someone else from the same:
    (1) Be comfortable with your periodontist. It’s hard to do this because you only see this person a couple of times, but try to make sure. When you go in for the consult ask plenty of questions and be sure you know what, if any, the alternatives are to surgery, what the risk is of doing nothing, what the surgery will entail, what the numbing/anesthesia options are, what the recovery period will be, post op mouth care, etc. In my case these procedures had become so routine and ho-hum to the periodontist that he explained the graft, and that was it. The rest of the first consult was them getting me to sign, sign, sign that I would pay what insurance didn’t pay. I felt rushed, unprepared, and uncomfortable, which had the effect of making my mind go blank as far as what questions to ask.
    (2) Ask at the first consult if there is a consent form you’ll need to sign and make sure to see it before the day of the surgery. On my day of surgery the minute I walked in the door they stuck a consent form in my hand for me to sign saying that the doctor had discussed alternatives and risks with me, which was not the case. Then it listed every possible thing that can go wrong in a periodontal procedure. Barely any of it applied to a gum graft but still the effect was unnerving, on top of my already being nervous. When I said to the person at the desk that I should have been given this form before the day of the appointment she said “oh, it’s just a standard form and he does these procedures all the time”. Not a good answer. Even if they tell you you have to sign the form the day of the surgery, make sure you see what it says beforehand and ask any questions about it you need to so that day of surgery you can get right to the procedure.
    (3) If possible find a periodontist who will do more than just novacaine. I called and asked beforehand and they said novacaine by itself “would be fine” and I could add on nitrous for an additional $95.00 (out of pocket!) but there were no other options. In the middle of the procedure I got panicky. This was in part because in the middle of the procedure the doctor turned down the nitrous without asking me about it. This is why I say be comfortable with your periodontist, make sure they care about communicating with you before the procedure. I asked if I could be put out and he said it was too late for that, which made me think there *were* options for anesthesia that I hadn’t been told about. So if you think you’ll need to be ‘out of it’ make sure you have a plan for that that you’ve agreed on with the periodontist.
    (4) Arrange to have someone drive you home. I could have taken something on my own to knock me out, but didn’t because they told me I’d be fine to drive myself home so I didn’t want to take anthing that would make me drowsy. But I was not fine to drive myself home after the nitrous, I was very sleepy and not quite ‘all there’. I should have taken it into my own hands and had someone there to pick me up rather than going by what they told me.
    (5) As others have recommended, use ear buds. I found out the hard way that this is essential (I don’t own an ipod unfortunately). Over my head I could hear them talking “surgery talk”, and then also talking about work schedules, and someone came in the room to say “Have a good weekend” and they chatted about that. I don’t know which was worse, the surgery talk or feeling like they weren’t 100% focused on what they were doing to my mouth. It was very unprofessional and I think that more than anything is what made me feel panicky.
    (6) Make sure your mouth is completely numb before they start. Ask them to test it by touching something to it if you need to (my dentist does this). But just make sure. I did not have enough novacaine. It wasn’t horrible or painful, but I could still feel things I wish I hadn’t felt.
    (7) Use the rinse (brand name Periogard, the ‘hexo…whatever’ solution) the first time VERY carefully. It says it will stain your teeth but it is not “stains” on the surface that will brush off, at least not in my case. In my case it discolored my two front teeth, and it appears to be in the tooth structure, not on the surface which hopefully can be repaired by my hygenist (I’m sure at my $$ expense). So now I am putting the solution only in the bottom of my mouth over the surgery site.
    (8) I was given Tylenol with codeine for pain, but I ended up taking that plus ibuprofren plus Ambien to sleep (the Ambien was from a previous illness and pharmacist said it was okay to mix all these). This combination worked well. I took more Ibuprofren (600mg) plus the Tylenol this morning and now only a day later I have minimal pain.
    Well, that was my experience. Thanks for ‘listening’ and sorry to have written so much. I hope this will help someone. I think the moral of the story is, as with any medical procedure, take charge and ask questions. If you get the vibe that they think it is so routine that they don’t have to explain anything, find another periodontist. To end on a positive note, the surgery itself was quite advanced from what I am reading others experienced. In my case he used a section of soft palatte on the right side of my mouth. At the end he injected collogen, covered it with surgical ‘super glue’, then Vasoline and a composite material. No stitches at all. I feel no pain at all there so I think he did a really nice job with that part. I know from what he showed me that he did a great job on the tooth. Even after all of the above, I am very glad I did the surgery. Just make sure you are comfortable with your periodontist so that the experience can be as good as the outcome.

    1. Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment! Your experience is going to be so helpful to a lot of people!

      In regard to the staining of teeth and tongue. Mine went away after a while. Part of my periodontist’s package was to clean my teeth a few weeks (I think) after the surgery. That removed all of the browning. I was nervous about them touching the graft area, but it was tolerable.

      I took my release home with me the day of my consultation. It actually did not list every side effect known to man. My husband is a lawyer so I always get that kind of thing in advance. This is really good advice. It would not have occurred to me to ask for one, they just gave it to me. That kind of thing is not what you want to be processing on the day of your surgery!

      Heal well!

  35. Thank you so much for this information. I have just had my first appointment with a periodontist and will be having grafts done in a few weeks. I need a graft two teeth, the large “chewing” teeth (#19 & #30) on each side of the bottom teeth. I am nervous about the pain, and about the eating options. My periodontist said that I would need to chew more toward the front of my mouth but did not advise I would be on a “soup diet” for more than a day or two. I think, after reading the posts here, that I will not be able to eat much for at least a week. Would this be a fair expectation? Also, the periodontist has already prescribed pain meds, anitbiotics and the halcion. He did not couple it with valium. The prescription is for two .25 halcion pills and I was told to take them both one hour prior to surgery. Does this seem reasonable enough to be effective?
    I am really not looking forward to having this procedure and was only planning to take off the day of. After reading all of this, I am going to change the surgery date so that I can take a minimum of three days off. Thank you again for providing so much helpful information!

  36. I am 3 days past graft surgery. My Dr. Prescribed valium, demerol and phenergan one hour prior to surgery and then gave me more demerol and valium right before surgery. My drug induced haze kept me very comfortable through the procedure. My graft was from my palate and I left with a stent.
    I had some pain at my gum line later that day when the novacaine wore off and took some vicodin. By the next morning I didn’t need pain meds. I’m on antibiotics, steroid mouth rinse and small dose of steroids. I used ice as soon as I got home and have had no swelling. Shakes, smoothies, instant potatoes and soup are all comfortable to eat. All in all, not a bad experience and hopefully I’ll be able to keep all my teeth!

  37. I didn’t read all of the comments, but for anyone who does and is scared about having a gum graft done, I want to share that mine was practically pain free. I mean, I treated the area very gingerly, but as long as I didn’t lean forward and let the blood rush to the site, and as long as I ate with care, it never really hurt. I was surprised. Very surprised. I didn’t need any pain meds. I just took a Xanax an hour before to calm me and had local anesthesia. Definitely helped to have the ear phones for distraction.
    I actually found that it healed so quickly and painlessly that I had to very consciously avoid brushing the graft area on accident. So, don’t fear. Find a great surgeon and you’ll be OK!
    I doubt anyone reading this will be in Albuquerque, N.M., USA, but just in case, Dr. Verdarame is Rio Rancho is great.

  38. Hi –
    I am having the procedure done next Monday. i have the option to use my own graft or a synthetic-type graft. More costly but it sounds like i may want to avoid harvesting from my palate ? any ideas, responses, comments ?

  39. I am getting my 3rd Gum Graft surgery on friday. I was never given the option for any kind of sedative or IV anything. I am only given novacain. For pain I am suppose to take over-the-counter Motrin. That is it. The actual surgery is nothing but the pain afterwards was pretty intense for that day & the following day. But, remember that I am only given Motrin. I highly recommend to just get it over with. I waited for one of mine & it was almost too late. They barely saved my tooth. I have Lupus & between the disease & my medication, I have extremely thin gums. I will have to get my entire mouth done. I get one surgery a year until it is done. Take care of your gums!

  40. Hello. I am going to have gum graft surgery on June 8th. Thank you for your post. It has calmed me down about the whole surgery & all. I have a question. My question is about the shots. Did they hurt, where did they do it at (where at the roof of the mouth), etc. ? I have to get only 1 of my gums done (Praise God).

    1. My shots were given after I was sedated so to be honest, I don’t remember if they hurt or not, or exactly where they were. I remember getting them, but having a “yeah, whatever…” kind of attitude about it! Which I don’t normally – I hate shots. I suspect they’ll give it to you after you’ve been sedated (if you are) but if not, definitely ask.

    2. I had the choice of a sedative, nitrous oxide, or just numbing. I chose to skip the sedative/nitrous, and try to do it with just the numbing (full lower mouth).

      I stayed awake for the entire procedure, and I’m glad I did. The shots are the hardest part, although they will likely use a pre-numbing liquid if you stay awake to minimize any pain with the shots. They hurt going in for several seconds, and then you get numb. Once I got past the shots, I didn’t feel a thing after that. And being awake, I was able to make sure that my head didn’t get jerked around.

      If blood doesn’t bother you, I’d recommend staying awake, because you likely won’t feel any pain. The only downside I noticed to staying awake is that you might need more numbing in a given area, as you’ll know right away if any areas aren’t fully numb. I figured that by staying awake, my periodontist would be more careful. And I knew exactly how everything was going as they did it.

      The things I wish I would have known:
      -I wouldn’t be able to eat meat other than really soft meat (burgers) for over a month. Eating soup and pasta and pudding and similar items has gotten really old. Salads, steaks, chicken, fried foods, etc. are really hard to eat without chewing. Pizza has been a nice treat, but I’m getting sick of that, too.
      -My lip/chin/tongue might be partially numb for a long time.
      -The stitches stick way out as the swelling go down. That’s normal. You can trim them down after a week or so, but some of the stitches are hard to reach.

  41. I just had surgery on Wed June 1st, on the upper and lower front teeth. The uppers were donor material (cadaver), and only one lower was done so he used tissue from my palate for that one (it came from the roof, next to my last molar, just before my wisdom tooth – not from the middle of my palate as I’d envisioned, but closer to my teeth actually). I didn’t have any gas or IV or anything, and I survived, though I had seriously considered an IPod…I was not comfortable at all, and had to have extra Novacain more than once, mostly when he started stitching. I was in there for about an hour and a half. He had to remove my glasses during the upper procedure, though he should’ve for the lower too (kept mashing them with his palm). I accidentally looked when he removed the palate material, kinda gross. So was the blood on his gloves. He also accidentally dropped the little “fishhook” on the end of his stitching string and snagged me in the chin! I swear I saw that hook dangling over my blind eyeballs more than once too…thankfully no snagging there though. As for afterwards – drove home well enough, but was feeling tired. Major swelling in my lips (remember, frontal grafts – the top three or four front teeth, and once lower front), major pain driving home as the Novacain wore off. I foolishly took the Hydrocodone Rx with my first “meal”, which was at dinner time (surgery was done from 10:30am-noon), and was only a coffee shake from McDonald’s. Got really sick, threw up twice. Don’t take Hydrocodone without a good meal! Have used 800mg Ibuprofen regularly since, with a couple Tylenol once in awhile. Swelling is finally down, by yesterday (3 days post-op), and I can run my tongue over the grafted sites without much discomfort. The palate hole is sore and I avoid it (did not get a stent or stitches – feels like the Grand Canyon was excavated out). I’ve been using Ensure, eating yogurt and pudding, and scrambled eggs aplenty. Not enough to stay “up” much. I can chew okay on the left side (palate removal was on the right), but food keeps migrating to sore spot on right. Very weak most times, especially between meals or when exerting much energy. Wish I would have understood the eating issues better beforehand – would’ve stocked up better! Tried pureed canned chicken soup and the chicken bits were too much. Hoping to find new tastes of slop at the store today. 🙂 Good luck to all – it’s not pleasant, but it is survivable. Oh, I have amoxicillin and the rinse stuff too, and the amoxicillin (and my soft diet probably) have given me diarrhea (sorry, TMI), and it’s possible I’ll get the itchy rash I get with antibiotics too. The rinse has been fine so far (mine is a light blue color, no discoloration of the teeth that I’ve noticed).

    1. Wow you are brave. I could not have done it with just novocain. Ensure is a brilliant idea, I never thought of that! I got a rash with the antibiotics that went away as soon as I stopped. My rinse was brown, you must have something different and better. Thanks for sharing!

  42. Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences. I had a free gingival graft procedure five days ago (the “free” is part of the procedure’s name and is not an indication of how much it cost). The graft doesn’t hurt (though stitches haven’t yet come out) but the hole in the roof of my mouth hurts so much I’ve actually thought about killing myself (I won’t do it but that’s how much I hurt). No stitches, no stent, no dressing, just an open wound. By the way, if you feel something that seems like strings from, say, a gauze dressing, do not pull on them. They’re clots. Pulling on them leads to very heavy bleeding.
    My periodontist can’t seem to understand that Motrin 800 mg isn’t touching the pain and she refuses to prescribe anything else. I am NOT an addict looking to score narcotics. I can’t swallow, talk or breathe without searing, throbbing pain in the roof of my mouth, and now my sinus, ear and jaw hurt on the side where she took tissue for the graft. She says there’s no sign of infection, that everything looks wonderful and I should just go back to work “to get my mind off it.” After living on Jello and baked egg custard for five days, I don’t exactly have the energy I need to work in a physically demanding job, and the pain has me nearly out of my mind. I’ve been surfing the Internet looking for alternative pain relief and found recommendations for salt water rinses, tea bags, and clove oil. I’m off to rinse now with salt water and try the tea bag thing. Apparently products like Orajel and Anbesol are not options. Any other ideas? Anyone?

    1. I am so sorry. I can’t believe that they won’t give you anything stronger. Did they say why you don’t have stitches? I believe that is an “older” procedure. Someone told me that. I regret I don’t have tips for moderating the pain but I hope someone else here does. I can’t even imagine how much that must hurt!

  43. Hi. I just got the surgery on Friday. It was a rather large graft (3 lower teeth) so I have a ton of stitches. At the end of the surgery the dr decided to add a couple extra stitches for good measure since the 374673674 already in the roof of my mouth apparently weren’t enough. By then the Novocaine had begun to lose it’s kick so I could feel him playing Dr. Frankenstein on me. It feels like I have whiskers growing out of the roof of my mouth. Or a small porcupine. My ex husband went food shopping for me as a favor and bought some Captain Crunch. Ha ha 😐 Anyway thanks for sharing your experience. It was informative and entertaining.

  44. I am glad I found this information. My dentist wanted to do this procedure with just novacaine. He is now going to give me valium and nitros oxide. I am scheduled to have it done in the beginning of August. Doing in on a Friday so I will have the weekend and then be able to go to work on Monday. It is 1 month before vacation so I think I should be ok by vacation time.

    1. Oh good, I’m so glad this helped you. Everyone in the comments has been so helpful. I’m going to have to have the other side of my mouth done eventually. It’s not bad yet, but it’s coming and I’m grateful for everyone’s feedback.

  45. These posts have been comforting post surgery! I had my 2 bottom front teeth grafted with the roof of my mouth done about 4 days ago. I also had this done in the same appointment as having all 4 wisdom teeth pulled–figured I’d just get everything over with at once. The procedure was completely painless and with the pain and swelling afterward from the wisdom teeth, I honestly felt nothing from the graft. I was given the plastic mouth guard for the roof of my mouth which has been amazing, but now that the swelling is going down and stitches from my healing wisdom teeth are already starting to fall out, the pain on the roof of my mouth is pretty intense. I’ve been taking my hydro codon a little less than I was at first because I was feeling better, but now the pain is starting to wake me up when I sleep! I got back for my post op appointment in 2 days to get the graft stitches out, though the roof of my mouth does not have any stitches. I was wondering if anyone knew how long the pain will last for a pallet with no stitches and how long it takes for it to get back to normal? I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but the painful pallet has by far been the worst part of both procedures–besides the fact that I live off of applesauce. 🙂 Thanks!!

    1. I had stitches on the roof of my mouth but everyone says that if you don’t have stitches, the healing is quite painful. At least you have the plastic guard. I ate with it in even because I was afraid to take it out other than to clean it! I hope someone can swing by that didn’t have stitches and tell you when the pain stopped.

  46. Thank you so much for your article on this procedure. I find out yesterday I need to have this done and of course was panicking myself reading all the horror stories. I am going to use your tips and hopefully will do ok!

    1. I did that too. In fact, I cried a lot. 🙂 Don’t worry, you will survive. I think most of the horror stories are from people who had the old style of gum graft (no stitches on the roof of your mouth). And rightfully so – I can’t imagine the pain. Let us know how it goes!

  47. Dear Fellow Gum Graft Folks, I am a teacher and plan to have gum grafts on three front teeth the week before school begins–8 days prior, to be exact. (I had the procedure scheduled earlier, but had to cancel two appointments because of significant conflicts.) My question has to do with the appearance of the stitches. It sounds like swelling and bruising might not be too bad (although I had a friend who bruised badly and felt like she couldn’t leave the house for a month!), but I don’t want to start the semester looking like the Bride of Frankenstein. Should I re-schedule my procedure…again? I will see my perio. today and will ask him, too, but he is a rather cavalier sort, so I expect him to downplay what I might expect. I agree with what others have said. This site is extremely helpful!

    1. THAT is a tough question. My bruising was minimal but I also think it has a lot to do with how careful the surgeon and assistant(s) are. I suspect that mine was due to pulling my cheek away from my teeth, since mine was in the back. They used that brace thing, but I could see how they might lean on it during surgery to get to my back teeth, or something like that. I would hesitate to suggest you postpone it, if you have already rescheduled. And I had a silly putty type thing over my stitches so no one saw them. Would love to hear what others suggest!

  48. So…I met with my periodontist yesterday. He measured my gums and saw no change from our last consultation, which was a year ago. He said that given the lack of dramatic change, it would be ok to put it off, but in the end we decided to do the work in two procedures. In a couple of weeks, he will do #6, and in early December, he will do #s 9, 10 and 11.

    My main concern was that the stitches in the front of my mouth would be hideous looking and my new students would be repulsed; I think doing the one tooth should not make the same visual impact as four! He didn’t say anything about a silly putty-like covering, but I will ask. The other obvious issue was terror. He has agreed to give me valium in advance, including for the night before, and that is a big relief. He said he thought I would be less anxious about the December procedure once I got through the first and saw it was not so traumatic. I’ll be the judge of that!

    The other thing he said, which I think your readers will be interested to know, is that people planning to have this procedure should not take aspirin or ibuprofin the week before. They should also avoid dark green veggies, garlique, flax seed oil, fish oil…things that are believed to thin the blood. I wonder if this also affects bruising?

    I will keep you posted on my progress. Thanks again for this thread. It helped me know what questions to ask.

  49. This is my 3rd gum graft procedure in 3 years. I am currently healing from my 3rd.

    1st procedure: 3 teeth left side (total of 6 teeth) top and bottom with Alloderm. Got infected excruciating pain. Was not given antibiotics. Went to my dentist who put me on penicillin and then the infection went away.

    2nd procedure: Same as above. Healing time was a breeze. Was given antibiotics and Peridex. No problems at all.

    Fast forward 3 years later: My left side is totally receeded again, but its only 1 tooth top and bottom (total of 2 teeth)

    This time the donor site was the roof of my mouth. ITS THE WORST PAIN EVER. I have stitches on the roof of my mouth and it feels like someone kicked me there. Its awful. The recipient site looks good, no pain there, it’s mostly the donor site. I’m on the 3rd day of healing and I experienced the worst migraine of my life.

    So, I haven’t had the greatest experience with it the 3rd time 🙁

  50. Just had mine done 3 days ago and i feel absolutely fantastic. (I’m 18 and well… genetics/braces/stress/ a little hard brushing screwed up my gums) i had to get 4 bottom teeth grafted. I have stitches on the roof of my mouth/ have a stint/ havent bled from up there either. I’m really in no pain at all (as i’ve been keeping up with the allotted pain medicine time) and my mom is also a nurse so that helps. Also, halcyon is your friend when it comes to the surgery time. I had mine mixed with anti-nassau medicine and i vaguely remember the surgery (except funnily enough when they were stitching my pallet up and i was thinking… i can do this again anyday)
    Don’t be afraid. It’s not bad at all.

  51. I just got a gum graft done on two of my front lower teeth on Wednesday. I took 2 Halcion pills an hour and a half before my surgery and was told that I would most likely be out of it and not remember a thing. However, all it did was make me kind of sleepy and slightly clumsy and I remember the whole thing. The tissue came from the upper left of the roof of my mouth and I didn’t get any stitches from the donor area. The periodontist put that putty stuff over the entire front of the bottom of my teeth. I wasn’t in any pain during the surgery though. I was given Lortab and had to take ibuprofen every 8 hours. I was also given some rinse to use every morning and night. Wednesday and Thursday I was in minimal pain and ate mostly yogurt and pudding and some Velveeta shells and cheese. I slept a lot those days too. Friday I felt surprisingly good and even went out with some friends that night to Zaxby’s and drank a milk shake. Saturday morning, I wake up with excrutiating pain in my donor site. Taking medicine hardly helps the pain at all. Since then I have been in major pain that will not subside. I don’t know why it decided to be fine the first few days and then start to hurt like heck. It doesn’t look infected, but I’m going to call the periodontist in the morning as soon as the office opens. I am hoping that he will be able to help in some way, but it sounds like I may have to just tough it out. I hope the pain doesn’t last much longer, because I can’t take many more horrible days and sleepless nights.

  52. Ok, I picked up my Valium today to take prior to my gum graft on Friday. Got my antibiotic script and a script for Dolobid for pain. Doesn’t seem like much of a pain killer. Hope I am making this into something much worse than it will be. Dentist makes it seem like a walk in the park. Only time will tell. Can’t wait until it is over.

  53. I had a free gingival graft on Tuesday (today is Thursday). I had the 5 lower front teeth grafted with tissue from my palate. I had only novocain and I felt nothing. I kept my eyes closed during the procedure and didn’t see anything. Prior to the procedure I filled scripts for antibiotics and painkillers and the doc gave me 800 mg Motrin when I left the office. They covered the graft and the donor site with “putty”. On Tuesday afternoon, my face was slightly swollen and I felt uncomfortable but didn’t need to take anything stronger than Motrin. On the 2nd day, I made carrot soup and ate that and Ensure. Tonight I made Sloppy Joes and ate that for dinner. My chin still feels a little swollen but other than that, I feel fine. I took a 3 mile walk this morning and plan to start running tomorrow. My doctor did warn me that some patients complain of pain from the donor site the week after the surgery but so far, this experience has been relatively painless.

  54. Had on gum graft down today. Only 1 tooth in the back of my mouth. Took tissue from next to it. I took valium before the procedure, had nitros oxide during the procedure. Felt nothing but did feel the strings from the sutures on my face. Went home, went to sleep, woke up fe hours later feeling sore. Took the 2 pills for pain as prescribed and have felt ok for the rest of the day. I have been able to eat with no problems. Guess all my worrying was for nothing.

  55. I wanted to post here because I read so many horror stories before I got the surgery. I had the surgery done yesterday on two teeth. I was under nitris gas and novacain. It was absolutly no problem at all. I brought headphones to listen to music and was completely numbed and the gas made me not care about anything. Only suggestion is use the bathroom beforehand.

    Pain is so minimal and manageable. I am sure tomorrow and the next couple days it will start to hurt more. Thats the way any injury or healing goes. Pain doesnt kick in until later. But I dont think it will be too bad.

    I am writing this because I was having major anxiety before surgery…enough to almost cancel the appointment. Its really nothing serious at all and just seems like it will be terrible. But its easy and not very painful at all. If you are at risk for bone loss, I would recommend going through with the surgery and remember, its a pretty simple procedure, don’t let it get you too anxious, its not bad at all

    1. Yay! I’m so glad you had a good experience. I had anxiety too because, frankly, it’s just a gross surgery. I almost wish they didn’t explain it to me beforehand. That is what really freaked me out. I’m sure your comment will help others in the same boat so thanks for posting!

  56. Hooray! I had my gum graft on Monday. I had a valium the night before, one an hour before the procedure and another just before it began. I was not completely calm, but certainly calmer than I would have been otherwise. The perio. administered novocaine, and it certainly wasn’t as bad as the experiences some people have described. I was given a prescription for vicodin for pain…I started before the novocaine was due to wear off and took one every four hours after the procedure for the first day. I slept well that night, have had no pain and have been managing to eat tasty pureed soups of various sorts. There is no need to starve!

    The stitches at my donor site come out on Wednesday.

    I did look in the mirror this morning and wonder how you know if your graft is “taking.”

    Thanks, all.

    1. Great news! I remember thinking that the graft was covering up quite a bit of my tooth. However, it eventually “settled” to look more normal. I was scared to floss for a while, but at my follow up appointment maybe 1 month or so later (I can’t remember) the dental assistant really went to town with the floss. It hurt a little bit, but they said it was ok to do. Now it’s fine, though I’m still way gentler than she was!

  57. Great article. I just had two gum grafts done,
    Was a breeze (after everything that I was told
    by several people, I was expecting something
    much worse.) The doctor was great!!
    Was back at work the next day.
    Just counting down the days until I
    can go out for a pizza!!!!

  58. Well here I am at 1 am reading about gum graft surgery since my daughter (age 25) has to go thru it tomorrow am. She is terrified…….she had one upper tooth done 2 years ago with her own tissue……was a horrible experience…..I heard her moaning as I sat in the waiting room 🙁 This time its 6 bottom front teeth, different peridentist, and IV sedation. He did measure her for a stent and already filled 2 prescriptions for pain……600mg Ibuprofen and Percocet. She will be using tissue from her palate 🙁 But there isnt much of a choice….according to Dr. the alloderm doesnt take well to front teeth and can create worse problems ( I also noticed growing lawsuits from its use) We have the stent, she is being IV sedated, I have pain meds ready and a well stocked fridge of cold soft smooth foods. But I too am anxious. She has a low pain tolerance….I guess i am just needing to share this with someone……because I dont want her to know Im anxious……but yet I have no one to help me with my anxiety . Thanks for listening. Seeing all the posts where the stent made a difference is reassuring…….she didnt have that first time around……just pink plastic dressing that hardened to the site. But then it was only 1 tooth……now its 6…….:(

      1. Hi….my daughters surgery went smoothly……thank god for the IV sedation. Today is the 3rd day and the pain seems worse today than yesterday or the day of. She is drinking cold fluids ok……and is icing the area constantly. The stent does seem to make a world of difference since she is mainly complaining of graft site pain. She is to rinse the area very gently 2 times a day with Listerine and has been doing that . Was anyones graft site MORE painful as days past and is this normal? She has some swelling, no bleeding……I think it has gone sooooooo much better than the one top tooth 2 years ago. Thank you so much for listening and your words of support 🙂

  59. Hi……Three days post op of my daughters gum graft surgery (6 lower front teeth used her own palette tissue) and her biggest complaint is a terrible headache. Even the 800 mg Ibuprofen every 6 and oxycodone with tylenol isnt touching it. Its 3 am Monday am and plan on calling Dr as soon as office opens. She is still using ice to her lower chin and an ice bag to her head most of the past 24 hours. I was just wondering if any one else had an awful headache that surfaced 3 days after procedues? Thank you

  60. Just had this gum graft procedure done yesterday after putting it off for 10 years! My hygenist, who I’ve seen for 20 years, told me to suck it up and just do it or I might lose my tooth. I only had one tooth done on the lower front. Having this blog to read was helpful to prepare and know what to expect. Immediately after the surgery when the novacaine was wearing off I had some pain, so I took 800 mg of Ibuprofen then and once during the night. I filled the serious pain meds just in case. This morning the pain had substantially subsided and I went to work as normal. Doing the mouth rinse thing and eating some of the stuff other folks mentioned: Boost, yogurt, instant potatoes and soup. At work today I started getting hungry and tried to eat some cold turkey slices. That was difficult with the stent in as I can’t chew much. What would have normally taken me 2 seconds to eat took a half an hour. I’m glad it’s over with and hope I never have to do it again, but it’s definitely not as bad as getting wisdom teeth pulled or several other medical procedures.

  61. I’d have to agree with ALL of the other people on here praising the information provided by the author. I wish I would have looked online more before getting mine done. I was told it wasn’t as bad as wisdom teeth removal, but what never occurred to me is that I’ve never had wisdom teeth removed, so I have no frame of reference!

    I did have four teeth extracted as a teenager when I got braces, and other fillings and such. I also had a crown when I was 9 years old when I fell playing on a concrete surface, so I’ve never been terribly afraid of dental procedures, but this one had me nervous as hell, primarily because I’ve never been sedated for a dental procedure.

    I had a conscious sedation, and at one point the IV slipped out. I remember them reinserting it into a different vein, and I remember many of the sensations of the procedure, but no pain because they did such a great job of numbing the area.

    I just had mine done yesterday, and I will say that there were a couple of things I wish I would have known. I was told I could eat pasta and mashed potatoes the first week. WRONG. As the blogger and many others stated – be prepared to be on a totally liquid diet, at least for the first few days. It’s day two and I’m feeling tremendously better than yesterday, but I had no idea how sore I’d be yesterday, and due to the sedation I was not allowed to eat breakfast before the surgery, and when I got home I was so sore and exhausted that the thought of trying to attempt to put something in my mouth was terrifying. I had trouble just drinking water. I was way more of a mess yesterday after the surgery than I had anticipated, probably because I underestimated the intensity of the procedure, which is the opposite of what the original author of this post experienced. I would STRONGLY ADVISE not doing anything – NOTHING – for at least 24 hours after surgery. STAY IN BED, watch movies, and have lots of pure liquid sustenance available – don’t eff around with anything that requires even the slightest amount of chewing, even mushroom soup has chunks in it, and your mouth will NOT want to chew. My mouth could barely open yesterday after the surgery, let alone chew.

    Today I’m feeling much better, but still not in any hurry to chew anything, so more smoothies and tomato soup again! I might try to make my own mushroom soup from scratch and puree the hell out of it, just to get a broader spectrum of nutrition.

    The ONE THING I wish I would have known, was that the donor area on the roof of your mouth WILL BLEED – like, A LOT. I kept changing the gauze but it would just fill up with blood. Finally, after about 4 hours I text messaged a friend of mine who is a dentist, and he told me to apply pressure to the area using my finger and gauze. It totally did the trick. I would have called my peridontist, but I could barely open my mouth, let alone talk! After the bleed stopped I felt more confident about drinking things, and at 5pm last night – 19 hours after my last meal – I was finally able to slurp down a banana smoothie, and it was the best thing I had ever tasted!

  62. Oh, and one more thing – I think the pain and discomfort are related to where the grafting happens. I had a graft on two upper teeth, and one lower, front tooth. I barely feel anything – no discomfort whatsoever – on the top teeth, which are slightly to the right of my mouth, but the lower tooth that is directly in the front of my mouth is the area that is causing me all of the discomfort, and making me not want to open my mouth – which makes tons of sense because it’s connected to the flexible tissue and muscles in the front of your mouth that allows you open and close.

  63. I am going in to have gum grafting on 13 teeth in 2 days. I am getting really nervous not so much about the procedure but the recovery. In reading all of the posts below, it is comforting out there to know that this is done all the time and that my nervousness is normal. Thanks to all of you for posting your comments, they have been really helpful.

  64. First of all, thanks to everyone for posting their stories. I read through this website the day before my surgery, and it really helped me prepare. I had grafting done yesterday in the area of my upper right canine (two teeth). I used only Novacaine and 800mg Ibuprofen. The procedure took about 45 minutes and went very well. The periodontist did stitch both sites and applied a putty on the donor area, which was on the inside of the teeth being grafted. Since then I have had little bleeding and pain. The putty is still in place, and I am taking 800 mg Ibuprofen every 8 hours. It usually bothers me more when I am active or after eating. I am pain free while resting and had no problem sleeping last night. The dentist did not give me any eating restrictions, only to chew on the other side, but I have been careful anyway. I am back at work today, although a little sleepy. Overall it was extremely successful, which is good since I have to do it again on the other side soon.

  65. Well. I’ve read all the comments and did not come upon one that described what happen to me.
    I went in Thurs for my first of 5 grafting’s. I am having the surgeries done at a well renowned College of Dentistry. They ARE being done by a periodontal doctor, but I’m not sure if he’s a “real board certified dr” yet. He is very knowledgeable though and I feel really comfortable knowing he was going to do the procedures. My 1st procedure was to get the whole bottom gum-line done. He gave me 800 mg Ibuprofen and novacaine to the areas of the surgery. (tissue would be coming from my upper palate). Well…everything started out hunky dory with no pain at all. I then became very anxious and nervous and all of a sudden just started shaking really really bad. He kept asking me if everything was ok and I nervously said yes, but I knew what I must have been having is a panic attack. He then said he would try nitrous but for some reason all that did was make me feel like I was going to pass out. So he stopped the nitrous (I think) and tried to continue with the procedure, but the shaking would not stop. A “real” dr came in to see how things were going and when he saw what was going on told my dr to stop. Well, he had basically only prepared the bottom roll to take the grafts, so he stitched up the whole bottom roll of my teeth and put the putty on for protection. He said we will try it again, BUT next time he will use IV sedation. Well, I know now that my next grafting’s will all be IV sedation. I’m 3 days out from having the above done and still feel lightheaded and weak from only having soft foods (no chewing at all) mostly Boost, puddings, scramble eggs, yogurt and ice cream. I’ve taken nothing for the pain, but really haven’t had any other than swelling and tenderness around the stitches. Just taking Aleve and rinsing with the solution.
    So… what I wanted to know is, if there is anyone else that freaked out in the middle of the procedure and if so, what did they do? I’m to go back in 10 days to remove the stitches and then will have the real grafting w/IV sedation the beginning of Dec.
    I do know that where I’m having my procedures done is a teaching college, and not a real dr’s office but I’m saving thousands by doing this and I have the utmost confidence in my dr.
    I know it was the panic attack I had that stopped me from getting the entire procedure done. If anyone else has been through something similar to my experience I would be interested in knowing how it turned out for you. I will come back on this board once I have the new 1st grafting completed and share my experience both pre-op and post-op.

    1. As far as I’ve read, you’re the only one that commented so far regarding having a panic attack. However, it can’t be uncommon and I would love to hear more from others. Really sorry this happened to you!

  66. Hi, I just had gum graft surgery on 4 teeth on bottom left side. I also got the plastic piece to cover the roof of my mouth which I’m sure helps with the discomfort of the stitches. I only had a relaxer pill the night before and morning of surgery and the shots to numb my gums. I was given an antibiotic and predisone to prevent infection and swelling. I was to use the small ice pack on and off every 20 minutes the first day. I only took cold drinks like “Boost” water and iced tea the first day of surgery. I only took 1 ultracet pain pill after numbing wore off. I did not need the pain pills the remainder of the day or night. I need to swab my stitches 4x a day but no mouth wash. The is the day after surgery and I feel great! I didn’t even bruise or swell which the Dr. said with my fair skin I would probably bruise. Do not be afraid of this surgery, it is easy.

  67. I read this past and all the comments last night before my grafting procedure and I want to thank La Jolla Mom and all the commenters for all that you wrote. It made me feel a lot better going into my procedure today. I thought I’d add my experience here too, since I had mine done with just novocaine and want to reassure anyone facing a procedure done that way.

    I had my own tissue – from the roof of my mouth – grafted on to 5 bottom molars. I still have 4 more to do on the top, but I have to wait for the roof of my mouth to heal (and I get more of it covered by insurance if the second procedure is after the new year). I have no stent and no putty- stuff. There is nothing at all covering the stitches on the roof of my mouth. Both graft sites have some kind of sticky dressing over them that is supposed to come off by itself.

    I was instructed to start taking 1 extra strength Tylenol and 600mg Ibuprofen every 6 hours the day before my surgery (antibiotics too). I think this is supposed to both help me keep ahead of the pain, and minimize any swelling. So far I am a little sore, but no real pain, and minimal swelling. I have a prescription for Vicodin, but I haven’t taken any yet (though I might at bedtime, just to make sure I don;t have pain overnight).

    As for the procedure itself, Iwill definitely second LJM’s recommendation for earbuds – though I had very little pain during the procedure, the sounds were not that pleasant, so I was glad to have something else to listen to. The novocaine going in was a little rough, particularly into the roof of my mouth. But I was prepared for that (I had my wisdom teeth out with only novocaine 20 years ago – I’m not a hero, just more scared of the drugs than the pain). I kept my eyes closed for most of it – I just didn’t want to see anything.

    The novocaine hurt, and there was also a part when he put some chemical on the root of the tooth (before putting on the graft) and that felt sort of weird. He said not everyone feels that part. Even though I did, it wasn’t bad.

    Since I got home, I’ve been icing my face every 15 minutes (as instructed), so that maybe helping with the swelling too.

    Overall, not as bad as I had feared. And thanks again to all of you for sharing your storied. It really helped me sleep more easily last night!

  68. Thank you for having this blog and thanks to all who wrote about their experiences! My Dentist told me that he didn’t recommend me to have a gum graft because it is very painful and doesn’t always work, he has scheduled me to have fillings put in the gaps where my gums have receded. I over brushed my teeth and caused this myself apparently. Healthy teeth and gums otherwise. From looking online and this blog I now question what the Dentist said about the graft not always working and will definitely get a second or third opinion on this. I now understand that an alternative to using skin from the roof of your mouth is possible and that there are different approaches to the gum grafts, i.e. stitches or no stitches, I just have yet to find out if they do the alternative method in my city in Ireland, Alloderm I believe? Thanks so much. I will be cancelling my appointment to have the gums filled in and making a new appointment with another Dental Clinic perhaps with more modern techniques, I will enquire on the phone first, now I have an idea what I am talking about. I’d like to hear any comment on what my Dentist told me. Thanks again.

    1. I have heard that the graft is not a complete guarantee, though if you maintain it well I’m sure your odds are better of it lasting. I have also never heard of using fillings instead, but maybe that’s just not the way it’s done in the US. Would be interested to hear if anyone else had a filling in lieu of a gum graft.

    2. Hi Clair, I just wanted to offer some personal experience of my own considering the majority of these testimonials are about how great of an experience they all had. I had a different experience of my own and I want to share. This way you get both sides. I just had my surgery 7 days ago. I had both sides of my bottom gums graphed and they harvested the tissue from MY pallet. in my consultation the doctor and his assistant assured me this would be no big deal and i would be able to return to work in 1-2 days (and they described the pain as slight discomfort but no worse than a little pizza burn) Not the case at all! Just went in to see my surgeon this morning for an early follow up because i’m still in extreme pain and the percocet they gave me doesn’t help much. I only sleep for two hours at a time then have to get up and take more meds and use more of the numbing gel the doc prescribed. I have not eaten anything but ensure/boost meal shakes since the procedure. Turns out my doc and his team lied about how bad the recovery would be for me to make sure i didn’t back out. I would have much rather been prepared and known what to expect as opposed to being left in the dark. I give your dentist credit for being honest, but i would definitely get a second opinion just to put your mind at ease. Because if your problem doesn’t require the extensive surgical procedure and you can take the less painful way out then do it girl! 🙂 What ever you chose Good Luck and I hope sharing my experience was able to help you.

  69. I guess it all boils down to the doctor and the condition of one’s mouth and how each of us respond to the tx.
    Twenty years ago, I had the “Gum Graft from Hell” experience – no mention was made about unconscious sedation, gas, or even post-op pain meds. Just sit down here, novacaine in the roof of my mouth and in my gum – a strip of my pallet was removed then attached to my gum. To this day I remember every gory detail and feeling of that proceedure and the weeks to come of the pain in the bare spot on my pallet. I swore after that that I would prefer to loose my teeth than go through that again.
    So – everytime a dentist mentioned that I needed to see a periodontist, I though very ugly thoughts, and refused.
    But as bad luck would have it, I really was about to reach a point with my bottom front teeth that if something wasnt done, then they really might fall out. My current dentist assured me that things had greatly changed and now it would not be that bad. To make him happy and get me off the hook, I accepted to go to see the periodontist. He explained/described a totally different experience.
    That new and improved experience would involve nitrous and Halcion before proceedure; a stitched up donor site, and, covering over both sites.
    Still took me almost a year to get up the courage!
    Well – I am four days past my surgery, actually enjoying my souped up soups, yogurt, and oatmeal. (and, here in the south we eat lots of grits – added butter)
    The Halcion and the gas were the great secret!!!!! The Lorcet was only needed for the first 24 hours afterward! Then switched to ibuprofen – today, I am doing so well, that I think I wont take anything. All I really feed is a little stinging.
    This “modern” proceedure has been so stress-free and easy, that I am actually thinking about going ahead and doing the other two teeth as soon as this heals.
    And, I might add, thanks to the gas and Halcion, I have a lot more memories of the proceedure from 20 years ago than I do of the one four days ago – THIS IS WONDERFUL!
    (well, almost anyway).

  70. I just had my gum graft yesterday morning. I opted to be sedated, which I am not even sure was necessary. I did know what was going on during the surgery, but felt no pain or anything. (after the surgery, I was zonked stoned out for about 5 hours though!) The dentist was to do my four front teeth. The dentist spent a grand total of 40 minutes on me and the procedure was over. She used a other graft material, not my own gum from the roof of my mouth. I was really happy for that because I was afraid that would be the worst part of the recovery. I have had ZERO pain, and am only taking ibuprfen becuase I was told to take it three times a day whether I have pain or not. I only have a slight feeling like I bumped my chin on the door and it is a bit tender. I cannot eat too many solid foods, so I am sticking to jello, ice cream, puddings, soup, things like that. I was given vicodin, but do not need it. I was also given a Medrol Pack, an antibiotic, and the special mouthwash. I had a ton of fears going into this surgery and so far, I am doing just fine!!!

  71. All of the comments on here are reassuring. I will be undergoing a gum graft before the end of the year. Mine is caused by overbrushing, and I need 7 in total done. I’m splitting the procedure up into two sessions, though.

    Can anyone share what the cost of the procedure was? I have been quoted at a little over $1,000 per tooth, and wanted to see how this compared to other periodontists. I had no idea that this procedure was this expensive.


    1. Hi Jeff,
      It was about $650 per tooth for my daughters surgery back in September. This was a clinic in suburban Milwaukee. She had 6 lower teeth done at once using her own tissue for the graft. The IV sedation (was a godsend) was an additional $1000. Good luck with your procedure……take your pain meds , hydrate and lay low for a few days. 🙂

  72. jeff I’m doing one Monday on 6 teeth. 3000- The perio charges 1450 for each continous segment including the alloderm. Make sure you find someone who charges per quadrant. Per tooth is unnecessary. It’s not a filling . Watch the youtube videos doing 1 tooth isn’t significantly shorter than 3.

    1. I believe I was at about $1800 for my two teeth, however, I expected a slight premium due to the Dr. I chose. This included several follow up visits, medications and a cleaning.

  73. I paid $2175 for the following: two lower front teeth that used my own donor tissue from the roof of my mouth, and either 3 or 4 uppers that used cadaver material. My insurance paid for most of it, like 80%, and I was out about $600 myself. I wouldn’t let them pay ME $600 to go through that again, for the sheer fact of the roof of my mouth was horrendously painful. My story was told in June I think, above. The actual graft sites never bothered me, and removing the stitches later was a breeze. That palate donor site was the part that counted – and it got worse as the graft sites got better. 🙁 Plan ahead for the slop to eat – and I mean smooth stuff, no chunks, and get some Ensure to really get up your calories/protein to keep up your strength. It made the difference for me. Bottom line: if you’re using your own palate material, get a covering of some kind for it – just ask your periodontist for it, and don’t let him/her talk you out of it like mine did thinking that it was a tiny patch coming off. Mine apologized later for talking me out of it, but that wasn’t much consolation after nearly starving to death (or so it seemed) and being in more pain than was necessary.

  74. I am so happy to have found this site prior to my scheduled surgery on Dec. 5th., when I am going to have grafting done on two upper teeth and one lower. I am not looking forward to this at all, but most of the comments here have been positive, so I’m a little less anxious. I have chosen to have cadaver tissue used, and from reading the comments about most of the pain being at the site where the tissue is taken for the graft, I am happy with my decision. My periodontist has prescribed Halcion for the surgery and advised me to take Ibuprofen for pain afterwards. I am wondering if this will be adequate sedation and pain relief. I have Percocet from a previous, unrelated surgery and may ask about taking that if the Ibuprofen does not do the trick. Someone suggested taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen the day before surgery, so perhaps I will do that. I think the hardest thing for me will be the liquid/soft diet afterwards. I guess a trip to the grocery store is in order! Thanks to everyone who has posted the helpful information and positive comments about this surgery. It doesn’t seem quite so scary to me now!

    1. The thing about the diet – I was so panicked about disturbing the sites (roof of mouth and graft area) that I didn’t really WANT to eat anything solid. Because of that, I don’t remember longing for anything my daughter or husband ate, which is rare for me. I did a juice cleanse once and thought I was going to die. 🙂 Good luck! Oh and I only took Ibuprofen afterward because I wasn’t in much of any pain, but I know others here have needed stronger pain relief.

    2. Re: taking ibuprofen before the surgery, my periodontist instructed me not to take ibuprofen during the week before the surgery, or to eat or drink anything associated with blood thinning–no alcohol, and no dark greens, no flax seed, for example. I don’t know if there is any relationship, but I followed his advice and healed very, very quickly, with no swelling and no bruising. I had no pain, either at the donor site on the roof of my mouth or at the graft site. I didn’t even need ibuprofen. Of course, I had only one tooth done. I’m having three done next week, so I might sing a different tune after that!

      1. Thank you. I remember reading your previous comment about avoiding anything that could thin the blood a week prior to surgery. I have discontinued taking my fish oil, 81mg. aspirin and using flax seed for the time being. I wish you the best with your surgery next week–may we both come through it in good shape!

  75. Thank you, La Jolla Mom. Since the tissue is not being taken from the roof of my mouth, as I’m getting cadaver tissue, I’m hoping that I won’t experience the kind of pain others have mentioned, including you. How long was it before you could eat a more normal diet? Thanks!

  76. If only I had found this site before my surgery to better prepare myself for the post-op period. I had my bottom front tooth done 6 days ago and the donor graft was taken from the roof of my mouth, the pallate. I have been experiencing excruciating pain which has intensified in the last few days. I have been attempting to relieve it with panadeine forte, paracetamol, nurofen, nurofen with codeine, despite all of this ( alternating every 4-6 hours) the donor site is still causing me severe pain. Is this normal? On two occasions the pallate has oozed a bit of blood which I believe could be from seasoned food. The graft site however is painfree and looks like it’s healing but hard to tell because it is in the stage where the tissue is sloughing. Please if anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with this pain let me know. Thanks!

  77. Tora83, I’m sorry you are having so much pain. I had grafting done yesterday on 3 teeth (2 upper, 1 lower) and I am fairing better than you are, apparently. However, they used donor tissue for me, so I am not dealing with the pallate pain.

    I took Oxycodone twice yesterday, but today I am on 800mg. Ibuprofen, which is controlling my pain effectively. It probably wouldn’t touch yours though. I’m so sorry you are in great pain and that I can offer no helpful suggestions. Try to hang in there and hopefully someone else will have some helpful hints.

  78. had mine done today 8:50 now 6:30 not feeling much pain there is some swelling. auth0r is correct take the halcion and valium i had mine without anything but local u dont feel any pain but the sensations are scarey ill have nightmares forever.so take the meds and have it done

  79. Thanks for your suggestions I’m pretty much painfree now. Day 10 post-op the sloughy tissue has fallen off and I’m now concerned because there has been little change to the tooth with receeding gums. Should I be worried or does it take a little while to heal properly and to notice a change? I really don’t want to go through this procedure ever again

  80. I recently got a gum graft. I had put it off for 16 yrs because I was so scared of it, and my tooth had become wobbly. As it turns out, it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be! They take the tissue from the roof of your mouth from underneath a pocket of outer gum and then stitch it back closed again, so that way your tongue doesn’t keep rubbing on it. This makes the procedure way less painful then it was years ago. The roof of my mouth barely hurt at all. Don’t delay it if you need it, everyone! You will be so relieved when it’s done!!

  81. This made me feel a little better> (except for what they actually do part kinda gave me chills)…. getting a gum graft on my front bottom of my mouth in a week and some minor bone shaving down? yeaaa… major pansy when it comes to my mouth…

  82. I posted back in Oct about my exp with gum grafting and I had a panic attack. Well, I just had the procedure done again 10 days ago with much better results. I opted for the IV sedation and it was wonderful. I was aware of everything going on but did not feel a thing (except the numbing needle, but was tolerable). I had the whole bottom roll of my teeth done using tissue from palate. No stitches on the donor area, just some kind of steri strip dsg and a stint. Had alot of stitches on the bottom then covered very well with putty. The first night was bad (I threw up twice) but I think it was from the large dose of Ibuprofen and Tylenol w/codeine. Had big time swelling until day 5 and then swelling was pretty much gone. I iced like a crazy person and I strongly encourage anyone to do the same. After the first night I did not take anymore Ibuprofen but did take the Tylenol w/codeine as needed for the pain (for me…as needed was 1 pill every 8-10 hrs). On the 3rd night, I felt like I was running a fever but I called my dr and he said to drink gatorade, take reg tylenol, warm salt rinses and ice, ice, ice. This all did the trick and the next day I was fine. I did end up taking an extra 2 days off from work and was very happy that I did. (If you have more than one or two teeth done like I did, I would strongly suggest taking a whole week, plus the weekend off).
    In regards to diet…well, everything that has been posted on this website is correct. Liquid type foods and soft foods for at least 1-2 weeks. The Ensure’s, Boost and Starbucks coffee drinks were great as well as mash (soupy)potatoes, ice cream, smoothies, puddings, etc. You can basically not count on “biting or chewing” any kind of food period for 1-2 weeks. I would put something like yogurt in my mouth and just swallow. No chewing whatsoever.
    I got my stitches out yesterday and also took my stint off from my palate (oh..I loved the stint..it made a huge difference!). My doctor was very pleased with the graft site and said it looked great. He said to not pull on my lip for a few days to look at it due to the healing process.
    I have also opted to use Alloderm (cadaver tissue) for my next procedure in April. The reason behind this is my dr said I have a very small mouth and there is not enough donor tissue for my top teeth.
    Oh, I also had just the rinse (Periodex?) and no antibiotics or steroids.
    One more thing. I explained in my last post that I had my procedure done at a college of Dentistry (Grad Periodontal). My dr and the assistants were great! And the total cost for preop/postop for the entire roll of my lower mouth was $850! My next procedure using the Alloderm will be $1050 (upper front teeth). If you have no dental insurance like me, I highly suggest checking on this if you are near a good college as I was.
    Good luck to everyone and I’ll be back in April after my next graft.

  83. Hi Cheryl–Glad to hear that all went so well for you! One thing you mentioned caught my attention–icing–as I was told NOT to ice, as this would impede blood flow to the surgical site and slow healing. Obviously, I did not ice, as per these instructions, and experienced some swelling and bruising. I was also advised to eat a soft and/or liquid diet for a “week or so.” My surgery was done on Dec. 5th. on three sites and I will be seeing the periodontist on the 18th. for re-check and any necessary suture removal. I also had the “bubble gum” putty dressings, two of which have come off, with one remaining. Since I had Alloderm grafting, that eliminated one source of pain. I used the hydrocodone for the first day only, then switched to Ibuprofen 800mg., which effectively controlled my pain/discomfort. I guess I will find out on Monday how well I’m doing and if the grafts have been successful. I wish you continued healing and the best in April!

  84. Hello helpful posters,
    As so many have said, it is very comforting to have words from the “wise” about the grafting procedure, thank you all. Mine isn’t due for about a month and though I’m not looking forward to it I no longer dread it after reading about your experiences.

    I do have a question, if anyone can advise. I need a tooth extracted on the same side of my mouth and think I should get this done close to the time of the graft, probably before. Both in the same week (?) to help eliminate 2 separate procedures needing 2 separate recovery periods. Thoughts?
    What do you think?

  85. I had my surgery Tuesday, would never have it done again. Worst pain 6days after it,pain is like a 9out of 10. Medicine isn’t working this has been the worst experience ive ever had. I bled all the next day after the surgery.

    1. so as of friday the 23rd a piece of my gum graft fell out so im thinking I will have to have this whole horrible experinece done again

  86. I had my second procedure done on December 9. I am so sorry to read about Victoria’s horrible experience. I have to say that mine was exactly the opposite. I had three teeth done. For the procedure I had only valium and I felt pretty calm once the novcain was administered–I found that to be the worst part. Afterward, I used hydrocodone during the first day, not because I felt pain but so that I could keep it at bay, just in case. The next day I felt fine and didn’t even need ibuprofen. I had a soft, gel-y ice pack that I kept on that side of my face-15 minutes on, 15 minutes off. I did have a bit of swelling but nothing anyone but me noticed. I ate soft foods for two days and I hate to say it, but I’m eating normally now and have been for almost a week.

    I wish I could identify what, exactly, was different about my procedure and Victoria’s. Reading some of the earlier posts, for example, about excessive bleeding from the donor site, or significant pain there. My perio. stitched my donor site and I had no bleeding at all. Within four days two of my stitches on the donor site came out and a week later I had the last two out. These posed no problems. I didn’t have a stent but I didn’t feel I needed one.

    Honest, I’m not gloating here! I just wish that, together, we could figure out the ingredients for an excellent procedure and one that is a nightmare.

  87. I have had a total of 3 grafts to the same general area (front lower teeth). The first two surgeries I used donor tissue from my palate applied to the front of the teeth. The surgery went alright … but I recall that it was difficult (the pain and not eatting), but it’s hard to recall, now that I’m dealing with the 3rd one. I had the 3rd graft last week (Wed) and used the Alloderm (donor tissue) option. I must admit this is a far better option, as you only have one place in your mouth that needs to heal (I had front and lingual areas done at the same time). It is now day six and I am in pain. I’m concerned that something is wrong because of that pain. I just went and brushed (avoiding the graft area and there was quite a bit of blood). I rinsed with salt water and it seemed to stop. My perio is closed this week – so I’m concerned that I’m doing something wrong. I take an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory (with pain medication in it, I think) twice a day and rinse with salt water. Starting tomorrow, I’m to use a rinse in that area – Periox or something (I havn’t treated the area otherwise).

  88. Tamara–I had to take an antibiotic for 10 days. If you are bleeding, there may be a risk of infection. I am about 3 1/2 weeks post grafting on 3 areas using the Alloderm and I am getting along just fine and never had any bleeding. I’m sorry you are having difficulties and wish I had some good advice for you.

    1. Thanks, mp327 for your reply. Since yesterday (day 6) I have indeed been taking an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory twice per day. I do think that the bleeding subsidedby my rinsing two or three times right afterward with salt water. That seemed to stop any bleeding. I guess it’s possible I got too close to the edge of the area and disturbed some of the graft – but today seems fine. I also have far less pain than I did yesterday. It is so much better not having the two surgical sites. I was kind of looking forward to losing some weight, but the Alloderm graft seems to be far less painful to recover from and I cannot believe how far up the perio was able to place my new gums! The wonders of medicine and technology! If we were in the 1920’s they’d just pull them all out! I’m thankful for this board, I know I am not alone and really appreciate your experience and input!

  89. Hi Tamara–I’m glad to hear that today is going better than yesterday. I do think you must be extremely careful not to disturb the grafted area. Perhaps that’s what caused your bleeding. I have had to stop myself from running my tongue over the grafts. If it’s any consolation, I did not lose any weight because of mine either! I am now able to eat almost anything, but have avoided anything crunchy or sharp for obvious reasons. I still have some redness, especially on the lower area, but everything looks pretty good. Were you advised to massage your gums, either on your previous surgery or this time? I am to massage my gums once daily with gauze soaked in the rinse I was given. I think it has helped to pull my gums down in the affected areas. I hope you continue to see improvement and that the worst is behind you now!

    1. Thanks, mp327 for your reply. I have not (this time nor the last two tijes been instructed to massage gums. The stitches are coming out and bothering me – but I will get them out on Tuesday (can hardly wait). I can feel that the graft (lingual side) is quite lumpy. But like you said, you try not to disturb the tissue. The rinse seems to have helped with the pain too! I’ll ask on Tuesday about massaging the gums! Thanks for your insight, experience and kindness. Have a happy, healthy, safe New Year!

  90. Hey everyone,

    I had a gum graft this am. I found this site and wanted to share my story! It went pretty well. I had my lower teeth done. They took skin from the roof of my mouth. Hey numbed me first before injecting the novacaine, thank god, and I had about 9 or so injections total. I didn’t feel them until the last shot in my pallet which felt like paralyzed my entire right side
    of my face into my nose. It was a weird feeling and painful but that was the worst of it. The stitching afterwards I felt pressure burnout was manageable. Afterwards I was given a rx for Vicodin and a goody bag of soft tooth brush, ice pack, gauze ad a list of instructions. My fiancé went with me, I didn’t want to drive! Although I was fine. He also put this silly putty dressing on the wound on my pallet and surgery site and it’s suppose to come off alone over time. After the surgery inexperienced a lot of bleeding and had a “spit cup” for about 5 hours. I am starving and have been eating soup all day, but even that is bothersome. I got this done in CT so if anyone reading this lives here I suggest dr Brete Moran, he’s awesome and very nice! I have to go back next week to get the stitches out. Overall I was not a bad experience at all! Hey it was either the surgery or have my teeth fall
    out at a later age. Good luck everyone! You will be fine!!

  91. By the way i was told to ice my face the day after for 15 mins on and 15 mins off to reduce the swelling. And I spent 300 dollars out of pocket, my insurance covered a lot of it!!

  92. Tamara–When my stitches were working their way out, they bothered me too. I hope yours will all be removed on Tuesday. I went in on the 19th. for my 2-week follow-up hoping to have mine removed that day. However, the perio decided to let them come out on their own, which they now have. I hope you continue to see improvement! Happy New Year to you too!

  93. I saw perio for follow-up and they were going to let stitches come out on their own, but the threads were in an uncomfortable place and bothering me. The facia (outter) portion looked great. She said the lingual (inside) was still ‘healing’ and didn’t comment on how they looked. Now I see why. I can now put my tongue on it … it is on the wrong teeth or it moved. I’m thinking of visiting my dentist to see if they can tell – as I can’t see the area. Also was thinking of you when I discovered it … wondered if that gauze and antibiotic rinse practice that you had might move it to the correct area. Not sure what to do at this point! Any suggestions? So glad you have this forum … so great to hear how others have/are doing with their surgeries. Thanks in advance for any ideas!

    1. Gosh, I really don’t know what to think about the possibility of the graft moving, but if you feel it has, you should definitely have it looked at. The massage of the gums I do daily is to pull the tissue down on the upper teeth and up on the lower tooth and also to reduce the swelling. My gums are still swollen on the facia side, but looking much better. I would definitely get things checked out if I thought something didn’t look right. I hope everything turns out to be okay for you.

  94. 11 days ago, I had a frenectomy and gum grafting done for 6 teeth using tissue from my hard palate. The out of pocket cost was $626 after what insurance covered. Closed my eyes, so I didn’t feel/see a thing during the procedure besides tiny pinches from the Novacaine shots.

    Over the course of the entire post-op, I have taken 3 OTC Ibuprofens, one on the first day because my jaw was sore from being open for an hour and 40 min, and two taken prophylactically after reading stories about other peoples’ experiences with excruciating, mind-numbing pain.

    I have an extremely low tolerance for pain (I once cried when I woke up with a stiff neck), so I was quite confused when I experienced no pain whatsoever during this past week and a half. Then I realized that the stories that I read were old (5+ years ago). The procedure must have gotten better within the past couple of years, because my palate is now almost completely healed (can push on it with my tongue and it feels normal).

    The only thing is, the recuperation is a bit inconvenient because I’ve been eating probably 6 different variations of noodle soup and congee for the entire time, causing me to lose 7 pounds. My periodontist says that the grafts are looking great and I can start chewing normally in 3 more days.

    Bottom line: After putting it off for 2 years, I’m glad I got it done, and I would recommend using hard palate tissue because it’s much cheaper and there’s no chance for tissue rejection from an autograft. Don’t read old stories about extreme pain. They will make you anxious for no reason.

  95. I’m going to get 8 teeth done on February 8th after my consultation yesterday. Combination of roof of mouth donor and Alloderm as areas are extensive. I would do it sooner but I have important things to do in the coming weeks and cant afford to be out of commission for a couple of days. My periodontist already recommended I bring an Ipod for the procedure. He also gave me a list of things I can eat which are similar to the soft foods listed here by many. Thanks for the blog, it’s very helpful and puts me more at ease. Although I do well with pain… the real pain that’s difficult for me to bear is the pain in the pocketbook. I’ll be forking over $7700 of my own money, insurance will cover the rest -$1500….OUCH! And I guess a fear I have is that the tissue’s wont take and the money is wasted. I’m 40 years old and started having gum recession at 23. I saw a periodontist back then and he recommended the procedure but I just put it off. Now the condition has worsened and I need to get this done. One comment I saw from Clair in Ireland mentioned tooth fillings to cover the root…I saw a dentist in the past in Los Angeles who want to do this. I was going to let him, but luckily for whatever reason I didnt go through with it. I asked my current dentist here in Toronto about that option before she referred me to a periodontist. She told me that fillings cover the root but does not prevent further recession of the gum line, so if the gum recedes further there will be no way to get gum grafts after the fillings are there. So gum grafts would not be an option at all if you opt to go with the cheaper filling method. I think people should be wary of dentists who suggest fillings to fix the problem…maybe the dentist wants to make a bit more $$ from you instead of referring you to a periodontist who should really be the one to treat this problem not a dentist. Also the filling method, I was told, is not as aesthetically pleasing. Just wanted to let that be known in case any one out there decides on going that route.

  96. Good luck to you, Serge! The pricing sounds about right. I am in So Cal (Orange County) and did a lot of research on periodontists, because I’ve already had two grafts (from the roof of my mouth twice) to the very same area. I opted for the Alloderm, as it only leaves you with one location to heal (your gums). Having had them both – I would definitely opt for the Alloderm. It doesn’t seem that they should need to use the tissue from the palate, as the Alloderm is so much larger than any tissue they can obtain from the palate. It has now been a month since I had the alloderm graft and I am SO happy with it. The tissue completely covered the areas that have already been done. It came out a lot better than I had thought that it would. I paid $700 out of pocket (after insurance – they paid 2,300, and I had to pay for the Alloderm $500 roughly), as my insurance co. considered the alloderm experimental. I had four teeth total (2 in the front and 2 on the lingual side – different teeth). I’m still on a somewhat limited diet, but should be completely back to normal in a couple more weeks. All in all you will be very happy you did it. I sure am!

    1. Hi if you dont mind me asking who did you go to? I am in So Cal also and have been told for years to get grafting on my lowers 24&25 I’m terrified!

      1. I went to Garo Sirinian in Solana Beach. We had a few insurance billing snafus but I would go back. I just switched to a new dentist and he said that my graft looks really good so that confirmed for me that it was done well. Good luck!

  97. So I had posted on this site back in december 2011 about my horrible produre and how the graft fell out. Well in a bout a month they are going to redo it but the dentist said she isnt going to take the gum from the roof of my mouth, she is going to infuse the tissue on my reccession area to help grow the gum back up. Has anyone ever heard about this? If this is an option why do they do the gum from the roof of your mouth?

  98. Thanks so much for your gum grafing posts!! They were so helpful in calming my fears – well most of the posts, anyway. Just had my surgery today and it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be. Couldn’t believe that I was actually conscious during the whole thing – amazing. Medicated w/ Halcion – funny the first song I heard on the iPod they gave me was a Doors song – seemed appropriate for the medication! Ha, ha! Didn’t have to take any pain med after the procedure but TOTALLY wiped out this evening, just got up from a 4 hour nap and ready to go back to bed. Thanks again to all!
    My stats: Alloderm only, 4 teeth upper front, right upper and lower molars. Great periodontist in Ft Myers Florida. Going back in May to have lower front and Left upper/lower molars done. Doc said that it’ll be 3 months before I can be on regular diet because of how he had to perform surgery.

  99. Hi, ya’ll! I came across this site after researching tissue grafts. I had my tissue graft this past Friday, January 20th. Everything seemed to go okay. I chose the IV sedation, and I am thrilled that I did. Everything went smoothly and I don’t remember a thing. I just had one tooth done, on my left side. I am wearing a plastic retainer, to protect the site where the tissue was taken from my mouth. The doctor’s instructions for me was to ice it 20 min on 20 min off the first night to help with swelling. I was also told that swelling is common for 2-5 days after surgery. I am on a “soft” food diet for 2 weeks, where I will then be going back for my postoperative visit. I am hoping the stitches will be taken out then. I know every periodontist is different, but mine advised me not to use any mouthwashes, but to rinse my mouth with a combination of lukewarm water and salt. I was concerned about the pain amount yesterday (Day 4) and the nurse assured me that the pain normally peaks around day 3-4. That was encouraging. I must say I do feel better today. I do have one question, and I think I read something about it on here… at the site where my stitches are it appears that my gums have a white-like film covering them. Does anyone know if this is normal? I was told not to brush around the stitches, so I have completely ignored that part of my mouth, only brushing my bottom teeth and my right upper teeth. Do you think this is something I should call the nurse about? Thanks, ya’ll.

  100. Quick question if one of you folks could help me out. I just had a graft 2 weeks ago and the piece of skin that the periodontist stitches onto the recessed tooth – did it slough off and you had new gum underneath? Or did it fuse into new gum? Mine has sloughed off (apparently that’s normal) but the gum around my recessed tooth is still recessed? Does the gum aroud the tooth eventually get thicker and fuse around the tooth?

      1. mine fused into the gum.. i had stitches removed this past friday. The gum looks great, just red around my tooth area and where the stitches were removed… its been a little over 2 weeks since my surgery and it seems to be doing great.

  101. Victoria,

    I don’t like the sounds of your surgical procedure… I would highly recommend NOT letting a dentist perform your surgery! You need to have an experienced periodontist or oral surgeon. Sounds to me like your dentist is using you as a guinea pig (no offense) – it just seems highly suspicious. Has this dentist successfully performed the surgery on others? Maybe you could get a contact from the dentist and call people who he has performed the surgery on previously. Just my opinion after reading your post. I had my 3 mo followup yesterday and it’s looking good and feeling even better, now that the swelling has almost completely diminished. Good luck everyone!

  102. Hello! Love your post and my dentist told me that I have some gum recession on a few of my upper and lower teeth. I was told by my mother’s coworker that this is a horrible procedure (granted I don’t know how long ago she had this done). I feel like it would be better for me to do this now than to wait and the situation get much worse. Suggestions?

  103. I think it’s so true that a lot depends on your periodontist. I just had my 5th (and final, I hope) gum graft on 2 days ago. In all I’ve probably had about 16 teeth done. I used donor tissue for all 5 grafts. I’ve had almost no pain during or after the procedures. Sometimes a bit swollen and bruised for a few days, but only sore if I touched the treated area in a rough manner by accident (like while talking on the phone). My peridontist prescribes anti-inflammatory medication for the day of and 2 days after surgery, as well as a full round of antibiotics, and mouth rinse (chlorohexidrine). I’ve never had to be on a liquid diet after my surgeries (in fact I always felt I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted, as long as I chewed on the other side of my mouth, though I tried to steer clear of the “forbidden” foods, like chips, crusty bread, etc.).

    I should also add that my periodontist uses a tunneling technique for her grafts, rather than a flap technique. She told me this causes less pain and less damage to blood vessels, thus promoting healing. All of my grafts have taken well with no complications or infections. I’m thrilled with the results! Good luck to everyone who is having this procedure done soon.

    1. I need all four quadrants done and am so anxious that I am seeing a psyc. . If you could give me some insight on bruising, swelling, and overall recovery recall I would be very grateful.

  104. Hi I’m supposed to have gum grafting on four bottom teeth soon but very very scared. Was wondering how long to take off work i’m a cashier so afraid that the brusing would be too bad? Are you allowed to talk alot or not? What are you allowed to eat and for how long my dentist said a month and a half is that true? Also have to have something like cut off before the gum grafting has anyone had that done too?

  105. I had a gum graft Tuesday 29 February 2012. I must say it went well. Tissue was taken from my the top of my mouth and placed in the lower from K9 tooth. Where the tissue was taken from was stitched up and puddy placed over that site and the lower front. I have had no pain which was amazing from what I read on previous post. I had no swelling at all.

  106. How long did it take for everyone’s graft to heal? I am about one month post graft, and still have some red gums where the graft was placed. Thank you.

  107. Am I the only one who had this done with just local anesthesia?

    Anyway, I had the procedure on Monday. It is still bleeding a bit, but the pain is really manageable and I was back to work the next day.

    My job does require me to talk a lot. I just hope this graft takes!

    has anybody ever had one not take?

    1. Just an update: Everything healed up nicely. I still have a stitch sticking out of my mouth, but it is resorbing.

      I’m pretty much back to normal, and even have the beginnings of feeling on the grafted tissue.

      1. I got 3 bone graft sites done with just local anesthesia and my periodontist says that the gum graft will be much easier so I’ll just go with local anesthesia again. I like to know exactly what they are doing to me!
        I will be much prepared for post-op this time. For my bone graft, they gave me the prescription afterwards and I had excruciating pain while waiting for the pharmacy to fill it!

  108. I just had my grafting yesterday. I did not feel a thing during the surgery, except for the needle for the novicane. I had no anesthia, and didn’t feel as if it was needed. I did feel some pain about a couple hours afterward. I would recommend filling your prescriptions immediately. I waited too long to take the pain medication. Once I took it, I was fine. I have been taking motrin and don’t need the extra tylenol. I had completely soft foods yesterday, but today ventured to have 2 bowls of simple vegan soup that didn’t contain any meat and I was fine with that. I just rinsed my mouth and brushed (not where the stiches are) right after. Things seem to be going fine, but I do have a question about the palate area. It is puffed out. Is it suppose to be like that? Is that swelling, or fluid under the covering that is causing it to puff out? Also, I have difficulty speaking, mainly due to the puffed palate. Is that normal for the first two days, or longer? Thanks so much to the original poster of this blog and to all who have contributed to it. It has been very helpful.

  109. I am 13 and I had a gum graft when I was 6 so I remember almost nothing, an I need another one, I am so scared. I know that when I get medicine I will be fine, but I am most nervous for the shots, 1-10 how painful? Thanks

    1. I’ve never heard of someone at 6 having a graft! If it makes you feel better, I have a pretty low tolerance for pain and I remember thinking the shots were no big deal. I was able to wear my iPod so I would highly suggest you close your eyes and listen to music during the entire procedure. It helps. Good luck!

  110. My Dentist just recommended that I have this surgery. I do not know if this article was supposed to be comforting to me, however after reading this I wont be signing up anytime soon to have this done. Just scared the s**t out of me!

    1. Honestly, Mel – you have to make a decision – put your teeth in a cup every night before you go to bed .. or have surgery (that is really relatively easy) and keep those chompers where you want them (in your mouth)! 🙂 It isn’t as bad as you seem to think. People posting here were just as afraid initally – but on the other side they all find that it’s worth the cost (monetarily and periodontically). Go with the Alloderm, only have one incision site (on your gums) and eat soft foods for a few weeks … not a big deal if you have a trusted periodontist (who has performed the surgery a number of times – successfully)! This is a great place to go (like in the middle of the night wondering did anyone else experience that??) for moral support.

  111. Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories. I’m actually getting a second opinion to make sure I absolutely have to have this done, but from the research I’ve done, I don’t think there’s a way around it.

    The periodontist (who consults with my dentist office and isn’t part of the actual practice) is telling me they absolutely will not (and don’t offer) any other sedation other than Novocaine. I don’t think so. I need 4 shots of Novocaine just to get a filling — there’s no way I’ll make it through this without something stronger. I’m hoping this second opinion, if he says I do have to have this done, can at least offer me something other than that. I’m already getting anxious just thinking about this…

  112. I’m thinking of doing this surgery on my front teeth
    because of receeding gums. How well does
    the new tissue attach to the teeth? Is there
    any possibility that the grafted gum might
    be loose and not “hug” the teeth as the original

  113. Hi Paulo!

    I had a gum graft a month ago. After they took the bandage off, I asked why it looked the same as before I had the operation. The Dr. said that is because the tooth that I had a graft on has a crown, and it never attaches to a crown. I wish I had known that before hand! It will only attach to the real portion of a tooth. He said the gum graft did take on the portion of my tooth that was real. It looks the same to me, but I’ll take his word for it because I would not be happy if I did it for nothing. (because it sure didn’t cost nothing!)


  114. Lisa,

    Novacaine should be enough. I had novacaine and couldn’t feel a thing! The shot for the novacaine was the only thing that hurt.


  115. Next week I am going in for my 4th grafting section. I have always used the tissue on the roof of my mouth. This time he is using a donor tissue because my tissue is now too thin to use. Has anyone had any expierence with Alloderm? Thank you!

  116. Hi Heather,
    I just had gum grafting using the Alloderm this past Monday. It’s now friday and the worse seems to be over in regards to the swelling and pain. I had the entire top gumline on the right side of my mouth done using the Alloderm and my dr also did some f/u work from a gum grafting in Dec.(using my own tissue for that one).
    The procedure itself was fine (IV sedation), but the recovery was bad. In bad, I mean I’m a small person and my face pretty much swelled up to balloon proportions. I could barely take sips of water due to my mouth was swollen and for some reason the right side of my face swelled up more (all the way up to my eye. (my dr said it was because the right side has more sinus tracts and these tend to fill with fluid more than left side). Day 3 was the worse (felt feverish, shaky, just all together like… hell). But on day 4, I started to feel tons better. I was able to get up out of bed, watch a little tv and slurp some soup. I’m also taking antibiotics 3 times a day and also increased my Aleve to 3 tablets every 6 hrs per the dr.
    I would recommend getting bottles of Boost, Ensure and high protein yogurt because my dr was really worried that I wasn’t getting enough calories in.
    It’s now day 5 and I’m feeling so much better. Can’t eat anything but soups and smoothies still but the swelling has gone way down.
    My dr was great. He called me every day or I could call him with any questions.
    A few tips:
    Follow your dr’s orders (they DO know what their talking about!)
    Be prepared for a lot of swelling!!! (first 4 days are the worst)
    Only eat/drink soft foods and get plenty of cold coffee
    drinks/boost/ensure/gatorade/puddings and soups.
    Take the anti-inflammatory’s. My stomach could not handle prescription Ibuprophen so I took OTC Aleve. (it really helped with bringing down the swelling)
    Take pain medication as needed. I really wasn’t in pain, just the swelling and crappy feeling.
    Be prepared to take off a week or week and a half off work or school.
    Well, I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck with your grafting. It will get better as I found this out myself!

  117. Hi Cheryl,
    Thank you so much! I swell with every grafting procedure. It is horrible! The anti-inflammatory’s really do help. I am just afraid that the Allograft will not “take”. To go through that procedure for nothing is really upsetting. Good luck to you as well!

    1. Hi again Heather,
      I forgot two other important things for after your surgery. First one is to ice, ice, ice to your face and mouth. I kept bags of ice and ice packs on my face constantly for the first 3 days. I think it helped with both the swelling and pain.
      The second thing that seemed to help as well was lying in an elevated position as much as possible. (sleep on extra pillows, a recliner, etc) The dr that did the IV sedation suggested this and I also think this helped with the recovery as well.
      This is day 7. My gum tissue is not as inflamed and swollen now from 2 days ago. I don’t know what the graft is suppose to look like following the Allograft but from what I can tell, it’s looking better and better that the graft did take.

      Hope these other suggestions help as well!

  118. Hi, I have pretty severe anxiety for my daughter who will be having the surgery in July. Of course she isn’t worried at all and I think it is because at the consult they made it sound like a piece of cake. Should I warn her and explain to her how bad this may be. Especially the swelling and appearance of yourself and your smile? Shes a tough kid but she is graduating this year from high school and going to college in August. She has a lot of stuff planned around this surgery in July. Please help…

    1. In my opinion, as long as she doesn’t have anything major planned for 2 weeks after the surgery she will be fine! I had mine done on a Friday afternoon and returned to work on that Monday. I was still in some

  119. Pain then but by the end of the week I felt much better. My stitches were removed after 2 weeks and the doctor cleared me to eat whatever I wanted as long as I was careful. With your daughter being so young I feel like she will be just fine. I would maybe explain that it will take time to heal with a lot of rest and eating will be difficult for at least 5 days after surgery.

  120. Help just had gum graft surgery today and was told to rinse the next day but forgot to ask if i am supposed to take stint out when i rinse or keep it in? Someone please help. Also i will be going on vacation in a month will i be able to eat anything i want then?

    1. i THINK you can take stent out to rinse. my surgeon said take it out to eat and where i went they were talking about the stent being totally unnecessary but they did it since i asked for it.

      1. Thanks my surgeon said i have to wear my stent 24/7 for two weeks only taking it out for cleaning and rinse i hate it wish i could take it out early. Woke up today and now have a bruise on chin do you know long before it goes away? Thanks good luck with your recovery.

        1. Hope all is well with your recovery Tina! I just had 4 teeth grafted yesterday, no pain at all so far. Did the laughing gas and used my iPod for a distraction. Not nearly as bad as I had expected. The doc said they have made advances in the procedure in recent years, so it’s not as bad as it used to be. Craving every food I see right now! But so glad I finally had it done, I had been putting it off for years…..

  121. had the gum graft on 2 teeth today. was EXTREMELY ANXIOUS because a friend had described it as (get this) “the worst thing i’ve ever experienced. and i had a c-section. WITHOUT ANESTHETIC!”

    another friend said he’d NEVER do it again — he’d rather have his teeth fall out.

    bottom line: NO PAIN so far and it’s been about 12 hours. numbing stuff has worn off and still NO PAIN. stocked up on Vicodin, haven’t even taken it.

    the three hour procedure isn’t my most fun way to spend the day but aside from a couple seconds of discomfort (no big deal) for the numbing shorts, no pain.

    all that ANXIETY and so far NO REASON at all for it. wow.

    and, for the record, i’m a complete WUSS and very sensitive.

  122. I just had gingival grafts this morning on 12 teeth located in all four quadrants. I took a halcion one hour prior to the procedure and was under IV sedation for the procedure. I was out in about three hours. I used alloderm as I don’t have much tissue on my palate and there wouldn’t be near enough for all those teeth! I’m doing great now and I would say the procedure was a piece of cake. I have a little soreness on a few teeth and my jaw is also a little sore. I had a couple smoothies and some vegetable soup throughout the day. I would encourage others getting the procedure to not worry much, especially if you’re only getting one or two teeth done.

  123. Hi Have a question for anyone please after your two week check up were you able to eat what ever you wanted or did you have to wait longer. Going for my two week check up next week would love to know if i have to stay on soft foods longer or get to eat real food again. THANKS.

    1. After my 2 week check-up I was able to eat whatever I wanted. I was just advised to be careful and try to stay on the opposite side of the mouth from where my graft was. I ended up eating a cheeseburger and fries after, but I did cut up the burger into pieces. I was not comfortable biting down into something.

      1. HI Thanks when did you feel comfortable biting down on the teeth you had grafted if you don’t mind me asking would love to know? Thanks again.

  124. I just had three teeth grafted three days ago and had a somewhat different experience than most comments I read. I only used local anesthesia and had a combination of techniques used (both alloderm and a harvest site on the roof of my mouth). My dentist is in a study group to build his practical skills, so I actually had 5 dentists plus their mentor consulting and working on my mouth. I thought of it like having House’s diagnostic team on the job!
    The procedure took three hours and included something somewhat new — a device they called the potato peeler. This is truly a tiny peeler, so it allowed for a very smooth and very small harvest of tissue from the roof of my mouth. I wore the stent for a full day and then removed it. The harvest site feels tender and is sensitive to heat, but does not feel as uncomfortable as a hot coffee burn.
    The swelling is nearly gone at day three and I still have stiffness and sensitivity at the graft sites. I was only prescribed steroids for recovery and beyond that have just taken homeopathic and herbal remedies to control the swelling and aid recovery. I’m using homeopathic staphysagria (heals surgical wounds), arnica (for swelling), and thuja occident (for anti-microbial properties). I am also taking a calendula/St. John’s Wort tincture to promote wound healing. I’ve been drinking green smoothies, had a bowl of soft soup, and a little coconut “ice cream” (and jabbed the roof of my mouth with a chocolate sliver — ouch!) and lots of tea.
    I spent the first afternoon absorbing sunshine and resting. The second day I did some light gardening. Nights I am sleeping propped up a bit. Today I am taking the day off work, since talking and smiling still is uncomfortable. But mostly it gives me another day until I go in for a follow-up and hopefully am able to brush my teeth better. I was not given a rinse of any sort and told to carefully dry-brush on the non-affected teeth, but am having a hard time telling which teeth on the bottom were stitched!
    I am pretty fascinated by medical procedures, so was very interactive during the surgery and tend to try to think of “pain” as “sensations”. That doesn’t mean that I hesitate to get more local anesthesia when I can feel what the dentist is doing, but it does mean that I don’t get much adrenaline from expectation or while being worked on. I had thought I might break into my pain meds afterwards, but just didn’t end up feeling the need to do so.
    There are so many things that make our procedures different and how we feel afterwards. I am so grateful for everyone’s descriptions, but do want to reassure folks about to get theirs that it’s possible to have minimal discomfort afterwards. 🙂

  125. Hello, I just had my third gum graft so I did know what to expect but this last gum graft has left me pretty miserable. I had three upper teeth done on May 22nd. I have a black eye, black & blue jaw and cheek. I am on Ibuprofen 800 mg. three times a day plus an antibiotic. They also had to stretch the muscle due to the severity of the recession. The grafted area is finally turning alittle more pink in color but some areas are still really bloody and I am only eating soft foods. Has anyone ended up with a black eye and black & blue jaw and should I be concerned that the grafted area still looks bloody. I see an assistant on Wednesday to get the stitches out in the roof of my mouth. Besides icing the black & blue area does anyone have any other ideas to help with the brusing. Thank you:)

  126. I had surgery last Monday the 21st. One bottom molar taken from palette. I had put the surgery off for years. Always something….pregnant, nursing, infant, etc. My kids are 5 and 2 now and there were no more excuses. I had a lot of anxiety going into it mostly about the recovery. I’m very active, like to exercise and LOVE to eat EVERYTHING!…….I’ll get back to that. The surgery wasn’t bad. I brought my own music and ear buds and closed my eyes which was key. I could only feel the pinch of the Novocaine and the thread hanging out of my mouth when the stiches were being done….worst part for me. After surgery I had minimal swelling. Iced all day on and off which helped with pain substantially. Took extra strength Tylenol during the day and prescription Tylenol at night. Putty was placed over both areas. Half of the palette putty fell off two days post surgery. My tongue is very curious and active and I couldn’t stop fiddling with the putty. The putty helped a lot with acting as a guard though from food. The graft area putty came off two days later which was nice and liberating. My cheek was starting to get sore from it. I took the remainder of thethe palette putty and regret it. My tongue is always touching the stitches and it disturbs me. I cant wait to get the out tomorrow. Ive been doing fine with most foods, bit staying away from chips, straws, anything really chewy or sharp. Cold foods like ice cream and yogurt are great. Staying away from anything hot. I’m mostly annoying and frustrated. That I cant eat what I want . I have to break everything solid into small bite sized pieces and it takes much longer to eat, especially at meals. I was on antibiotics for 1 week and I regularly do salt water rinses. Hoping I heal quickly. I need the other side if my mouth done.Totallydreading it. What a pain. At least I’m able to get the surgery done though and thankful to be healthy.
    of the palette putty off yesterday which I sort of regret because it’s super tender. The stitches are hanging down now and my curious tongue can’t help but fiddlewith them. Very uncomfoand annoying. I’m very to get them out tomorrow. The palette has been way more painful than the graft. Probably because I’ve avoided the graft completely when eating, brushing, etc. It scares me! At the beginning of recovery I was only eating ice cream yogurt
    I get the stitches out tomorrow. I had the putt

  127. This has been an extremely helpful post for me, both leading up to and following my gum grafting procedure. I had four lower teeth done on Wednesday, 5/23; I had the option to split it into two surgeries if I wanted insurance to cover more, but I didn’t want to put myself through the pain and misery twice. My recovery may have been made slightly more difficult because of the amount I had done, but now that it’s a week out I’m VERY glad I did it all at once because it has sucked a LOT.
    Leading up to the procedure I was most afraid about being awake during it with IV sedation. I can’t remember the two IV drugs that were used, but one was definitely Demerol. With the help of my iPod and the IV sedation, the surgery was REALLY EASY. Like others have posted, I could feel things happening in my mouth, but didn’t care or know what was going on unless I felt thread on my face (stitches being sewn) or pressure on my lower teeth (putty being applied). The two strips of donor tissue were taken from either side of my palate, parallel to my molars, and I only got stitches up there. No stent or putty. The grafted teeth got stitches and putty.
    It’s now one week since my surgery and since then I’ve been wavering between relief at having it done and utter misery from the pain and reduced ability to keep myself nourished. The first day wasn’t too bad, pain-wise; I was instructed to take my pain medication (Percocet) no matter what for the first day, so I did. It kept me relaxed and mostly pain free for the day. I also took Advil on an increased dosing schedule to help with pain and swelling.
    The second day, things started to get tough. The Percocet was great until I mistimed it with my lunch and didn’t have enough food in me when I took it. It made me dizzy and gave me extreme nausea a couple times that afternoon. By some miracle I was able to keep myself from puking (licking a ginger candy helped a lot). That, followed by the severe constipation (sorry, TMI, but it is a listed side effect) I got later in the evening, made me swear off the Percocet completely. I’m now on Advil, which has been mostly fine, but I started alternating with Tylenol yesterday and that’s helped. Fortunately, my lower teeth (graft site) didn’t hurt as bad as my palate, so although it hurt a lot to eat, I wasn’t curled up in a ball from the pain. At its worst, I think it was at 6.5/10. I’ve only occasionally felt an unpleasant ache at the graft site; most of my pain has been on the palate, either throbbing for no good reason or hurting sharply when I eat/drink.
    Losing my appetite completely for an afternoon did a number on my already reduced energy, but I stayed in bed to conserve energy and kept at it with the recovery food. Ensure (especially the “Plus” variety with more calories) has been my fallback, but a glass of milk was pleasantly filling and my boyfriend made me mashed potatoes, which were still hard to eat but extremely satisfying when I was able to get them down. Unfortunately, I had to stop the mashed potatoes when, thanks to my awkward post-surgery eating techniques, some of my stitches became loose. The knots from the floppy stitches were pressing into the open donor sites in a painful way, so I called my doctor about it. He gave me the go-ahead to trim carefully, saying “if they’re loose, they’re not doing their job,” and told me come in after the holiday weekend to get them removed. All in all I had four loose palate stitches; more on that later. If anyone else has the same issue with palate stitches coming loose, DEFINITELY call your doctor about it before trimming – my pain during eating went down considerably once the knots were out of the way.
    Foods that got me through the weekend were scrambled eggs fried in butter (the butter helped make them easier to swallow) and tiny, tiny pasta balls cooked in chicken stock (spoonfuls were swallowed whole; it did taste a little salty and it may have irritated my palate a bit, but it was worth it). Jello has been my buddy for hard-to-swallow pills as well, and Ensure has been my default when the pain is too much to try soft solids. My tongue kept hitting my palate stitches in a way that made my palate AND tongue very sensitive, so it was hard to eat and drink water to keep hydrated.
    On Monday evening, after a painful few attempts to sip some Ensure without disturbing my palate stitches, my palate started to bleed on the side that was getting hit more often with my tongue. I applied gauze to stop it, and then when that failed, a damp Lipton teabag (doc’s instructions). During the second teabag (the bleeding wouldn’t stop), the pain under one of my stitches due to the pressure I was applying was so severe I felt extremely lightheaded and I almost fainted. For the rest of the evening, I rested and carefully tried to sip Ensure and water to get my strength back up. I think the blood made me panic and apply more pressure than was necessary, so don’t be an idiot like I was! I haven’t had bleeding since then, but I do often taste a tiny bit of blood from the raw wounds on both sides.
    First thing the next morning, I called the office to make my appointment for palate suture removal. My doctor said that palate bleeding that I had, even for the first time on the fifth day post-op, is not abnormal. My stitches were removed, and although I was still hurting, I also experienced immediate relief and was in a fantastic mood for the rest of the day. Part of my pain problem was that my stitches were covered in plaque, which was hampering healing; it’s extremely hard to keep good dental hygiene following this procedure, let alone keep clean the stitches over an open wound. The pain hasn’t gone away completely, but eating and drinking are much, much less difficult now.
    All in all, this has been the toughest thing I’ve ever put myself through. Sleep has been hard to get reliably (due to pain and general discomfort), and it’s been so hard to eat that my energy is nonexistent to the point where I’m extending my leave from work so I can try to get my strength back up. However, I can feel myself improving and I’m very proud of myself for mustering up the courage to get this done. Plus, despite all my hurdles, I seem to be healing better every day. I make sure to keep telling myself that “the only way out is through” and that’s helping me a LOT. Despite all this pain and misery, I am beyond glad that I got the surgery and the worst parts of my recovery over with. I’ll be getting my putty removed on Friday, and I hope it goes well!

    1. Just following up for anyone who’s seeking information!

      I had my putty bandage removed from the grafting site today; no pain, no bleeding. My lower lip/chin still has a very limited range of motion, so I have to take it easy with expressing emotions and such for a while. I can’t brush the graft area for 3-4 days, and when I do, I have to do it gently upwards with a special soft toothbrush they gave me. In the meantime, salt water swishes only for that part of my mouth. There are some fine sutures at the graft site that will remain in place for up to 8 weeks, and I’ll be going for periodic checkups during that time to make sure everything is going well. I think eventually I’ll get a thorough teeth cleaning as well.

      My doctor said I’m healing very well for being 9 days post-op! My palate is also doing a lot better since those stitches were removed; it’s stil tender, but I’ve started to eat more solid foods — even chewing carefully! — without much pain at all. Nothing compared to earlier in the week, anyway. It was a tough recovery period, but it passed quickly and it feels really good to be on the other side. If you need this surgery, steel yourself, stock up on Ensure, and GET IT OVER WITH! You will be so glad to have it done!

  128. Help how long do you have to wait to brush teeth that was grafting on? Mine feel very gritty i hate the feeling is there anything i can do i am supposed to wait another 3 weeks dont know if i can take it that long. Any help would be great thanks.

  129. Well I had the graft using my pallet on the two bottom teeth as well as he removed that piece of skin that goes from your lip to your teeth area. I guess that could be contributing to the recession. I had my surgery on tues and it’s thurs I’m dying. I want to scratch my donor site soooooo bad. My teeth feel like a bandaid is getting ripped off with the slightest movement. He gave me ibphrophen ya that doesn’t do anything!!!!! I have had a lot of stuff done to my body and this is by far one of the hardest. When should I expect to feel better? I know everybody is different but this is just crazy!!!!! I honestly don’t think I would do this again. All I can say is it better take!!!! Anybody else had that piece of skin removed too? I think that might be why this pain is so intense. Also my nostrils on thr donor site is super clogged. Anybody had that?

    1. Are you talking about the frenectomy? I had that done during my surgery. Afterward, it did hurt some, but mostly it just limited my movement and made it hard to laugh/smile/frown/open my mouth. I’m pretty sure the frenectomy was the primary cause of my swelling. My surgery was 3 weeks ago and it’s still a little tender if I press on my chin, but otherwise it’s not too bad.

      For the pain, if you’re not already taking anything containing acetaminophen, try alternating the ibuprofen (Advil) with some Tylenol. Once I started doing this, the pain became a lot more bearable.

      Hang in there — the recovery really is fast! I felt some improvement every day. It took me about a week to feel like the worst was over; the pain went down every day after that. Eating was a struggle for another week, but now I’m feeling mostly normal (but I still have to be careful moving my mouth and eating certain foods). The really tough part was so brief that it’s hard to believe I went through that much pain and misery just a few weeks ago!

      1. Yes thats it! Sorry between the pain, frustration, and all I couldnt remember what it was called. Yes I think the same thing, my chin is so swollen and tender.

        Oh thanks, I’ll get some of that, I have been taking advil but that really is only taking the edge off.

        Thank you for the comfort I guess its true, misery loves company! Hopefully in 3 weeks Ill be able to look back with the same outlook as you!

      2. The Tylenol (well CVS since all tyl is recalled) Advil switching is working wonders thank you for that advice!!!!! So if you count graft day since it was at 8am I’m on day 6 and I noticed this morning that the putty bandage is raising up on my teeth like getting higher almost reaches the top of my teeth now. Scared its going to come off, I’m supposed to have my first follow up Wednesday. Anybody ever had the putty on graft come off sooner? I’m worried it will mess things up.

        1. Kelly — Is the putty bandange on the roof of your mouth? My doctor did not tell me what was up there but I feel something. A friend of mine say they use “skin glue”… is this what you are referring to? I’m on day 6 today. I have mainly burning and stinging now…. very minor tenderness around the jaw. Please let me know about the bandage. Hope you are feeling better today! Janice

  130. I had a graft of 4 front lower teeth 4 days ago. I opted for novacain only, no sedatives. I had no pain during the procedure and needed 2 large incisions on both sides of the palate for donor tissue since apparently I have very thin gums and a very thin palate. Unfortunately I bruised very heavily in the jaw/chin area and have been quite swollen. The grafted sites hurt considerably more than the palate incisions at this point. My Perio did not prescribe any antibiotics or steroid rinse. Eating anything not completely soft is pretty much impossible. The worst part was half way through the procedure he told me I will most likely need 6 more teeth on the top done eventually. Ok, that almost made me cry. I take very good care of my teeth and gums but I am an extreme bruxer/grinder (wear a bite guard religiously) and have genetically thin gums so I guess I’m just prone to recession. Not to be too negative but I found this procedure much worse than wisdom teeth extraction. The more teeth you do on both sides at a time it’s pretty intense. Worst of all I miss being able to exercise!

    1. Alex — Your procedure sounds painful. I find it odd that your Perio doc did not prescribe any Peridex rinse or antibiotics. That is a very standard part of a gum graft. I had a graft 5 days ago – but only 1 tooth. I had no pain during the procedure and used the nitrous oxide gas. After the novacaine wore off about 3 hours later the pain was intense and throbbing. Vicodin took care of that pain and since then it’s been very tender and sore… the donor site is stitched and sore. The gums are tender and swollen. I bruised up quite nicely on the jawline. Eating is getting better but still slow and difficult. I cannot imagine having grafts on both sides of the mouth as many people have who posted on this site. Kudos to them.
      I would probably do it again if it meant saving a tooth, but the procedure was a bit more entailed that I realized and definitely worse than wisdom teeth extractions.
      Good luck in healing!

  131. I’m getting this tomorrow, and I’m really scared. I’m only a teenager, and I’ve had MANY mouth surgeries before this (like my wisdom teeth out, 7 teeth out at once, and chains put in my gums to get teeth down), but for some reason I’m really nervous about this one. I’ve never had a procedure done at the periodontist, so that’s probably why. They told me it won’t be anything close to as bad as the surgeries I’ve had, but after researching about it, I’m still scared about it. They said they’ll give me that one pill before it, but I’m horrible at swallowing pills. It takes me forever to get an advil down sometimes, so how am I supposed to get that one down? What if I don’t? Will it hurt without taking that pill before?
    Also, mine’s going to be on my front bottom teeth. They aren’t replacing the gums, they’re just adding them, because I don’t have enough there, they said. The worst part about the surgeries is that I can’t eat real food for a while. The periodontist said it won’t be long before I can eat, but you said it took a month. I hope mine doesn’t take that long.

    1. If you have trouble taking a pill, tip your chin down to your chest. It’ll open up your throat more and make it easier to swallow. Don’t tip your head back thinking that gravity will help — this just closes up your throat and makes it tougher!

      Do you have some Ensure nutritional drinks at home? They’ll help you keep your strength up when you can’t eat real food.

      1. I just came home from the surgery about 4 hours ago. I felt nothing during it. I took the liquid version of the pill, which made me very relaxed. They also put me on laughing gas. When I saw the needle for the numbing shots, i freaked out a little, but they didn’t hurt at all. Just some pokes. I didn’t bring my iPod, but I felt like I didn’t need it. I think I even was asleep for a bit of it. It was early in the morning for me, and the relaxers made me sleepy, so I was pretty out of it. When I got home I fell right to sleep. When I woke up I had lots of pain, but they gave me medication, and it’s starting to work. I still have some pain, but this surgery was WAY easier than I’d expected. I found some yummy blueberry pomegranate apple sauce to eat, and some jello too. I might even get ice cream later 🙂
        I’m definitely glad I got this over with!

  132. Hi there. I found out yesterday that I have to get a gum graft and now have to decide when to have it done. (on one lower front tooth) I can either have it done next week, but I’m worried it will conflict with sports. Also three-four weeks after the surgery I would be going out of town, and I’m worried it won’t be healed then or will still be sore. How long do you think I will be able to be doing things/eating normally after surgery? Since I’m really busy this summer that’s really the only time I can do it soon. My other option is postponing it until winter break, but then I have the same worries if a week will be enough to recover before going back to school. Any suggestions?

    1. I would go ahead and get it done. I know its sometimes easier to just hold off until the perfect time, but there never will be a perfect time. It took me 2 weeks to be able to eat normal foods. The first week was the worst, where I could ONLY eat soft foods. After 2 weeks, I had my stitches removed and was able to eat whatever I wanted. I was just instructed to try to chew and keep food away from the graft site. Since it’s your lower front tooth, i’m sure if you were careful about getting food to the back of your mouth you could be fine as far as chewing. Mine was on the upper side of my mouth so I pretty much chewed food on one side for a few weeks. I went back to work the monday after my surgery (I had it done on a Friday afternoon). I ideally should have taken off a few days but by the end of the week I was fine!

  133. I just had mine done today — the front teeth on the bottom. They had me take Valium an hour before the procedure, and by the time I got there, I was definitely loopy. I brought my iPod with me, and played in loud so I couldn’t hear anything, and it helped me relax. I would suggest playing music that relaxes you. I was aware, kind of dozy, during the procedure, but nothing they did hurt me — I had a great doctor do the procedure. Once the numbing wore off, I took a couple Tylenol, and now all I feel is the kind of ache of braces, canker sores, and a bitten cheek all wrapped up in one. It’s not too bad, I can handle it. But they do give you heavier painkillers if you need them. Anyway, I was reading these comments this morning, and they really helped me get over my nerves, so I just thought I’d share my experiences with it. Hope all of this helps someone! 🙂 Oh, and food wise, so far I’ve only eaten things that I can mush up with my tongue a little. Chewing is a bit tender, even though the graft site is in my front teeth. I also had a cadaver’s gum — they didn’t take a graft from me, which I’ve heard is the worst part of the whole procedure. So I’ve had minimal discomfort since the roof of my mouth is fully intact! Anyway, hope this is helpful…

  134. Hi,
    I was just wondering if this surgery affected anyone’s speaking ability? I am going to a wedding a week after the surgery, and if I want to make a toast, will I end up sounding like a mumbling idiot? 🙂

    If anyone has any answers, that’s be appreciated!

    1. I had 11 teeth done on the bottom and it has definitely affected my speech. It is much harder to talk with a mouth full of stitches. I guess it would depend on how many teeth you are doing as well as the location. Since the lower jaw moves when you speak, it makes it harder to speak clearly when you are trying to keep your lips and gums from hitting the incision.

  135. Had it done on one side, 6 days ago, spanning three lower teeth. Cost was $750 (Canada). I took the stent option, but it made me gag, so I only wore it for a couple of hours. Dentist said I wouldn’t feel a thing and that was true (during), but let me tell you, it sure hurts afterward. Got a headache during the procedure and it’s still with me. Still pain at the graft site. Apo-Ibuprophen is not really doing it for the pain even now, and I’ve started taking Aspirin for the headaches, but relief is not long lasting. Having this done does affect your speech, and eating is hard work. I’ve been plain miserable for a week. I need to have another one done, but I think I’ll wait until next year, and definitely not do it during spring allergy season.

  136. Well I”m 2 days shy of a month recovery. Eating is finally ok and getting so used to cutting things up super tiny and eating on one side, minus using my front teeth. I go to my 1 month follow up thursday at my week when they took the stitches off the donor site I finally started to feel better and at that time they were impressed with how “wonderful” it looked. I cant help but think now one of the 2 (bottom dead center) looks like its low again, has anybody else had this will it start growing up? I think part of it is because I cant brush those yet and I would think the lack of brushing them is not helping!!!!

    I’m just worried that it didnt take and will need to go though this again!!! The area around it is red but not worse than my normal gums, the one side that I think looks low is a little reddish and loose looking around the sides of the teeth

  137. Had grafting done today for 2 previsously implanted teeth on the bottom. The discomfort came after the wearing off of the novacaine. Took the perscribed medication. The grafting came from the roof of my upper mouth and can feel the stitches. I can say that there is some swelling but not as bad when I had some implants done. Has anyone else had implants that the gums started to recede?

  138. Thanks for the article. Gum flap did not heal over after having 1/2 a tooth pulled. Praying for better healing, but looks like I’m heading for a gum graft. This blog helps me feel so much better about it all. Now to figure out the best timing. I go to a 3 day conference in early August, and have a 10day trip out west at the end of September/early October. Hoping maybe I could get it done in August and be OK for the trip out west. Otherwise wondering if it’s prudent to wait until mid- October?


    1. THANK YOU for posting this i thought i was the only one who felt this way! I read review after review of people saying this was a no big deal surgery and had no pain after like 2 days, my experience was totally different! for the first 3 days i could barely open my mouth i was so sore. I had my wisdom teeth out couple years ago and it was no big deal compared to this.

  140. I had gum graft surgery on 7/11/12 (6 days ago). I had 11 teeth on my bottom done spanning both sides. I opted for Alloderm. I did 1 halcium before the surgery and then IV sedation. I have alot of sensitivities to medication so I was more worried about the side effects than the actual surgery. I did well and came home really hungry. I ate scrambled eggs and then slept. I was taking tylenol3 for the pain and amoxicillin. All made me very nauseous, but was able to take Zofran for the nausea. This was a god send. Eating is just awful. Everything goes in the blender. I only have 2 molars on each side of my bottom teeth that are stitch free. I am hungry, but so sick of liquid food. I have been eating, eggs, oatmeal custard, green smoothies, applesauce, soup, milkshakes and ice cream. The pain has been quite manageable and I have been using only Advil since the 2nd day. The amoxicillin is 500mg 2x a day and quite strong. It makes me very dizzy. Day 3 was the worst for me. I was achy and flu like. Day 4 was good, but I did too much so Day 5 was not so good. Now on Day 6 my stomach hurts from the amoxicillin. I am constipated and now also have some diarrhea. I am not surprised given my sensitive stomach and all of the harsh drugs put into it. I just want to feel better. I believe once I can eat more and get off this awful amoxicillin, I will feel better.

    1. My surgery was very similar to yours, Ann. I am in my 6th week of recovery – all bottom except molars in back with Alloderm on June 28th. I have been following doctor’s orders very precisely because with the pain and expense involved, I really want this to take! I couldn’t take pain relief except Advil due to drug sensitivities. The pain of the stitched areas was bearable – it has been the exposed root pain that has caused me sleepless nights. I think if you go in and your roots are inflamed already, that’s one of the conditions where you might have some additional discomfort….Also, I know he told me I would be in stitches for twelve weeks, I just didn’t fully comprehend how miserable that would be. I am OCD about brushing my teeth (hence the gum recession) and not being able to brush any of my bottom teeth all this time has been very stressful. Soft foods still, which I can manage, but any food gets caught in these long stitches and also in the crevices between my allodermed gums/teeth. Then my tongue gets restless and plays with the areas trying to remove the food…and that hurts! Some of the stitches are short and sharp and I have had canker sores from the rubbing. That’s why she, (assistant), left them so long; so they would ideally lay down. But, they mostly just stick up and bother me. I came back on this site to see if anyone else has been in stitches this long and what strategies you might be able to pass along….

    2. I just had my 4 week appointment on Monday. Today it has been 5 weeks since my surgery. I had a spot in the front by my 2 middle bottom teeth that didn’t seem to be healing well. A stitch came loose around day 10 and this caused the gum graft to not adhere as well. It was a bit painful and at first appeared white or grayish. I began salt water rinses and a week later the gum was turning pink, but still inflamed. I still have most of my stitches and only a few have dissolved or come loose. At my appointment, my perio decided to leave the stitches in place. They will eventually dissolve or if they begin to bother me in the next 2-4 weeks, they will take them out. He was decided whether to restitch the front 2 teeth, but decided on using some type of glue. This worked really well. I do not feel the inflamed spot rubbing against my bottom lip. Unfortunately I have to remain on a soft diet for another 2-4 weeks. I can manage soft chicken and pork, but beef is really out of the question. I cut my food really small and then only chew on my back teeth. It just takes me forever to eat a meal and it’s usually cold when I am nearing the end.

      All in all the procedure has been much less pain than I expected and more of a nuisance. I am tired of eating soft mushy food. My gums feel very nice and I am excited to get a really good look once the sore area fully heals. I am allowed to brush my gums now except for the near the sore spot and it feels wonderful to finally have a clean mouth. It was so hard to feel that my gums were so gross. The hygenist cleaned my teeth and gums on Monday and it felt heavenly!

      I go back in 4 months for another check up!

    3. I agree day 3 was the worst for me too! A lot of reviews I read people were saying they were recovered in 3 days, that was my worst day (flu like symptoms too) weakness, stomach ache and jaw was so sore.

  141. I finally had the first part of a two-part “graft” done a week ago, and so far, so good.

    My periodontist is doing this procedure in 2 parts, using collagen as opposed to using graft tissue from the roof of your mouth. I had the first part done on Monday, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I wasn’t prepared to have such issues with eating as I thought I would.

    For this part, my doctor needed to relieve some of the tension on the skin/tissue in the area where I would be having the graft. So, he cut a little bit of the gum to do this, and stitched it up. I wasn’t prepared to have stitches (dissolveable ones, of which I had 3) in my mouth, and combined with the soreness and swelling, I ended up having to pulverize anything I wanted to eat in the food processor for a couple of days. I just had to be careful not to put any stress on the area with the stitches, so don’t eat anything too big or crunchy. And don’t take a big bite of anything.

    Also, they’ll tell you that you don’t need to ice it, but I found it helped tremendously. They gave me Vicodin with ibuprofen in it, but with the side effects from the medication, I actually felt worse. My doctor said I probably wouldn’t need the Rx (he was right), and that I could just manage the pain with Advil, which I mainly did. Once the stitches dissolved, though, I had almost no pain.

    But, a week later, I’m pretty much back to my old self.

    1. I just had the 2nd part of my gum graft done 2 days ago, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first half. I opted for laughing gas this time due to the amount of anxiety I experienced during the first part of the procedure. It cost a little more, but it was well worth it!

      As I described above, I opted for the collagen graft, so hopefully it’ll take. After only 2 days, I’m able to eat soft foods, which is quite a departure from the first time. And as before, ice seems to be helping, even though they said it wasn’t necessary.

      It’s weird though, my doctor didn’t really give me much in the way of post-operative instructions, but I’m finding that reading these threads is helping.

  142. Hi – First of all I want to THANK YOU for your survival tips and this blog!! I had my gum grafting procedure late yesterday afternoon and it went smoothly. I’m so glad one of your tips was to bring my iPod. I was awake during the proceedings and really enjoyed listening to the music with my eyes closed while the periodontist worked away in my mouth for almost 90 minutes.

    The Novovaine worked just fine alone and I didn’t feel anything else after those initial pricks from the needle except for a little bit of pressure. I have no pain today – just taking Liquid Advils every 4 – 6 hours per doctor’s orders. There was a little bleeding from the roof of my mouth when I got home after the operation, but that went away after I held damp gauze on the site. My face looks a little puffy, but no visible bruising.

    Most frustrating things for me are not being able to chew or brush my teeth. I had a graft on each lower side so I want to be especially careful. I ate jello, applesauce and chicken broth (and a beer) last night. Today I’ve had cottage cheese, more applesauce, and a protein shake so far. Drinking a lot of water since my mouth feels dry and I feel like that helps freshen it a bit. I’m craving a frosty from Wendy’s so will probably head out to get one shortly!

    I’ve been putting this surgery off for over eight years. I’m so glad I went ahead and did it. Not bad at all…go and get it over with!! Take care and thanks again for all the postings.

  143. Hi Everyone, thank you for the great posts. I have been reading about Alloderm in the posts. My periodontist wanted to use Bioxclude for the donation tissue, has anyone used this? Its a membrane sourced from placental tissue. I am not sure if its the same as Alloderm.

  144. After reading the great posts above (a little late as it is after my surgery, unfortunately), I thought I would share a bit of my experience. Yesterday was actually my second procedure. I had my first procedure about a year ago, where my periodontist had to loosen up the muscle and tissue around my bottom front teeth where the gums had receded. That procedure was relatively quick and painless. She used the Alloderm in this case, since it was intended as only a temporary fix. I was given Dolobid and an antibiotic, and sent on my way. The recovery was relatively quick and painless for that procedure.

    Yesterday was my second procedure, the sub-epi. My appointment was for 1:00 pm, and I was pretty nervous (blood pressure was 133/80). The only medication I took was 2 dolobid (Rx NSAID) before the procedure. First she prepped the surgical site by using topical novocain to numb it, then injected local anesthesia (slightly painful). She then began to cut the tissue around my bottom front teeth and clean around the roots. I was awake, conscious, and anxious from the very beginning. I closed my eyes, but the light was so bright, it was impossible to relax. I could hear everything they were doing. After the fact, I really wish I had brought my headphones and an eye mask.

    Anyway, once the bottom surgical site was prepped, she moved on to the donor site. She applied topical novocaine to slightly numb it, then began injecting anesthesia into my pallet- very painful! I was beginning to get very panicy at this point. The doctor and assistant tried talking about things unrelated, which helped a bit. It was very unnerving knowing every little thing they were doing, even though I couldn’t neccessarily see or feel it. Anyway, it seems like it took forever to put in all the sutures, but after about 90 minutes, the procedure was complete. My blood pressure was 137/83. After reading this blog, I really wish I would have asked for a sedative. I turned down IV anesthesia because I thought it was an unnecessary expense (this surgery was already costing me a lot because my dental coverage is terrible), but I didn’t think of taking something that would help me relax. Anyway, I had a few mini panic attacks, but I made it through the surgery fine and left with the plastic surgical stent to cover the donor site.

    For the rest of the day, I iced it on and off, and really didn’t have much pain until I laid down for bed. It took almost 2 hours to finally fall asleep. The pain in my surgical site was almost unbearable. This morning, I felt pain at the surgical site as well as on my pallet, even after taking the dolobid. I decided to call the doctor at around 11:30 am on her personal phone (it is Saturday). She answered and was extremely kind. I asked if I could take anything else to help with the pain, and she instructed me to take 2 Tylenol every 4 hours. I feel the pain subsiding a bit, so it has been helpful. Now I’m just bored and hungry, sitting on the couch. This morning for breakfast I had a carnation instant breakfast smoothie with a banana blended in. I am going to try soup for lunch.

    I hope this has helped for anyone preparing for the procedure. If I could do things differently, I would have brough my headphones and iPod to listen to some calming music and drown out the sounds, an eyemask to block out the bright light, and most importantly, I would have taken a sedative.

  145. So grateful for this blog and messages. I had my gum graft (in UK) 7 days ago. I wasn’t quite prepared for it to be honest. It was on 4 teeth upper cainines and surrounding tooth and with tissue from palette. First day was tough, bled a little, coudn’t eat too much. Swelled up on day 3-5, that is slowly going down now. Managing soups, ice cream and scrambled eggs today. I make almond milk and banana smoothies too. I have not pulled my lip to look at it and dy brushing the bottom teeth and rinsing at night. I am worried about the swelling and hope it goes down. I have stitches in palette ( no stent, not sure if that is in USA and Canada?). The surgeon seemed happy with the operation, had slight panic halfway through but breathed my way through it and was fine. I am counting down the days to 20th august when stitches are out! It has been reassuring to read this blog and posts, really helped in my post op recovery.

  146. Revision…..has anybody had to have a revision after their first surgery? I’m about 5 weeks post op, and at my last check up the dental hygen said she would have the perio look at me at my next appt (next month) and see about some minor revision on one tooth (had the #24, and 25 done) but that i have a strong thick gum line now so shes happy about that. My question is for a revision do they have to cut my palette again? I am such a chicken for dental work i had IV sedation and I can not afford that out of pocket again.

    oh and still on no using the graft site teeth aside from “egg salad and marshmellows” well I dont plan on eating either so I just still use back teeth to eat

  147. Hi again – just an update to my 8-1-12 post. I started to show bruising on my lower jaw on day 3 & day 4 as the swelling subsided. The black and blue patches are almost all gone now. I’ve been trying to cover it up with concealer when I’m out in public.

    A week after the gum grafting surgery I returned to my periodontist to get the remaining stitches out, plus he removed the adhesive from the two graft locations. He said I’m healing right on schedule. The majority of the stitches on the roof of my mouth dissolved on their own on day 6 and day 7. Now 10 days after the procedure my grafted gums look pretty good and are a healthy pink instead of a ghostly white. I’m still very cautious about chewing anything, but I can slowly take small bites and direct them to the back of my mouth.

    On August 29th I return to the periodontist for hopefully my last post op appointment. I’m looking forward to having a steak or corn on the cob someday soon!

    1. It seems like it will be sooner than you think. Thanks for posting. Every little bit of info here helps! Sending healing vibes!

  148. I’ve never posted on a blog before but have found this one so helpful when I had mine I wanted to share my experience. I’m 43 and needed 5 grafts (2 lower, 3 upper.) I had the lower 2 done 2 weeks ago tomorrow and the other 3 will be done next year (due to insurance purposes.) And for those that want to know, I’m in Orlando, have Aetna and paid about $600 for the bottom 2 grafts (this included the cost of the stent and the rinse. The perio told me he wouldn’t ‘put me under’ but gave me a script for halcion, 1 to be taken the night before and 2 the morning of (which I took an hour before the procedure.) I was fairly out of it when I got there and was in somewhat of a twilight for much of the procedure. I remember a bit of the last half of the procedure, mainly the pain on the roof of my mouth but they can’t use Novocain on me and the alternative wears off quicker. Got home, immediately took a Vicodin and fell asleep for 2 hours. Best thing I could have done. Woke up, ate a bit of soup (very carefully) and stuck close to the couch that day while taking the Vicodin without fail when the time came. Took the 1 extra halcion i was prescribed and slept pretty good. I was worried about the Vicodin making me nauseous as it has in the past but I only felt it once in the middle of the night when I got up to use the bathroom. The next morning/day the pain was totally manageable with ibuprofen and tylenol. My main compliant, I was very hungry and eating wasn’t too easy. The stent the doctor gave me was a life saver! I was able to eat with it in, although very gingerly. My post op inx said to take it out on day 2, but I kept in until day 3 and I’m glad I did. I would put it back in when I needed to eat for a few days after. I had the procedure done on Friday and went back to work on Monday. It was do’able but next year I’ll take 2 days off from work. The Saturday a week after I had it done, almost all felt normal. No pain eating and the stitches came loose (they were dissolving stitches.) So week 2 all I’m feeling is a bit of numbness where they took the donor tissue from the roof of my mouth and where they did the graft. I go in for my 2 week followup tomorrow and will be interested to see what he says. So overall, for me, I would say the procedure sucked and so does part of the recovery, but I know I can handle it the next time. Thank you for everyone’s post, it was an invaluable tool so I could have in insight into what to expect (even though everyone’s experience is different!)

    1. Just curious – did they give you the Halcion the night before for nerves? I know, I swear by the stent and am so glad you’re on the road to recovery. Thanks for sharing!

      1. He did. I took 1 the night before, 2 the morning of and 1 the night of for bed (the script was for 4 pills.) I do think for round 2 I will request IV sedation as it will make it that much easier. And yes, everyone should get the stent! Thank you again for this post.

  149. Day 10 of recovery and I am able to eat mashed potatoes and soft vegetables. I resorted to kids meals! Another 7 days till stitches out and still doing salt washes. Stitches on palette are dissolving now and bit uncomfortable. Will keep going! am always worried will do something to hinder the recovery but am doing my best.

  150. Hi La Jolla Mom, thank you for the great posts. Can you help me with this, I havent heard from anyone on this. I have been reading about Alloderm in the posts. My periodontist wanted to use Bioxclude for the donation tissue, has anyone used this? Its a membrane sourced from placental tissue. My perio said its easier to use than Alloderm. I am not sure about this vs. Alloderm and if you use Alloderm, are there any long term potential problems? thanks!

  151. Hi, I have been brushing my lower teeth (no grafts there) but not with toothpaste as I figured it would get everywhere. I have brushed with some salt water and light non alcohol mouthwash. I hope this was correct?

  152. I am getting this graft done and I’m really nervous my dr said I can get a pill that will make me go in and out of sleep but no pain or I can get completely knocked out I don’t know what to do.. Also I get it done on a tue and have to be back at work thir anyone know if I will be able to work? I do not have to have it taken from palette but don’t know if it’s still gonna cause brushing and to where I won’t want to talk?

  153. Hi all, just an update. Had stitiches out yesterday and surgery was a success!! I had had 4 teeth done on right upper side and two on other upper side. I had not realised she had done so many teeth, am glad I took time out to recover. Need to be gentle still, soft diet for a few more days. So pleased with results, my smile is a little tight but guess thats normal.

    1. Thanks Alessandro! Am still on soft foods for a few more days but doing well. Would urge anyone not to be afraid, it is worth it.

      1. And I would also say this blog has been amazing for anyone contemplating or recovering from a gum graft, so thanks jolla mom!

  154. Pingback: Free Gingival Graft | Love Perio
  155. I had a gum graft done last Friday at lunch time. Novacaine only and earbuds in. I didn’t experience anymore discomfort that a regular cleaning at my dentist. My front bottom teeth are sensitive to cold/hot so I always have novacaine at cleanings. I actually went back to the office after the procedure and worked the rest of the day. I paid for that Saturday and Sunday . . .was very tired and week and slept a lot, pretty much totally useless to my family . .(who were very understanding and supportive.). My Dr and assistant recommended that I take Advil every 4 hours for the first 48 hours, not just to ward off any pain but to reduce any swelling. I was also told to eat cold/soft foods 1st 24 hours then warm/soft 2nd 24, then back to a normal diet, with the exception of chips, popcorn, sticky or really crunchy foods . . . and bread (cuz that may stick to the surfical area.) I had no swelling or bleeding at all. Only real discomfort is a little itch. As of today everything feels fine with the exception of the stitches that are now starting to dissolve. Just a little annoying . .like having a hair in your mouth that you can’t get out. HOWEVER, The anti-microbial mouthwash (Chlorhexdine) is causing some serious staining on my lower front teeth . . kind of a gray/black color . . .Geesh I really hope that comes off easily at my cleaning next month!!.

  156. I’m having my surgery in two days! I’m not going to be sedated, just numbed! I’m so nervous I don’t want to feel anything!!! Is just choosing to be numbed through shots a bad idea?

    1. Most of the patients do fine with just local anesthesia (numb).
      Why don’t you give a call to your periodontist and talk about the procedure?
      I’ve noticed that knowing exclactly what’s coming helps to relieve a lot of stress.

      That might not work for everybody, but it is worth to give it a try.


  157. Amanda, I have had 5 Gum Graft procedures. I have never been sedated, just numbed. Never felt a thing. You will be fine! Good Luck! Happy Healing!

  158. Just had my one-week follow-up after a graft on four teeth. I didn’t get “official” sedation but I did take an Ativan I happened to have. Worst part of the procedure, after the novocaine shots was the fact that the assistant kept making me gag by jamming the suction tube into my throat…grrr…

    Had just some pain that addressed with ibuprofen. A lot of swelling – I did not ice it like I was supposed to. Couldn’t really talk for a few days.

    Worst thing – on the fifth night, at 3am I had a terrible nightmare (about something unrelated). I must have done something inside my mouth or my blood pressure went up enough that I woke up during the nightmare with a mouthful of flowing blood. I ran to the sink, spat it out, and used the tea bag, which was able to stop the bleeding. So, I was not only shaken up from the nightmare, but I had bleeding at the same time – and at 3am!

    I feel a lot better today (1 week out). He took out the palate stitches and a couple of hanging threads from the graft area. Still on pretty soft foods (tho meat loaf went down ok).

  159. Wow! I had heard that it could be bad, did not realize that it may entail drugs. I was told that I would be having Novocain for the surgery ( and one tooth pulled) and that’s it. Also did not know that I would not be at work the next day – thought I would be, nor that I couldn’t be eating either (upside, been meaning to diet) guess I will be quitting smoking as well. Did not make allowances for someone to drive me there or back either – will that be necessary? Apparently my periodontist is breaking mine up into 4 sep procedures as I need it top and bottom in my entire mouth! I guess I will be on liquid diet until 2013!
    I start next week…….

  160. I’ve posted a before and after shot on my blog, just to give you an idea of gum graft works.
    I want to develop a longer, more detailed post, discussing the pro and cons of each technique. There are so many options for gum graft… it is important to be well informed.

  161. Its been over a month since gum graft, check up this week. Gums have settled, slightly receded by a milmetre or so but I expected that. Anyone else have this experience of gums settling down and receding slightly?

    1. Hi Cassandra,

      it is normal for the gum to shrink during the healing. As we know that this is going to happen we overcompensate for it. We pull the gum 0.5-1mm past the recession so that once it shrinks (up to 1mm) we still get the entire root covered.

      1. Hi Alessandro….yes my surgeon warned me but am so worried it will lead to more recession. The recession is slight on tooth towards the back. And on left canine only slightly. I am over worrying too but wish to keep them healthy and recession free.
        I am worried my surgeon will be not happy, I have tried hard to keep them clean and on soft foods still.

        1. Hey all, so I had my gum graft surgery in summer 2012 and I am happy to report gums are still looking great ( mm of recession on the worst tooth and gum but that was expected) but the other gums are still looking good. Be brave and have this done.

  162. Cassandra – I believe we had our gum grafting procedures around the same time (mine was July 31st). I too have experienced the gums settling a bit and receding slightly. My periodontist said that was normal at my last visit on August 29th. He loosened the muscle inside my lower mouth too as it was contributing to the recession (pulling a lot). Finally able to chew on both sides now! I still very gingerly brush the teeth and gums of the grafted areas and just started flossing those spots 3 days ago. Now I feel cleaner and almost completely back to normal. Color of gums matches the rest of my mouth. I ate steak and corn on the cob over the weekend…woo hoo!! I feel like my smile is back to normal too now.

    1. Thanks Laura! I have been worrying about it, my check up is not till 14th September so this week. I have been brushing the lower part of teeth but not gum site areas, doing mouth washes still, careful what I eat (still soft foods). Am glad to hear not only one who has slight recession, must be pulling. The coloyr of gums are matching so thats good.

      My smile is still not at 100% I had 4 teeth done on one side. Well done for steak and corn on cob! woohoo. Can’t wait to have my check up to see what surgeon says, am so worried that all the pain and recovery was for nothing 🙁

  163. As I posted above in a response to Ann, I had surgery on the whole bottom except the last molars on each side in late June. I am now eleven weeks into recovery and will finally get the stitches out on Sept. 18th! I choose Alloderm because I didn’t want to have numerous cuts in the roof of my mouth besides all over the bottom. With Alloderm, my perio. leaves the stitches in for twelve weeks so I have been very envious of all these posts relating stitch removal at a week to ten days! I still have nerve pain on one side when I drink cold things or try to rinse with cool water. I went to have a cleaning the other day and she shot me with some cold water to rinse with and then had to pry me off the ceiling. Ouch. I really don’t know how much longer that pain will continue -I guess the tooth root is inflamed and doesn’t seem to want to calm down. The other side and the front are doing okay, no pain. I didn’t really have any staining problems even though I’ve been using the Chlor. rinse for so many weeks. She said she mostly sees staining on people who consume red wine but my instructions said alcohol and smoking hinder the healing process so I haven’t had any wine (and I don’t smoke anyway). It cost $4,600 for the procedure so I don’t want anything to hinder the healing! My insurance paid only $942 towards the surgery.
    My family has a history of soft gums and we all brush aggressively so we end up with severe recession. Trying hard to keep our teeth clean (the hygenists love us) and yet we end up spending a lot of money to save our very clean teeth. Arrgh! They say the removal might be a little painful and since my gums are still tender and squishy, I am not looking forward to that part but hopefully after the stitches are out, I will heal up and feel better. It has been a long 3 months.

  164. Had check up, all good!!! Perio was very pleased with gums, need to brush harder on other teeth and not touch gums still but all good. Next up are braces 🙁 …at 28 not so keen but correcting crooked teeth will help in the long run.

    I wish everyone well! This has been such a good support group…


  165. Now just under one month from my graft. Something weird – from under the harder gum tissue there is what looks like a bubble of newer looking tissue growing down from underneath. It seems like a darker pink/red than the harder gum and it’s softer. It gets brighter red after I eat then looks more pink.

    I asked the perio but he didn’t seem concerned or have any comment. Not much help there…

    It’s like its new tissue coming from underneath the gum and growing down past the original gumline.

    Anyone else see this? Is it a good thing?

  166. La Jolla Mom thanks for this website. I did three graft lower left yesterday at 10am. I had an Attivan to relax and antibiotics starting night before and Motrin for pain after. I was fine during procedure had my iPod in my ears eyes closed. When my husband drove me home though, I got nauseous and threw up. Ugh.
    Today on day 2 lieing in bed have not eaten anything Motrin and water are my friend but mouth feels like I have been punched. No spitting, brushing or drinking except water. No mention of rinsing with salt water on my instructions, says I can brush after 24 hrs but not those teeth worked on. My mouth does not want to open, sore feeling.
    I got some of those ingredients you recommended for smoothies. Just not feeling like getting up yet. Ideas welcome at this point. I hope I will be able to eat beginning of next month.

  167. I had the procedure done today. No sedation, just novacaine as I wasn’t offered a choice. The shots were painful for a minute until I was numbed up. Not pleasant. My doctor put a sort of putty over both the incision on my palate and the gum that was grafted, front lower tooth. The putty protects the areas, but I only hope it doesn’t come loose. I can eat soft foods on the unaffected area of my mouth. Taking Ibuprofen and so far it’s working. Next time I will ask for Halcion so as not to have to endure the novacaine shots. Don’t hesitate to have this procedure sone. Gum disease can cause a lot of problems including heart disease.

  168. Thank you so much for this blog La Jolla Mom! I had my surgery three days ago. Since I have questions about what to expect during the healing process, I did some searching and landed here. It has been very helpful to read about other’s experiences.

    My periodontist explained that she would cut tissue from the roof of my mouth and graft it beneath the affected bottom front tooth, then clip the tissue beneath that to stop the pulling. It all sounded awful, especially the part about clipping, but I did not want to lose my tooth. I delayed the surgery for about three months before getting it done.

    The surgery took a little over an hour and was not that bad. I remained fully awake. The injections to numb the affected areas were sharp but quick. I think the part that bothered me the most was getting the stitches in the roof of my mouth. It was not painful exactly, but the pulling sensation was not comfortable. That was done during the first half of the operation, and the rest was smooth sailing. She put a clear hard retainer up against the roof of my mouth and over my upper teeth after the surgery and I was instructed to leave it in place for 24 hours. After 24 hours, I was free to use it or not as much as I wished.

    I was prescribed three medications: amoxicillin, Peridex mouth rinse and Vicodin. Unfortunately, she did not give me these prescriptions until after the surgery was complete, so I had to drive myself to the grocery store pharmacy and hang around there for 20 minutes with the ice pack on my chin and wait for the prescriptions to be filled before I could drive myself home. I wanted to go home after the surgery and do not understand why I was not given the opportunity to fill the prescriptions ahead of time (perhaps some folks would pick up the Vicodin and skip the surgery).

    I was also instructed to take 800mg of ibuprofen every six to eight hours. Unfortunately, I did not follow that closely enough and took only 400mg, and ended that on the second day because I was not sure how long to do it. I thought it was for pain but I realize now it was to prevent swelling.

    Cold or cool soft foods the day of the surgery, soft foods of any temperature the next day. I truly disliked having that retainer in my mouth while I was eating and drinking. I existed that first day on yogurt and pudding. The morning of the next day, I popped a pre-made cheesy tuna noodle casserole in the oven (covered with foil so the noodles would stay soft) and cautiously loved each bite. With the exception of that retainer of course. I was at the 23 hour mark at that point, and I took the retainer out and have never put it back in.

    The top of my mouth has not bothered me much. I have not noticed the stitches there and it does not hurt. The area of the graft and ”˜clipping’ is sore, and I have been aware of very thin clear threads in the area.

    I took the day of surgery and the next day off work. By the third day my chin had swollen into a witchy poo shape (seasonally appropriate) and became quite bruised and I went to work anyway. I think I overdid it, because I was exhausted and chilled last night but had trouble sleeping (first night without a Vicodin). I am home from work again today and back on the Vicodin. Some of the swelling may have been caused by my incorrect use of the ibuprofen. Just talking and eating move that area too and might be irritating it.

    Even with all of the cheesy noodles, tators and pudding made with whole milk, I have happily lost four pounds.

    The total cost was $960 and my insurance paid $400.

    I hope my graft is OK. I am so glad I did this but really don’t want to again. I go for a follow up visit in a few more days.

  169. Thank you SO MUCH for this information! I just gone done with my gum grafts about an hour ago, and am still drooling on myself. I actually had two upper and three lower, so my mouth is basically, I am stitched everywhere…uppers, lowers and palate. I too opted for the stint plate, took my iPod, had a great periodontist who was very comforting and made sure I was never in any pain. I was very concerned coming home and a friend referred my to your post, for which I am very thankful. The ONLY thing I might add, since I had quite a bit of bleeding is that they told me I could use moistened tea bags instead of gauze. It not only helps with the bleeding, but it also helps with the “blood” taste which can make one nauseous. A nice non-caffeine tea bag such as mint or chamomile is much better than the alternative and won’t keep my up/awake (because of the caffeine).

  170. I just had a gum graft, my first, done this morning. I had it done on two teeth on the lower jaw in the back. One of the teeth holds up a bridge I’ve had for 20 years. The bridge is fine but the gum had receded on that tooth and the exposed part of the tooth was occasionally sensitive. This gum recession had been going on for many years. I decided I really needed to get it taken care of before I lost the tooth – and the bridge, as that would be a bigger mess to fix!

    The periodontist I went to also wanted to fix the gum on the tooth that was next to it at the same time.

    I just had local anesthetic and chose the donor tissue instead of taking it from my palate. It all took about an hour. He put 12 stitches in. It seemed to go pretty smoothly. He was a bit concerned that he had to patch such a large area. After the local wore off I was sore for a bit, but now after some ibuprofin I feel ok. I don’t think it has hardly been bleeding or seeping at all. He told me to leave it alone and not to chew on that side for a while (couple weeks?). Soft foods for a few days. I paid it all out of pocket, $1300. I go back in 3 weeks for a post op.

    I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

    Thanks to all the posters telling your story and experiences. Glad to hear I’m not alone here!

  171. I did this procedure randomly my mom just brought me to the dentist without warning me earlier, all they did was freeze it and they did two of the four i need to get fixed within 25 minutes i felt no pain but i could feel them cutting my mouth it actually felt kinda cool, then after the freezing wore off i had the biggest headache for like 16 hours straight

  172. Had mine done yesterday, was not as bad as I thought it was going to be and the procedure only took 40 minutes. Already today its feeling much, much better. I only took 3 Tylenol 1’s the first day and will need nothing today.

  173. I just wanted to say thank you to La Jolla Mom for posting these tips, especially for those fearful about the procedure. From experience, I can honestly testify to these tips as being some of the best ones out there. Sorry my post might seem long-winded, but these insights you provided really struck a chord in me, so I wanted to share my experiences in detail.

    My gum recession is almost entirely genetic, my mother and I both suffer from rapid recession from all teeth simultaneously. I’ve only had one cavity in my entire life, in a rear molar that I couldn’t reach because my mouth is so small and I floss every day, pick and even scale my teeth on a weekly basis. I completed my third graft a week ago today, my first was at age 12, my second at age 27 (which needed to be done years before that) and this third one at age 35. However, ours is an extreme case and was only correctly identified by a new periodontist (see below) and confirmed by his residency mentor the day after the last grafting (he had taken a series of photos during the initial consultation, immediately following surgery and again today during my follow up). I wanted to add my experiences and the outcome to date to help anyone who may be fearing this procedure, because there is truly nothing to fear and I second the notion that putting it off only makes you feel worse and causes your own anxiety to grow exponentially over time. I’d like to comment on the great tips above, but I’d like to push a new number one to the top to make it a total of 8 tips.
    1. Find the periodontist that is right for you: My first two grafts were done by the same periodontist, 15 years apart. They both involved the same teeth in the bottom front of my mouth, the 2nd being a larger re-graft of the original and two teeth beside it all from my own tissue from the roof of my mouth (in both graftings). He was not the most empathetic doctor, but I figured that he started the work so might as well finish it. He knew my history, I felt at the time of the second one that he could be trusted, so I went ahead with it and had very little issues, healed OK and scheduled a third based on the treatment plan. While recuperating, I reflected on the 2nd grafting experience and remembered some questionable things that occurred during the procedure (nothing inappropriate, just unprofessional) but decided I would go ahead with the 3rd a few weeks later. Both my partner and I took a day off work (because I was unable to drive from the medications, etc.), I took the Valium that was prescribed to be taken pre-surgery and had begun asking questions about the treatment plan. I was supposed to have two “areas” done at the same time for the 3rd graft at a set price, and was told (after taking the Valium an being prepped for the graft) that it was going to be almost double the price (but not exactly). So with the patient-doctor trust being broken, I got up from the chair and (with help) walked out of the office never to return. So “broken” by the experience was I that I put off any more grafting for another 8 years. This was probably my biggest mistake.
    So after being nagged recently by my current dentist (and my previous two, including his wife who was my dentist immediately before him) I decided to think about it. I haven’t been able to bite into ice cream since I was 9 years old and I have grown SO accustomed to intense mouth pain from eating certain foods that I thought about it long and hard again, for about 5 months) that waiting a little longer wouldn’t bother me. My dentist had just meet a newer periodontist in the area, and had 9 of his top teeth grafted by this doctor two months ago using Alloderm, and really did a hard sell for me to go in for a consult. On top of this, my company really doesn’t provide dental insurance. So I gave in…and I’m glad I did.
    My consult with the new periodontist was amazing. I told him (and my dentist who recommended this new perio) that I had trust issues with my previous surgeon and, armed with my questions and experiences I plopped down in the chair. I knew immediately that I was going to get nothing but honesty and compassion from this doctor because when I opened my mouth and he almost jumped. “Wow” was the only word he could utter for the first few minutes. So after an hour with him, a photoshoot and a discussion about my lack of insurance, I left. I received a treatment plan two days later in the mail, with everything spelled out clearly and even a discounted price because he really felt for me and I really needed to have the procedure done. It took me a couple weeks to figure out the financing, and ended up going with CareCredit. That’s been a positive experience as well, and I recommend it for those of us who can’t afford the procedure itself. The first round of grafting was going to be done on my top teeth, which had never before been grafted. This time, since I needed to have all 12 of my top teeth (wisdom teeth came out 6 years ago due to mouth size/space) done (and I elected to have them all done at once) I went with Alloderm…just not feasible for me to take that much tissue (would have been the entire roof of my mouth) for the graft. However, I didn’t trust myself that I would return to each side of mouth for my top teeth, so that’s why I opted to do it all at once. For anyone who is curious, this graft was discounted to $4000.
    Recap of #1: You have the right to ask as many questions as you need to as this is your body. It is the doctor’s responsibility to respond, clarify and to provide you a clear treatment plan and stick to it. If you feel uncomfortable at all during the initial consultation, you only owe (depending on insurance I assume) for the consultation. If changes to the treatment plan are necessary, ensure that you ask for explanation and clarification and all written documentation.
    2. Upgrade your drugs: Only you know how you might handle the situation. Go over these options at your consultation and if you don’t feel comfortable and are able to, move on to the next perio who can offer you what you need. I hate needles altogether let alone having so many in my gums and then injected into the roof of my mouth. With the numbing jelly first, then the shots, paired with the compassion and patience of the 2nd doctor, I found that even this was enough my 3rd graft using the Alloderm.
    3. Get the modern gum graft: My 1st graft left the gaping hole in the roof of my mouth and my 2nd was stitched. Go with the stitches…I remember the healing being much faster and nicer after the 2nd than the 1st graph.
    4. Get a stent to help prevent bleeding: Totally agree. I was not offered one for either of my first two and didn’t need one for the third. However, my mother was offered one for her last graft and raves about them. It greatly improved the experience for her.
    5. Bring your iPod: It’s one way to get to your “happy place” and it’s a good place to be in during the procedure. I didn’t think of taking my own but my doctor (2nd perio) offered up Pandora and asked me what channel I liked. I told him to pick because I like everything. Even caught him singing during the procedure, which actually made me more relaxed that the procedure wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.
    6. Have someone else also listen to post care instructions: I can’t stress this enough. Not only will you not be ABLE to remember everything due to the medications (and the care sheet may not be specific enough to your situation) but you may not be in the mindset to even listen. The most specific-to-you post op instructions come right after the procedure is completed. All I remember from each time is that I wanted to crawl into a hole and take a nap. The procedure can be exhausting even as the patient just lying there.
    7. Eat totally pulverized food for the first few days: My most recent post op instructions had a great comment on it about this, something like: “The only way a graft can heal is if it stays in place. Hard foods may shift the graft and the healing process must begin again each time this occurs.”
    8. Plan a whole lot of nothing for about 3 days after: No joke here. Try scheduling your procedure to maximize the time you can take away from other commitments without issue. For example, I took two days of PTO for Thursday and Friday, giving myself a total of 2 + 2 weekend days for initial recovery. For this last surgery, I even had to take an extra day off on the following Monday which helped significantly. Bonus points to LJM for the hint about diet here…I found it both physically and emotionally beneficial to not starve myself because I couldn’t eat certain foods. I got creative and supplemented with increased caloric and protein intake (using protein shakes as well) which allowed me to feel satisfied physically and like I wasn’t being denied food because I had to go through this.
    9. The pain during the gum graft: After the shots, I had zero as well. I’ve done Valium before graft #2 a few years ago and it helped a lot. For this one, I had no Valium at all. If you suffer from any anxiety normally, or increased anxiety during procedures like this, I would recommend inquiring about it.
    10. The pain after the gum graft: I would say that there are a wide variety of different pains associated with the procedure. This tip is right on about less invasive procedures and what/how the roof of your mouth and face feels when the donor tissue is taken for the roof of your mouth. Even people with high pain thresholds can find the pain associated with any of these procedures difficult to cope with. I am one of those people but had difficulty immediately after (especially with this last one), because there is no way to manage the pain you feel as the numbing and other sedation wears off, other than pain meds and ice packs. You can’t massage it out; you’re just stuck with pain and discomfort you can’t “get at”. However, don’t fear it…in each of my three experiences, once I got to sleep that night and on the pain meds, I didn’t feel the same level of discomfort again. I would definitely recommend locating your closest pharmacy to the periodontist’s office and maybe even seeing if they would prescribe the pain meds for you to pick up prior to the procedure so you can take one immediately afterwards.
    The results of this latest graft have been amazing. My 1st follow up was today, and he seemed shocked again when he looked at my mouth. He had only expected about 80% attachment and when I had asked him if any didn’t “take”, he said “No, they ALL took…and you got better root coverage than I had expected…they are almost completely covered…”. Back in a week to have the stitches out, but at least I can finally brush those teeth (not the graft yet)…which I am extremely excited about.

    Have no fear in going through with the procedure and its recovery. Speak up when you aren’t comfortable, you don’t understand or when you are in pain. For some, successfully going through with this process can also promote a positive life change.

    1. I have had 3 total of these procedures done. The first 2 times I only had one tooth done. They use tissue from my palate. Procedure itself not too long or painful. Maybe one day of pain which I took vicadin for then ibuprofen after that. I went to work the next day. No big deal. Minor swelling only noticed if I mentioned it. That was the first 2 times. This third time was done by the same periodontist and it was AWFUL. I had throbbing stabbing pain for 3 days and needed to take both vicadin and ibuprofen o keep it under control. I hate the putty in my mouth. After the first 2 the putty was off roof of my mouth 3 days later no problem. So I took it off 5 days in and have been MISERABLE all weekend. I am taking ibuprofen and Tylenol alternating every 3 hours. It takes the edge off but I am constantly having some kind of pain. I should never have taken the putty off the roof of my mouth. Feels like someone took a pizza directly from and oven and held it on my mouth for 10 minutes. I broke my arm and have 2 c sections and this is WORSE. Not sure why my experience this time was so different . Maybe because I had 3 teeth instead of one. But for those who say “it’s no big deal.”, that was your experience. I have had super good experiences and an awful one.

  174. I posted here a couple of weeks ago when I first had my procedure done. I’m at day 15 now. I had a gum graft (subepithelial connective tissue graft) done with Alloderm.

    For the first full week it was stable and only mild discomfort. I haven’t been eating or brushing on that side and I’ve been rinsing with salt water and periodex solution. At day 10 (a Sunday) I had some increased swelling of the site (a few mm). I called the office the next day to ask if it was normal and I was told that it was. This subsided after a few days.

    I’m now at day 15 and some of the white patches are sloughing off, leaving ragged tissue underneath. A couple of stitches have come loose. It does not seem to be healing as cleanly as some info I find online describes. I still have slight discomfort but it does not seem to be infected. My whole mouth is a bit irritated from the periodex and salt baths.

    I have my follow up appt at day 20 here. I’m a bit concerned that it seems to be healing slowly. Other people’s experiences I read describe them healing more quickly and cleanly. But my research also pointed out 4-8 weeks for full healing. Trying to be patient here.

    1. Shelly,
      I am now at 4 months after my gum graft procedure on 11 of my bottom teeth also with Allodern. My healing is still not complete. I was just given clearance this past Monday to begin normally brushing the site. I had one spot smack dab in the middle bottom where the stitch came out around day 10. This was too early. The area was very irritated and I had to stay away from biting anything with my front bottom teeth for over 3 months. The spot developed a white patch that was very slow to heal. For awhile I had some dental glue placed on it which helped to allow it some space to heal. After awhile the white spot changed to reddish/pink. I had to go back frequently to have some of the plaque removed since I was still unable to fully brush the site.

      I believe that everyone heals at their own pace. I have been strictly following all instructions, but when you have 11 teeth done, it is going to take some time. Right now my mouth still feels very tight. It feels as though I am having braces tightened daily. I get some tugging and pulling throughout the day based on how much I talk and how much I eat. I believe if I could get my mouth sewn shut for a few weeks, I would heal very quickly!

      I just went back on Monday and can now fully brush all of my teeth and gums. The one spot is still quite tender, but he believes in time it will heal. My periodontist told me that with so many teeth being done at once, it could be 12-18 months for full healing. I was not happy to hear this. Yet, I am sure in the long run, it will be worth it.I had my first dental cleaning on Thursday. It wasn’t too bad as they hygienist was very gentle. I have a bit of cold sensitivity right in the front.

      I hope your healing continues to progress.


      1. Thank you Anne for telling how your procedure is going. I hope you are healing quickly.

        I finally had my first post-op check, it’s been 3 weeks. I felt that 3 weeks was kind of a long time and I was concerned that it was not healing well. But the periodontist took one look at the site and said that it looked great! He was very pleased. He decided not to take the stitches out yet though. The stitches are soft and are not bothering me. I go back in 3 weeks for another look. He said that I could even eat and brush a little on that side. He even said that I don’t have to rinse it any more. It is still a little puffy and sore so I will probably try to avoid eating and brushing there for a bit more, and maybe salt rinse it a little still as that makes it feel better. But whew, I feel better now knowing it’s all ok.

        Thank you to all who posted on this, and Lajollamom! This was the best collection of posts on the procedure that I found anywhere online.

        1. Seems a little bit long for the stitches to still be in, I had mine removed after 7 days and the area was almost completely healed. The dentist even asked me to book soon to have the other side done.

          1. I had my stitches in for almost 7 weeks. At my 4 week check up my stitches were still there and just not ready to be removed. They were not bothering me at all. After another 3 weeks, most had dissolved, but the few strings that remained, I had removed. I would have done anything to make sure my procedure didn’t need to be redone. If it meant keeping my stitches in longer, that is exactly what I would do. Everyone heals differently. I remember reading on here of a woman who had to keep her stitches in for about 12 weeks.

        2. So I was at the perio a week ago and he said things looked good then. The graft looked to be covering the crucial areas ok. I don’t think things are looking good now though. I had been leaving the area alone, not brushing it or eating on that side (even though he said I could), but the graft has been creeping down, down, down on one tooth and it looks like I’m back to square one where the gum was originally. I’m pretty stressed about it now. I’ll call the office tomorrow, but I fear it will have to be redone. Sigh.

          1. Another update: I called my perio the next morning to discuss my concerns about the graft slipping. They said why don’t you come on in today and we’ll take a look at it.

            Dr. Jolley (yes, that’s his name, he’s an orthodontist too) looked at it and said “It’s ok! Don’t worry!” He’s not surprised that the graft slipped down on that tooth. That tooth has been exposed for a long time and he didn’t think the graft would adhere to it anyways. Good news is that the gumline is now nice and thickened along there so it won’t recede any more. I told him I was quite concerned about the longevity of that tooth and he said it would be fine as it is. He said he’s not going to redo the graft, but he may pull up the gum there sometime in the future. While I was there he asked the assistant to find the phone number of my dentist, but didn’t say anything about why he wanted to talk to him. Most of my stitches are still in there, they come out Dec 4.

  175. I had a graft done on 2 sites 15 hours ago. I have a low pain tolerance. The only pain that I have is from a slight headache. I took regular ibuprofin and it stopped. My dentist took my blood and separated the platelets and packed them on the site. That probably helped with the speed healing and no pain. I am using a plastic baby spoon with a very long handle to eat plain pudding and that feels very good. The donor site (platate) does not hurt, just feels like how it would after eating a piece of hot pizza. My gum graft site is tender, but does not hurt. I put this surgery off for 6 years as I am a chicken of pain and I wish I had it done sooner. I prayed and thought happy thoughts while having this done. Just do it and you will be happy that you did.

  176. Hi,I had a single graft on lower front tooth w a frenectomy yesterday morning. I think most of my pain is coming from the frenectomy. Seem as if he cut across the whole inside of my bottom lip/gum area. A lot of white tissue that at first I thought was left over dressing disolving. My putty has already came off?? Donor site doesn’t hurt at all unless food hits it. The weird thing is the graft looks like it is on the tooth beside the one that had the recession?? Anyone heard of this? Is it supposed to grow over to cover the exposes root?

  177. I will need gum grafts in the near future, and I have read all the posts. Will someone please tell about the recovery right after such as pain, swelling etc..,

    1. Depending on how good your Dentist is, you should be pain free after a few days. I just had my other side done yesterday and today its only a little bit sore. I even went and got my haircut 10 minutes after the surgery.

  178. HI Mary,
    I had 11 of my bottom teeth done in July with Alloderm so no hole in the roof of my mouth! The pain for me was quite manageable. I took 3, Tylenol 3 and then just Advil for about 5 days. I was very persistent with the ice and ice like crazy for the first 5-7 days. I had very little swelling and no bruising. I used both topical and oral Arnica for the swelling and bruising. The worst part was eating. I had to eat liquified food for weeks.

    My only issue with the entire procedure was not being thoroughly prepared for the long recovery. Common sense told me that having 11 teeth done at once would not be a walk in the park. Yet, my perio told me it would be a 6-8 week recovery. I am now almost 5 months out and still have tightness and pressure. I also was not prepared to eat liquidy food for so long.

    Hope this helps.


  179. Hello everyone,

    I had my gum graft done back in August 2012. Just an update, gums look good! I am still careful with brushing them, and one receeded slightly by a milmeter, I notice it more than others. So glad I went through with the surgery, am looking after my mouth. But am still bit scared with floss to be too vigourous with gums that had graft, is anyone else hesitant?

    1. Hello Again,

      In response to Cassandra’s post (we had our gum grafting surgery around the same time this past summer) I mirror your response. One spot in my mouth receded too and I am a bit tentative flossing or brushing vigorously there. I think this is normal. My perio said they look good, but I am being careful too. Better safe than sorry I’m thinking. The coloring is fine, no pain, no sensitivity…guess I’m just being cautious as I don’t want to undo anything. No worries and Happy Holidays to all! I’m so happy I finally went through with this surgery. It is worth it! Take care. ~ Laura

      1. Hi Laura, am glad to hear yours has healed ok and that being slightly hesitant is alright and normal. I wake up every day grateful I went through with it too. All the best too, Cassie

    2. I had my graft done about 8 weeks ago (and posted here several times about it).

      At my 6 week appt everything was about healed up and he removed one last stitch that hadn’t fallen out on it’s own. He was pleased with how it all looked, even though the major area we were trying to cover didn’t really get covered much. But the gum along that area is now thicker and he said it won’t recede any more and that he wasn’t worried about that tooth. He told me to come back in 6 months. He may do some more work on that area. Not another graft, but something.

      I still don’t eat on that side of my mouth much. The still exposed part of that tooth is sensitive. He told me to burnish it with Sensodyne on a qtip, that that sensativity would fade. I have just been brushing with Sensodyne at night.

      Glad I had it done though.

  180. I had my graft today. First, I would never do this again. Second, others may disagree. But really it is an individual preference. I put my surgery off due to fear of the pain and the unknowns about the surgery. The procure itself if not as bad as I imagined………..because I was being administered nitrous oxide. DO NOT SKIP THIS!!!!!!!! Take the gas! Also take the haclion prior to the surgery. The graft site (my front lower) has minimal pain 1 to 2 on a scale to 10. However, my donor graft site (roof of my mouth) is about a constant 6 or 7 out of 10. It is very painful with lots of pressure. USE ICE AS DIRECTED FOR 24 hours. This helps with swelling and where there is swelling, there will be increased pain!!! Still scant bleeding and drainage (after 9 hours). In summary- if I had to do it again I would not.
    If I could change anything about the surgery, I would have had a donor graft and not used the graft from my own mouth!!!

    1. Oh come off it… you must have had one terrible periodontist!… I can barely feel it and I had it done yesterday… like 24 hours ago. You either have no pain threshhold, are a total drama queen or just want to freak out people for some stupid reason. Trust me people, this procedure is NO BIG DEAL… cAROL

      1. I think it depends on how many grafts you had done and how bad they were to begin with. I had 11 teeth done at once and it was not a fun experience. The pain was tolerable, but when trying to eat it was difficult and being on a soft diet for long periods of time was quite difficult. I am now 6 months post my procedure and am still healing. I had some problems with a stitch coming out too early. This really prolonged my recovery.

        I also think it is wise to remember that everyone experiences pain differently as well as heals differently. For me this procedure was a BIG deal. I had 11 teeth done at once. It is also something I would never do again. I desperately needed it done, but it was not an experience I want to relive.

        Be kind and respect others viewpoints. I am happy the surgery was painless and easy for you. For others it really is a difficult procedure.

      2. Carole, are you so dense as to not realize that people respond to procedures in an *individualized* manner, and that those responses form a spectrum from mild to severe?

        For example, I was hospitalized for a week earlier this year with severe acute pancreatitis, which nurses at the hospital described as one of the most painful non-trauma conditions that they treat. For me, it was a rough week in the hospital and a long recovery, but not absolutely horrific. On the other hand, I had my first root canal a few months later, and the pain was absolutely horrific and unbearable. My endodontist was well-respected and I believe he didn’t make any mistakes. It’s just that I had a bad reaction to either the procedure or the gutta percha (dentists I’ve seen since then have differed on the cause), and suffered horrible pain for several weeks, finally having the tooth pulled two months down the road due to continued moderate-to-severe pain.

        When I read comments like Carole’s, I really wonder what kind of incredibly self-centered lives many people lead. Because in the minds of such people, if *they* didn’t have the experience like you describe, then it just couldn’t have happened. Sadly, some such people are even doctors and dentists.

  181. I had four wisdom teeth pulled 4 days ago and a tissue graft today … I know, crazy:). I have read through a handful of posts and want to give my two cents. The process was not bad. Believe me, having my wisdom teeth pulled was much more invasive. My doc transplanted tissue from the roof of my mouth to a bottom front. I currently have a band-aid on the roof of my mouth which feels a bit funny but very manageable and stitches on the front. Like getting a cavity filled, I took a couple of shots of Novocaine and the rest was relatively easy going:). My biggest challenge is food!:) Food must be carefully chosen and consumed!:) It’s a bit more difficult for me since I also had my wisdom teeth pulled, but it’s manageable. If you are scheduled for a graft, don’t sweat it! You will be fine and your mouth will thank you later:).

    1. Thank you! I needed to hear this. I am getting the graft in the same location and have also gotten my wisdom teeth removed…so to hear that the grafting is less invasive is good to hear 🙂

  182. I wanted to let you know that all of your posts and information has been so helpful. I had my surgery this past Friday and while I am kind of miserable, it was nothing like I expected. I had an awesome Periodontist and IV sedation which I highly recommend if you have that option. I also had a stent after surgery to protect the roof of my mouth. Today is my first day without it and my mouth is a little sore but bearable. I have been creative with fruit and veggie smoothies because I am pretty worn out from the limited diet. I do have to admit that it has taken me a few days to get back to normal activity and it sounds like others have gotten back to normal quickly so maybe that makes me kind of a baby :). Anyway, thanks for all of the helpful posts; not sure if I would have gone through this without them.

  183. Thank you for this blog and ALL the posts. They all really helped. Thankfully I’m only having one tooth done in March. The periodontist said he’s been doing them for almost 40 years so he must know what he was doing!! The main thing I was concerned about was taking Valium cuz I never take stuff like that but now after reading all these posts, I think it would really help. Re: the charges people were asking about. I know every office is different. Mine will be about $1600 for 3 visits(evaluation- took an hour, procedure and one follow up visit to remove the stitches).

  184. Just found this site – thank you so much LJM for providing this info. I’m going to get 3 lower grafts done next March. I was wondering if anyone can tell me what toothpaste & toothbrush they use now to keep their gums (& teeth) healthy. After switching back to commercial toothpaste last year, my gums have been receding fairly quickly (yikes!). I’m starting to suspect that I may have an SLS allergy. I’ve read that some people who’ve gone through grafting use Sensodyne because it’s SLS free. Also, I’ve read conflicting things about electric toothbrushes. For me personally, I feel that the Sonicare accelerated my gum recession – so I’m nervous about continuing to use it. My periodontist didn’t offer much advice in this area – though he did say that he really liked Sonicare. I’d appreciate any feedback you all can offer. Thank you 🙂

    1. Electric toothbrushes might cause this?? that is scary. Please post any more info that you find out about that. I love my Oral B electric .. C.

      1. Hi Carol,

        Sorry – I don’t want to scare you. Like anything, I think it just depends on the person. Apparently I have thin gum tissue to begin with (just found this out from a Periodontist). I had never really thought about it before my consult… I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Oral B. Do you use the Oral B Vitality?
        And some people swear by their Sonicare. I found this article online – the author & I seem to share the same issues:
        Hopefully other people will share their stories with us. If your Oral B is working, then that’s awesome. You know the saying, “if it ain’t broke…”

    2. My dentist’s office highly recommends the Sonic Care electric toothbrush and the hygienist said you have to know how to use it properly for it to not cause damage to the gums. I personally prefer a regular toothbrush. I have tried electric and it was causing more recession. I needed gingival soft tissue graft surgery for years, but only just got it yesterday. They had to do my entire mouth because I waited way too long and the damage got worse and worse. I had four bottom front teeth that were moving because of bone loss from the gum recession. Not to my touch, but to theirs. I did not get a second opinion because my old dentist who retired 2 years ago had already told me i needed it several times. but he would only say “you will need it some day”, not “you NEED it NOW.”, otherwise i would have got it done sooner. I was scared to death to have it done, my legs were shaking on the chair just getting the novacaine for it. But then the dentist told me to take deep breaths and she left the room for about 15 minutes to let the novacaine work, the hygienist stayed in the room and talked to me and really helped to calm me down. So when the dentist came back in, i was ready. She did a wonderful job. I was at their office from 9 am till 1 pm. Some of that time was waiting to go into the room, then the hygienist talking to me about the procedure and preparing everything in the room. She gave me 2 advil before we started because i had picked up my prescriptions the day before, but it didn’t say to take the advil before leaving. It did say to take the antibiotic and the anti inflammatory before. I had Alloderm, not from my palette. It went great. Just novacaine. They had music playing the the background and it helped, too. Just doing the novacaine took a long time. It felt like she was stitching, so i was hoping when she was done that it was all done, but no. She had to take breaks during the surgery. She did the left top first, then took a break. then came back and did the right top, right bottom, and left bottom all at once. She was very gentle, though there was some tugging and pushing going on. All in all, it wasn’t so bad, though at the end all i could think is “when is she going to say those words i am waiting for, I’m almost done!” and when she finally said it long after i was first thinking it, it was a huge relief! Drove myself home after, layed on the couch all day and night with ice packs every 10-15 minutes on then off. Drank my ensure and water. Tried sleeping with 2 pillows and didn’t sleep a wink all night. Today, just a little swelling still and no pain yet. i am taking 600 mg of advil every 5-6 hours, maybe that’s why. but even when i didn’t take some all night long till 5:15 am, there was no pain. i am taking them anyways for the swelling. My regular dentist does this type of surgery, but she only does Alloderm, not from the palette. Her techncian tgold me that she is very gentle and she’s like a fairy. and she was right. i am glad it’s over with and can’t wait for my two week appt. to see if she says i’m healing well. 6 week appt. for stitches to come out.

      1. Lori, my case is much like yours: bad recession throughout my whole mouth. My periodontist would be using donor grafts as well. I was wondering, how are your gums now? And how did you do having the whole mouth grafted in one sitting? I would like to do that, but my periodontist wants to break the grafting into two sessions: one side of my mouth, top and bottom, and then the other side, top and bottom. They said they want to do it this way so that I can chew on the opposite side of the gum grafts. I would rather have a procedure like yours though, so I don’t have to go through the procedure twice. So glad that you had a good experience.

  185. I wanted to comment on this blog since this is what I read to get my nerves up to get the surgery done. I’m so glad I did. I had my graft yesterday – with the tissue cut from the roof of mouth and grafted onto my two lower front teeth. I am 4 months pregnant, so the only option available to me was local anesthesia, and honestly, administering that was the worst part. Once I was numb, I never felt a thing. The surgery took 30 minutes from the time I signed in to the time I had my checkup scheduled, my coat on and was out the door. I had the best intentions of bringing ear buds, but completely forgot. That was okay because the periodontist and I share some similar interests, and he actually spent the entire surgery happily chatting away.
    I felt a dull pain on my lower gumline when the anesthesia started to wear off later that night, maybe a 2 on a scale of 10 for pain. I took Tylenol and a nap, and felt much better. Today is the first day post-surgery, and I am virtually pain free except when I open my mouth. And then, it’s not even the inside of my mouth that hurts. I think the periodontist must have had a firm grip on my chin during the surgery, because that’s what hurts.
    I just ate some pudding, brushed my teeth and used the rinse, and never felt any pain. I’ve taken some more Tylenol just in case, and will continue to wear my stint, but I’m hoping this continues and that I can start working out tomorrow.
    I think the worst part about the surgery was the build-up to it. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t worry if you have to get this surgery done. My suggestion is to go to a periodontist, not a dentist (that’s the first thing my dentist told me). Good luck!

  186. I am SO glad I found this blog this morning. I am scheduled for surgery next Thursday and after googling info about it last night, I got totally freaked out to the point I was going to cancel it. However, after stumbling upon this site, my anxiety has definitely waned. 🙂

    One question for you, if my surgery is on Thursday at 8 am (2 teeth only, lower center teeth) do you suspect I will be ok to go back to work on Monday? Or is 4 days not enough time off? (My job does not require a lot of talking, and I have a private office if that makes any difference. I am more concerned about the swelling/post surgery pain being an issue).

    Thanks in advance. Crossing my fingers to have the good experience that most of you had!

  187. You should definitely be able to go back to work on Monday. I had my surgery on a Thursday, took the next day off work, and the weekend. I could have worked that Friday. Felt fine. Eating is a bit uncomfortable, but you just limit what you eat. Good luck!

  188. I had my surgery Thursday 2-21-13. I have so much lower jaw swelling that my husband is calling me Jay. I scanned earlier messages and did not see comments about swelling. I used ice for the first day and less today. Tylenol and Vicodan manage the pain.
    So what about the swelling?

  189. Thank you all for posting all your experiences. I am a stage 4 cancer patient & have put off this grafting procedure until getting in remission. Finally, I am in remission and now need to take care of my teeth.I live in Orange County, CAlifornia. I sincerely would appreciate your help if you could recommend the name & contact number of your doctor that did your graft (s). I am also willing to drive to Los Angeles County or San Diego County. Please feel free to email me direct at wendyp111@gmail.com. Thanks so much for your help.

  190. I just had mine this morning, and one Ibuprofen had me feeling pretty good. My biggest issue was the numbness, and once that subsided, contending with the soreness from the anesthetic needle was the biggest problem. I’ve had numerous canker sores more painful than the two graft sites, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Still a bit nervous to try a shower, but I need to. We’ll see how that goes.

  191. My poor kid is only 13 years old and I was just informed that due to an injury 2 years ago from a fall on ice that he now requires 2 root canals and a gum graft on one of his top front teeth. I am particularly concerned with the issue that he will be unable to eat during the recovery time. He has a very fast metabolism and has to eat significantly more than the average person just to maintain his weight now. (lucky for him he takes after my husband)….also his pain threshold is not the best either. How on earth do I prepare a just turned teenager for the idea that he will have to undergo surgery such as this?

  192. I am scheduled to have the gum grafting done next week. I have never had a cavity and my outlook of the dentist is almost always positive. I had a terrible time with the removal of my wisdom teeth years ago; 3 dry sockets and an abscess tooth, took a month and half to get past all that… I’m not normally a worrier about stuff like this but what has me concerned is that I live away from my family and friends and don’t know anybody in my area well enough to help me with transportation or anything. I was told the day of and following day of the procedure to take things easy, very minimal activity so, being a mechanic, I scheduled it at the end of the week (Thursday). Another concern of mine is that I will be having visitors on Saturday. The eating thing won’t bother me but I will want to be able to enjoy a cocktail, or two… I feel like this might be a little bit more of a big deal than I originally thought and am considering rescheduling for earlier in the week so I can be more enjoyable when my guests are here…
    Any thoughts on my concerns?

    1. I had wisdom teeth surgery many years ago as well… what a nightmare.. 10 days of painkillers every 2 hours…
      gum surgery is a cake walk compared to that. I had mine in Oct. and was surprised that it was no big deal. My peridontist uses a substance like “crazy glue” to cover up the surgical areas so they are protected. Works great and I had no pain. They gave me 2 pain pills right after surgery and I think I had one more later. After that I was fine. Couldn’t eat that great, but I probably could have had a few cocktails if I were in the mood! Probably not a good idea to drink if you are on painkillers. I wouldn’t cancel if I were you… just get it done… you will be fine… Good luck.

  193. I had gum graft surgery yesterday on 4 teeth, at 25 weeks pregnant. In order to protect the baby my doctor went easy on the novacaine and I had no other medications. The anestethic wore off before he was done but even then it was manageable. I took Percocet twice yesterday. My OB said it’s completely safe, but I haven’t felt like I needed it since.
    Today my face is swollen and I have some pain on my gum line. No pain on the roof of my mouth where the grafts were taken.
    My doctor advised me to keep the stent in for 48 hours, except when brushing my teeth. When I brushed my teeth my tongue touched the roof of my mouth and I was shocked that it didn’t hurt at all.
    I brought an audio book with me and listened to it during the procedure. My doctor covered my eyes so I didn’t have to see anything. The whole thing took less than an hour.
    I’m limited to cold foods that don’t require biting, chewing, or straw. So, it’s been milkshakes, smoothies, juice, protein drinks, jello and pudding for me.
    I need to have my entire lower jaw grafted, so I’m really pleased with how easy it’s been so far. If you’ve been putting this surgery off I highly recommend you get it taken care of! I don’t look forward to my next two surgeries, but it’s not nearly as bad as I had imagined.

  194. Hi, I’ve been reading all these comments and posts. I have put off these gum grafts for what my dentist said to be 5 years ago that they needed to be done. They are my bottom two teeth, where my brackets were when I wore braces. He has worn me every 6 months that I go to the dentist for regular check ups and even writes out the referrals to have them done. I am so scared. They are at least 5 mm on one side and 3 on the other. Then I just went the other day and he noticed that I now have a third on my upper tooth next to my front left front tooth! Yikes!!! And he speaks now of a donor because of all the tissue I would need because I have waited to long and the gums have moved down so far. Should I be nervous?!!

    1. I think being nervous is normal but you will be so happy when it’s over! You may want to ask if they will do it all at one time or split it up into two procedures. After surgery, you’ll wonder why you put it off. You will be ok!

    2. Get it done! I would not have said that when I was going through the pain a few weeks ago but I am about three weeks out now and if I could do it, you can do it. My suggestion is to take 3 Advil before your appointment so it is kicked in as soon as you leave the office. Talk to the Doctor about pain relief. That is the main thing. I layered Advil (600 mg) with Vicodin. I would wait 3 hours after taking the Advil then take Vicodin. They are different types of pain killers so they can be in your system at the same time. By layering them you are never on the tail end of a dose. Talk to them about it. I also held ice on my chin wrapped in a wet wash cloth for days, 10 minutes on, 20 minutes off. The donor material will actually give you less pain. You would not have a sore in the roof of your mouth that way. From what I have read the people who used donor material had less pain. The good thing is mouth sores heal fast. I was in real pain for a week. the ibuprofin (Advil may give you constipation, it did me. Have some Colase on hand.) It is miserable to go through, do not plan to be doing much for a week but you will be glad in the long run. Like the Nike ad says, just do it. I put mine off for three years and dreaded it the whole time. It will just get worse. Do it! The actual procedure is painless once they give you the shots. I found it helps to pray and I did a lot of that.

      1. I had never heard of phantom pain before. If you are in extreme pain for more than just a few minutes you run the risk of the brain creating a pain pathway. If triggered by pressure, cold or hot. electric toothbrush, etc the brain can kick that pain path back into high gear and you feel pain in the original surgical site.

        I have had short bouts of this since my gum graft. I am currently into a two week bout of it. Not only the gun graft site but the site of a bad root canal and a painful crown lengthening. The gum graft phantom pain kicks in pain in those other sites as well. I am on amytryptalene ( not sure of the spelling) for the pain and it does reduce it from about a 6 to a 3-4. I think my teeth could fall out before I would have another gum graft. If you have to have one be sure you have well controlled pain. This is the same theory as with amputees who still feel pain in the amputated limb. The brain creates that pathway and continues to bring back the pain. I would have never guessed that I would be still be suffering from that poorly controlled pain after the graft.

  195. Thank you so much for this site! I found it a couple of weeks before I had my gum graft and frenectomy and it made me feel much calmer knowing so many people had gotten it done without having a terrible experience. Thought I’d share my experience:

    First of all, I am super afraid of pain. I was told 8 years ago I needed this done (two bottom front teeth). I got the consultation and after finding out what the procedure was, I told them heck NO! I finally gave in when the dentist told me it was getting worse. (I have genetically thin gums.) I spent weeks searching for a periodontist until I found one who would use IV sedation.

    I got it done last Friday and the only thing that hurt during the procedure were the numbing shots. Only a second for each one, and I was so out of it I was still relaxed. After they were done, they had me swallow a couple of pills (I’m assuming they were Ibuprofen). The doc told me to go to McDonalds immediately and get a large glass of water filled with ice and drink it on the way home… I’m not sure why.

    I was shocked that I really wasn’t in any pain. As soon as I got home, I took Vicodin before the numbing could wear off. I switched off Vicodin with 800 mg Ibuprofen so I was taking a pill every 3 hours (per doc’s instructions). Worked perfectly. The only time I felt any pain is if I moved my mouth too much in any direction. I have the putty on the roof of my mouth and it is completely painless. I believe I had the “free” graft which is where they take a slice from the surface and don’t use stitches. I had read that hurts more, but that has not been my experience so far. I also don’t feel the stitches at the graft site at all even though there is no putty there.

    Days 1-4 I did basically nothing. Took my meds (including an antibiotic) and ate and slept. I was able to eat soft food from day one (very small bites put in the back right side). I was told not to have any warm or hot liquids so I have chosen to be safe and only eat cold foods (cottage cheese, egg salad, macaroni salad with eggs and chicken from a can, milkshakes). I have not had any swelling or bruising or bleeding. I have not iced my face or anything. I did lay and sleep with my head elevated.

    Today is Day 5 (Tuesday) and I am back to work. I could have come in yesterday, but I chose not to. I’m a little worried that the roof of my mouth is going to hurt when the putty falls off; I’m thankful it is still on so far. I get my stitches out Friday.

    The worst part is I cannot brush my bottom teeth at all per doc’s orders (shhh, don’t tell anyone at work, lol, gross!). I rinse with Listerine 4-5 times a day. I’m glad I was told to use that instead of the stuff that stains your teeth.

    All in all, it seems I did a lot of worrying for nothing! I can’t say I’d want to run out and do it again, but so far, it hasn’t been too bad! I just hope it “took”. Good luck! 🙂


  196. Hello everyone,

    So I had my surgery back in August 2012. I had my 6-7 month check up with my periodontist as she is very happy as the gums are stable and not receeding again. I am happy too! But I make sure I floss carefully but not hard around the graft areas. I am so glad I had the surgery.

  197. I just had my 5th Gum Graft procedure on April 24. It doesnt get any easier but I am more then happy that I did it. 3 Grafts were done using my own tissue & 2 were donor tissue. I personally do better with the donor tissue. My tissue was just too thin on the roof of my mouth to use anymore. My advice is to just follow Dr’s instructions. Take it easy for a few days. Take your medication & antibiotics. I do the procedure cold turkey. No sedations, just novacaine. No problems. Never felt anything except pressure. Good luck to everyone. It sucks but it is well worth it 🙂

  198. We live in the hill country, and we moved back out here from Houston because we actually expect some serious problems if the dollar collapses and people cannot buy food. That can definitely happen. We like the hill country because it affords a pretty good opportunity to survive if the worst does come to pass.

  199. So I am 2 days post-op with my own gum graft of 4 front teeth. I had read all the horror stories as well and was scared to death when I went to the surgeon. She calmed my fears and…I PROMISE–it was a piece of cake! No pain during surgery. Very very little pain for the first 8 hours after surgery and today feeling like going shopping and a movie. Used no pain pills either. Ibuprofen only. Feel great. Just want people to know it may not be as bad as you think!

  200. I had a gum graft a week ago and today is the day when we go back to the dentist to have the stiches taken off, but yesterday the band-aid fell off and it really freaked me out, also the band-aid has been sort of shifting around for a few days, but i tried not to panic and just placed it back on the spot and pressed it down so it would reattach. but then today it keeps falling off and i keep reattaching it. but other than that i’ve been fine. actually from the first day when the numbness wore off the pain wasn’t too bad it was maybe as bad as a bruise, and the part that hurt would switch randomly between the part they took the gums from and the part they put it onto, or sometimes both at once. but it was never so bad i couldn’t handle it. actually since the numbness wore off i haven’t had anything to ease the pain, and since yesterday it hasn’t started hurting as often and when it does hurt it doesn’t hurt as much. although on that first day when the numbness wore off thats when it hurt the most, but even then it wasn’t that bad that i need to take something to ease the pain.

  201. Just wanted to share my experience and let you know what a great blog post this is about the gum graft experience. I had an unusually good outcome with this–I needed only one tooth done at the corner of my mouth (lower-left canine), so my surgeon was able to harvest tissue from the back of my mouth rather than the roof. As a result I’ve had WAY fewer stitches and got back to solid food the next day (although carefully). I also haven’t had any real “pain”, just some soreness around the graft area–I didn’t even need any pain killers save for a couple ibuprofen when I got home from the procedure. Honestly the worst part was worrying ahead of time over how bad I thought it would be.

    I got this done about three months after my dentist first recommended it. So maybe the bottom line here is that if you get the operation done early you can have a much easier experience as less work needs to be done.

    1. I had my second painless graft last week. I am wondering if periodontists in Canada use a different technique. the only stitches are on the graft and both the graft and the harvest site is covered with a substance much like crazy glue… and then overtop of the crazy glue stuff is a dental putty. I cannot feel the wounds, just the putty and the crazy glue on the roof of my mouth which is like a scab. The result is no painful areas and I pretty much eat whatever I want. The putty and the crazy glue stuff falls off after about 10 days. I have no pain, took only 2 painkillers on the day of and eat soft food for a day. that’s it.

  202. I just had gum grafts for 3 bottom left and one bottom right teeth. I had IV sedation which was awesome. I have had virtually no pain, I’m on day 4 of recovery. I have, however, felt sore, so have taken the recommended regimen of 3 Ibuprofen (600 mg) every 6 hours, until today, when I just took 400 mg this am. I have not taken any of the narcotic pain meds (Lortab) prescribed – recommended to take every 6 hours alternating with the Ibuprofen. I iced my gums frequently, and kept popsicles on the roof of my mouth VERY frequently. I wore the thin plastic upper mouth guard they made for me (“stent”) constantly. IN fact, the worst part of the whole surgery was making the mold for the stent – they put a large contraption with the cement needed to make the mold in my mouth, and kept it on for about 60 seconds – I had to use every anti-panic attack strategy I know to stay calm; despite KNOWING it would be ok, I was sure I’d swallow cement and it would get stuck in my throat! Wearing the stent is very soothing, but the end of the plastic (the device ends at the soft palate) feels sharp on m tongue when I swallow. So overall, fairly uncomfortable but certainly not painful. I plan to take one more day off, working at home, and will return to the clinic to get packing removed Tuesday morning and go to work (seeing therapy patients, which means lots of talking) for the rest of the day Tuesday. Hope it works!
    Bottom line – get it done, it’s pretty darn easy, just take 4-5 days of R and R where you don’t have to talk! The most activity for me was walking my dogs on day 3.

  203. I had my SECOND gum graft surgery two days ago. The first time (2010) was a total failure How I wish I had gotten a 2nd opinion.! My dentist had recommended 2010 periodontist and I like my dentist so I just “went with the recommendation. First guy used conscious sedation and alloderm (cadaver tissue)for graft material. He had a huge office beehive where he worked on four a patients at once. He offered no financial aid or grace period (I have no dental insurance). I didn’t like him.
    Two year later, professionals looking in my mouth could not even tell I had had ANYTHING DONE on receding gum problem. In fact it was much worse than before, with more recession and more sensitivity and looseness of teeth.
    I found a second periodontist who couldn’t be more different than first guy. # 2 dentist said that alloderm should not have been used on my front bottom teeth. He told me that alloderm is controversial, (although it apparently does have a place – but not in MY mouth). #2 uses tissue from the palate for the graft material. I took an Ativan; no needles in arm and overall out-of it sedation. Ativan worked fine!
    He is letting me pay in installments. He is Sooooo much better in every way than first guy. Just the feel of his office, his staff, and his attitude are much better. And he works on one person at a time. I wish I had trusted my instincts on the first dentist.
    I am out tons of money becasue I had to have a redo. My advice:
    Get as second opinion if you are considering this procedure.
    And by the way, the roof of my mouth (where tissue was taken) does hurt but it’s worth it because this time I think it is going to WORK!

    1. I’m curious to know how much people pay for their surgeries. Mine surgery was only $800 and my periodontist is the best…

      1. I believe it depends on how many teeth are involved. I am having 5 done tomorrow (yay for me), and the cost with insurance is about $2K

    2. I see you mentioned “loose teeth”. Did the graft address this completely? Did you also get a dental splint? Did you need a bone graft? I am asking all of this b/c I have a few loose teeth bottom front. They are only loose when examined..not much at all. The periodontist offered a gum graft & dental splint but seems to think that since I am only 47, I should just let her pull out all 4 teeth and go for implants. Well, I hate to pull out 4 teeth! And only so much is covered under insurance – implants are not. So we are looking at $8,000 possibly for implants! I am hoping to get the gum graft & splint instead. I am trying to find out the success rate for that but everyone is different so??? I do have a good amount of bone loss, which is probably the big difference. That causes teeth to loosen.

    3. Such a bummer about the failed surgery! I also didn’t get a second opinion, but I had better luck. His Yelp reviews were amazing and he really seems to take good care of his patients. He spent so much time explaining every detail to me of all the decisions he was making — about which teeth needed it and which could wait, whether to use my own tissue or donor tissue, various methods of sedation, etc. He didn’t rush any of the decisions and had me try some things like extra cleaning to see if the gums would come back at all on their own.

      On the day of the surgery, I was the only one in the office, the assistant spent a long time with my husband and I explaining post-op procedures, then the periodontist went out to the waiting area to spend some time talking to my husband before we got started. They even got my a blanket because they said people often get cold. I’m glad I got lucky with him, though, because so many people have recommended second opinions and I didn’t get one. Of course, I’m still mid-recovery, so keeping my fingers crossed for a good outcome!

  204. I had this surgery done on Monday (it’s now Thursday) but I am in Ireland and I guess they only do it the “old skool” way here.. The “gaping hole” way// The actual gum and where I have the stitches is ok. Really not that bad.
    But the “donor site” aka gaping hole has been hurting like HELL since Monday and I feel I wasn’t perscribed a strong enough painkiller.. I think today is the worst day, I have been in agony all day long..
    Don’t want to put anyone off having the procedure, it just sounds alot more pleasant the modern way, with the flap. Go for that.

    Also, Carol, my surgery was 500 euros.

    1. Did they cover the donor site with a putty like substance? That’s what they did with mine and it didn’t hurt at all. You might want to call the perio and ask him about it.

    2. Elena, no it is not any better in the U.S. My donor site is like raw meat. The pain is bad, real bad, one month out from surgery. Post surgical infections. Drained emotionally, physically, mentally and financially. This is 2018 and the procedure is not any better.

  205. Oh Elena, poor girl… ok everyone,, I think we have to get all these perodontists onboard with the least painless way of doing this surgery. My guy uses “dental crazyglue” on both sites and covers up the grafted area only with putty as well. That’s it.. very little pain. I’m sure he didn’t invent this technique so sounds like some of these guys are not up to speed with this surgery technique. Other than that, I would recommend you seek my periodontist in Guelph, near Toronto, Canada and get him to do it. He’s the best! Carol

    1. Hi Carol,

      I am in Toronto and looking for a good periodontist. Can you tell me his name? Also, was any of the surgery covered by OHIP or personal insurance? If not, how much approximately does this surgery cost? Thanks!

  206. Don’t have them take it from your palate. Find someone who uses synthetic skin. It is not painful and looks awesome!

  207. I really appreciate your post. I just found out that I need the surgery for gum recession and am rather scared about the whole thing. It’s also quite costly so I’m debating getting a second opinion. Your post corresponded to much of the info I received today and makes me feel a lot better knowing others have gone through it with a positive experience. I live in San Diego, I’m wondering what oral surgeon you went to? Thanks again!

  208. I am now three weeks out from my graft surgery. DDS has planned to do 7 teeth but did 8 (one was “free” – he had enough tissue and “went for it”). Was it painful? Surgery was not bad AT ALL. Recovery was very painful. I am still somewhat sore where the graft was on roof of mouth (When I eat cold or acidic stuff – getting little better every day).

    Would I do it again? Absolutely!
    I really had to do it to save my mouth.
    I have to tell you the truth here and not gloss over.
    1. Get a 2nd OPINION.
    2. Don’t under estimate how difficult recovery may be. It laid me low for 2 weeks.
    3. Face the fear and do it anyway. With the right DDS, a good attitude, drugs (thank goodness for modern meds like antibiotics and Motrin and Vicodin), support, self care, a fat wallet and determination – You can do it! In other words, be prepared.


    1. Pomponette, you are right on. Pain, pain and more pain. You need a fat wallet and expect to be drained emotionally, mentally, physically and financially with no guarantees.

  209. Thank you so much for this very informative post on gum graft surgery. It was a great comfort to me before my surgery (which I had yesterday), and I found everything you wrote to be accurate. I had the halcion, and remember bits and pieces of the procedure, but no pain whatsoever. I also had the retainer-like thing on the roof of my mouth, and that is the only area that seems a little sensitive. I find that 2-4 Advil work for that level of pain. So, for those of you who are getting ready for this procedure, chill! It’s not nearly as bad as you have worked it up to be.

  210. La Jolla Mom, may I ask you for the name of the periodontist that did your surgery? Or if anyone has any recommendations for someone in San Diego??

  211. I had gum graft surgery 6 days ago. I’m in the US / Ohio. I Had four teeth done and grafts were taken from my pallet. I chose the novacaine…because the cost of of anything more was a minimum of $350 extra…and they did have to give me a couple extra shots about 45 minutes into the surgery because it started to wear off. The hardest thing about the procedure was keeping my mouth open wide and the uncomofortable way my head had to be tilted in order for the doctor to do the surgery. I’ve had severe reactions to stitches in the past so a synthetic hyperallergenic material had to be used. My swelling and bruising has been pretty excessive and an ice pack was my best friend for the first 3 days. That’s probably just me though, as I bruise very easily I have an orthodontic retainer that I’ve been wearing 24/7 so that the stitches in the roof of my mouth are not exposed but my tongue keeps drifting to the stitches in the inside of my mouth. The outside portion, next to my cheek, is covered in the putty, which is absolutely fantastic. I don’t feel any discomfort on the main surgical site. I’m still sleeping propped up. When I lay flat, it starts throbbing still. The doctor will remove the stitches 2 weeks from the surgery date. Since my insurance isn’t very good, I could only get one side done this year and I’ll get 4 teeth on the other side done next year. The total cost, including consultation, was $2,200. Overall, I will say that if this saves me from losing any teeth, any healing discomfort for a few weeks is well worth it!

  212. I posted here last Oct that I had a graft done on a tooth that had a lot of recession that had been there for many years. The graft went ok but did not end up covering much of the exposed area but it did thicken the gumline and my perio was not too concerned about it at the time. I guess the new gum doesn’t stick to tooth that has been exposed for a long long time, and I think my cheek muscles pull the gum down a bit too.

    At my 6 month check on it in June the perio said he wanted to do a “refinement” on it. I’m not exactly sure what that is. I heard the word “alloderm” used so I assume it is a similar graft procedure. He will do this in mid-Aug. I expect it will be the same sort of surgery and recovery experience for me. He will not be charging extra for this.

    1. Here’s my update.

      I had my second gum surgery done nearly 2 weeks ago. I’m not exactly sure just what he did but my guess is that he made a deep horizontal incision (he pushed down pretty hard on my jaw a couple of times) well below my gumline and pushed the whole gumline up and packed a wad of Alloderm below the gum material and put several stitches in to hold it all in place. Hopefully it will end up covering at least part of the large exposure I’ve had for a long time. He told me to come back in 2 weeks to check it.

      The whole area is still quite swelled up just at the surgery site, and a little tender, and I’ve just been rinsing it with salt water and leaving it alone and trying not to worry about it. Last time I was worried about localized swelling in the first couple of weeks and went into his office to have it looked at and he said it was fine. So trying not to worry this time.

      He gave me a bottle of Peridex to rinse with for the first few days. I used this stuff last year with no problems, but this time it made my mouth quite irritated after a few days. Reading up online, other people has also had issues using Peridex. So salt water for now.

      Much of the surface tissue on my surgery site is quite white now and will probably slough off in a couple of days (yuck). My last surgery took a good 6 weeks to completely heal so I’m just being patient here.

    2. As far as I understand, Alloderm is donated cadaver tissue (rather than using your own tissue from a donor site). Hope that helps a little!

  213. Thank you so much for this. I’m having surgery tomorrow and this article is the most helpful thing I’ve read. Much appreciated.

    1. Good luck. And *relax.* It won’t be that bad. Once he numbs you up you won’t feel a thing. Recovery might be a bit of a discomfort for a few days but it will get better each day. Have plenty of soft food in the house.

      I had my first surgery last fall done first thing in the morning, and that evening we ended up going to a friend’s house for dinner. They kindly made me a bowl of soup and some mashed potatoes. I didn’t feel too bad.

      I have my re-surgery on Thursday. Not too worried.

      1. Thank you, Shelly. I hope your re-surgery went well. My surgery was very easy. Thank heavens for the Halcion; the surgery was 2 hours but felt like about 45 minutes. I only had to take the vicodin the first day, and after that the ibuprofen has taken care of the pain. Almost no swelling, and no facial bruising. The hardest part is not being able to exercise, but I’m hoping that restriction will be lifted when I go back on Tuesday. I feel tremendously lucky. Either my periodontist is really good or he just stuck a bunch of putty and stitching material on my gums instead of doing the operation. And put the dressing on the roof of my mouth. How in the world does that stay there? I’m at almost 6 days and it’s still in place.

        A few recommendations for people looking at having this surgery:

        I agree with a previous poster; get at least a second opinion. The first periodontist I went to was very conservative and didn’t feel he could do much (boy, was THAT encouraging). The second was the opposite; he wanted to do the whole mouth ($11,000!). The third and final was a recommendation from a doctor friend, and I am very happy with him. I had about 8 of the bottom teeth done; cost about $3200. Before he would do the surgery, he had me take several months to change my flossing technique and dental care routine; that, plus the salt-water rinses every night, brought my gum level up in most areas, giving him more to work with and much healthier tissue to connect to. This is one of the things I REALLY liked about him; he looked for what was aggravating the gum recession rather than just doing the surgery right away.

        Definitely helps to take the iPod! No idea what I was listening to, but it was nice to have music.

        I highly recommend the Halcion; that prescription only cost me a few dollars (I don’t have prescription coverage) and was very much worth it.

        Recovery foods: yogurt is great. Don’t forget about smooth nut butters like tahini; they’re a great source of protein, also soft goat cheese and cheese spreads. Scrambled eggs! Popsicles, definitely.

        And thanks to La Jolla Mom and all of the previous posters. It was so helpful to have all of this info.

          1. I saw Dr. Sirinian in Solana Beach. We had some billing issues (paperwork really–all was resolved) but otherwise I’d see him again.

        1. I had gum grafting surgery 2 weeks ago and still have some throbbing pain- oddly enough it’s one of the front teeth in front of host site:/
          I was wondering if you could elaborate on the things things your dr had you change- your flossing, salt water rinse and anything else? Are you still doing these things? Want to make sure this takes and cut back on inflamation. Thanks!

        2. Hi

          I am very interested in know how you reversed some of the recession around your teeth by changing your dental habits & salt water rinses.

          How much improvement did you get to help your dentist.

          Thanks in advance for your reply.


  214. I just had a gum graft done 2 days ago. No as bad as I expected. Advil is working fine for the minor pain. And I don’t feel anything at the donor site on the top palate. Starting to get swelling on the bottom where I have the graft placed. How long did it take for your donor site to heal?

    1. Mine felt nearly normal in a week and a half. I’m assuming you have the putty on the donor site right now? My putty stayed on 6 days and I had very little discomfort during that time, then after it fell out I had a few days of very minor pain.

      1. Thanks for this. I am on day 7 post graft and I suspect it’s the first day without the putty/gel on the roof of my mouth. It is feeling a little more sore (but nothing alarming). Nice to hear what might be going on. I actually have two donor sites on the roof of my mouth so I’m expecting to be in it for the long haul. 8 days until my followup!

        I’m surprised, though, that I seem to be having a harder time eating than others. I find it hard to chew with the stent and I always worry it will get food on the graft site. Do others feel that’s the case? I had the entire front of my lower teeth done. Maybe that’s a lot and in a weird spot for eating.

        I also was very tired for a few days post-op (with Valium and Versed). I do tend to take a while to bounce back from sedatives, though, so maybe that’s just me. It’s all been manageable.

    2. I have been reading all the posts and appreciate the info. I need some advice. I just had 6 teeth pulled in Oct, and have full upper denture and partial lower denture. I have recovered relatively well.
      I have perio disease and am going for tissue graft on one of bottom teeth on Dec 10th.
      Question? Will I be able to work the following day? I am a massage therapist.
      I will be driving myself and doing local sedation,, I should be fine until I get home, I would assume.
      Any other suggestions/advice is welcome. Thanks

      1. Yes you should be able to work the next day. I have had 3 of these procedures and have experienced very little pain, only discomfort while eating, and had only local anethesia. good luck. Carol

    3. I had gum surgery eight days ago, and my chin and lower lip are still numb and swollen. I’m still feeling pain and taking regular doses of pain medicine. My doctor said immediately after surgery that it was a “textbook success,” but I am not so sure now. He’s out of the country for Christmas vacation, so I’m going in to have one of his colleagues check it today. Actually, I’m pretty concerned.

  215. Has anyone heard about pinhole surgery to correct recessed teeth/gums? I came across this website and considering the procedure. Any feedback regarding this procedure would be greatly appreciated. I have many teeth that would need to be grafted. I do not think I could get through the traditional grafting procedure.

    1. Wendy, a few weeks ago I had the two bottom, front teeth grafted using Alloderm. The doctor didn’t know if I had enough existing tissue for a blood supply but it worked fine. It covered over half the root and built up the tissue thickness. These teeth don’t hurt anymore. I would like to get some other teeth done also and would use Alloderm for this too. I knew I couldn’t do the procedure of taking tissue from the pallet, so I understand your fear. I had the Novocain only, and I didn’t feel a thing.

      For three days after, the doctor had me take 800 mg of Ibuprofen three times a day, use a cold pack on the area immediately after the surgery and then off and on for about three days (I had no swelling or bruising), rinse with a prescription mouth rinse twice a day, and took an antibiotic twice a day. On the fifth day after the surgery I had a stabbing pain but I took two Ibuprofen and it went away. That was the only pain I had.

      I was told only cold liquids and cold soft foods the first 24 hours. Also don’t eat anything that can get under the graft like nuts and seeds or anything sharp like chips.

      Talk with your doctor about your fear of pain. It should make you feel more at ease if you know your doctor understands. We are not the only ones with this crazy fear. To me, this procedure was like getting a filling only it took a little longer (about an hour). After it’s over you will probably wish you had done it sooner without all the worry. Be sure to check back with an update.

    2. I have been looking into the pinhole surgical technique, too. I want to know more about it. I don’t want a quick fix that does not last. I would like to know if it does compare to the results of grafting. I want long term results.

    3. I had a very bad reaction to traditional gum graft surgery years ago. Was hospitalized after for 10 days with C-diff infection.

      Looking into the Chao Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation. Does anyone know if it can be used on the lingual side of the tooth? Everything I see, just shows this procedure being performed on the front or cheek side.

  216. Thanks so much for this blog; it really helped me prepare for my graft last Saturday. I am 64 and have an unusual allergy to anything plastic or adhesives of any kind, plus I am hypersensitive to any type of anesthesia and have severe side effects. So, my periodontist had to use some “old school” techniques. The graft was just one molar on the lower right side. He used a novocaine-type local on the right side and on the palate. The injection on the roof of the mouth I thought would freak me out, but it was actually easier than the long injections in the right jaw line. The procedure itself took about an hour and was no worse than a crown or root canal, so I was pleasantly surprised. He used chromic gut stitches on the palate and graft site, and couldn’t use any putty or ‘band-aid’ on the palate due to my allergy. I had to use wet gauze and place pressure against the palate site every 10 minutes, for the first hour after surgery. That actually helped, and I surprisingly had no bleeding or seeping from the area. Two hours after the procedure and the local had almost worn off, it started to hurt, so I had a spoonful of applesauce and 2 Advil. Mistake! I got extremely dizzy, got a cold sweat, and nearly passed out. I started hyperventilating, and my husband eventually was able to get me to sit upright and slow down my breathing. Scary moment. Apparently I can’t handle even Advil when the local anesthesia is still in my system! Within the hour, the Advil started working, and no pain. I then had some soft foods and cold liquids, slept a little, and slept propped up all night. The day after surgery, I had no pain on the inside at all, but my jaw hurts a lot from the injections, so I continue to ice it and take my Advil. My periodontist’s post-op instruction sheet was VERY detailed, so I am following it to the letter. I am taking my Augmentin antibiotics, brushing only the left side, no spitting, and using a saltwater rinse (he does not allow any mouthwash, prescription or otherwise.) I am getting creative with puréed food (I am a cookbook author, so it is fun coming up with new combinations.) I do miss my exercise, though, especially my water aerobics that I would do twice a week. I can’t swim for 2 weeks after surgery. I am now in Day 3 post-surgery, and I go back in for a post-op check on Day 7. Fingers crossed that it all looks good. I live in the Central Coast area of California, so if anyone lives nearby, I would be happy to refer you to my periodontist. Because I am older and have these weird allergies and sensitivities, I thought I would contribute this post. Hope this helps!

  217. I had this done two days ago. It was really one of the easiest dental procedures I've ever had. Easier than getting my braceson, easier than a filling. The sedative and the gas probably had something to do with it. I'm still feeling pretty tired, but probably that's a combination of the proedure itself, not eating normally, and laying around the house for most of the two days after. I'm getting annoyed by the dressing in the roof of my mouth, so I'm probably going to call them to see if they can replace it or something. It has somewhat slid off the site and makes it hard to talk sometimes.

  218. First of all, I want to thank everyone for sharing their information and experiences . This was enormously helpful in preparation for my own Dental Graft Adventure. Now that the worst is behind me, I wanted to weigh in on some of the recommendations and share what I went through. Hopefully, my experience will answer some of the questions raised by the readers of this post. I have documented it in more detail on my own blog (http://closetperfection.blogspot.com/p/dental-graft-diaries.html). I sincerely hope it helps someone manage their expectations in preparation for their upcoming surgery.

    Thank you, Katie The La Jolla Mom, for providing this forum and letting us all speak our minds. Hope your day is super fabulous!

  219. Week prior to my surgery I was having pretty bad ANXIETY attacks about it and was over analyzing everything and assuming the worst. I was specifically scared to take the drugs prior to surgery, I get anxiety from having a lack of control over my body. They gave me VALIUM and VICODIN. But to be honest, the valium and vicodin didn’t hit me hard, like I thought they would, it was a gradual relaxation and was way more mild than I thought it’d be. I highly suggest people to take valium or some sort of relaxation drug. I got my gum grafting procedure done yesterday (Friday Aug 8th 2014) in the morning. They numbed me up by rubbing ORAJEL on my gums with a Q-tip and then with the NOVACANE INJECTIONS, the injections DID NOT HURT AT ALL surprisingly. Then they began the surgery. Summed up: the WORST PART FOR ME was when they sliced the roof of my mouth open, it really hurt so they numbed me more but it didn’t help, but no worries it was only a few seconds of pain during initial slices. UNFORTUNATELY for me: after poking and scrapping and cutting the roof of my mouth for probably 20 minutes, turns out the skin on the roof of my mouth was to thin. So all of that was for nothing and then ended up using a DONOR GRAFT. So they stitched up the roof of my mouth, and then continued working on the actual gum graft on my TWO TEETH (bottom front left side and thankfully didn’t have more than that) I brought my I-POD, which was relaxing! my procedure I believe was AROUND ONE HOUR AND THIRTY MINUTES LONG. OVER ALL: it was WAY EASIER THAN EXPECTED. Very minimal pain, time flew by!

    AFTER SURGERY: I felt great! mouth stayed numb for a good 5 hours of more. Felt NO PAIN the entire FIRST DAY. I ATE A LOT, a frosty from Wendy’s, yogurt, smoothie, jello, even pasta/homemade pancakes my mom made (room temp of course). EATING WAS EASY. Took a nap and watched movies, and ICED MY FACE ON AND OFF FOR 20 MIN INTERVALS throughout the day (HUGE HELP) . MEDICINE: I took Ibuprofen and vicodin and antibiotics. SLEPT GREAT THAT NIGHT. SECOND DAY(today) I still have NO PAIN, EATING WELL, although I am starting to get a good amount of SWELLING. Basically, despite some swelling, I feel like I didn’t even have a surgery hahaha. I am very thankful my surgery and the time since has been easy for me. I hope everyone’s experience during and after is as good as mine.

  220. I had the tissue grafting done 7 days ago…
    The injections were horrific!!! The actual procedure was uncomfortable but not bad. That day went along okay, but since the next day I have been in some MAJOR pain. I have Fibromyalgia and was told that my pain might be more than normal. I have pain pretty much 24/7 but have learned to accept it and get along the best that I can. Whenever anything goes wrong with me I deal with a double dose of it.
    I wasn’t looking forward to this surgery but wasn’t dreading it either. I just wanted it to get done and be over with it, that’s all.
    Like I said earlier, it’s now been 7 days and I feel pretty sure that I’m going to loose my mind if this thing goes on much longer! The bandaid putty came off 4 days after surgery. That was okay, a little more pain but nothing to worry about. However, the donor site in the roof of my mouth has been burning non-stop since day 2. It doesn’t let up!!! Chloraseptic, Ora-jel paste, “Magic Mouthwash”,and other OTC items have been tried and they only last minutes if they do ANYTHING! I called The doctor on Thursday when I thought it must be at it’s worst and though she had given me Hydrocodone (which did NOTHING) she then prescribed Percocet (again, NOTHING). It’s now Sunday and I’m Still clinching my teeth a holding my breath. Drink? No more than is necessary. Eat? I can manage a bowl of noodles or grits after numbing with the mouthwash and then numbing immediately after eating.
    I’m taking 4 Advil every 4-5 hours even though that doesn’t do much, it does more than the Percocet did.
    I realize I’m always the odd person who never gets things that are clear cut and that my body doesn’t respond to meds the way most people do… but can any one tell me what I might try to get some relief?
    I’m crying with pain and really desperate for help!
    Thank you!

    1. Hi there. I work for a periodontist in Pennsylvania and have been with him for over 11 years as his surgical assistant. I’ve also been in the hot seat. The most important thing to do as a patient is listen to what the doctor or assistant tells you to do. Warm salt water rinses help heal and soothe the surgical sites. Don’t get in there and try to see what was done. That could make things worse and just try to ignore the area. I know easier said then done. The putty helps the palate stay protected and comfortable so try to leave it alone. If you are nervous going into the procedure and your blood pressure is high, you’re going to burn through your anesthetic faster. Try to stay relaxed and let the trained Periodontists do what they know best. And most importantly! Don’t let your general dentist do this on you unless you don’t care about the outcome. We do grafting at our office 4 days a week sometimes 5-6 times a day and on people as little at 7 years old. Most of our patients have the procedure without a sedative. It’s not any worse then having a filing. If you have questions about gum grafting, I’d be happy to help .

      1. I am 7 days out. Upper and lower free gingival grafting. The pallette was the donor site and they used a PRF (I know what it is but can’t explain it). Most stitches have come out of the PRF but it’s still staying in place. I have big wads of Bubble Yum packing on upper and lower right sides. My main question… how long before I can have my club soda back? I’m dying for some carbonation?i think they said something about club soda could interfere with clotting. When is this fear usually over? I’m healing well as far as anything else. Thanks!
        I’m really dying for some carbonation. I don’t drink sugar or flavored drinks.

    2. any advice, I am considering having the gum graft. I have great teeth, but have noticed receding over some of the upper right hand side. I am nervous, but do not want to have major problems from being nervous… Thanks, Robin Allard What is the cost if coming out of pocket, no dental insurance. Like my husband tells me, “Why, when do you think you’d really need it? I think its important, wait until he sees the bill for this … thanks again

      1. Regarding cost: I had 8 teeth in three areas done in August 2013, and it cost $3200, no insurance. I saw my periodontist a couple of months ago and I need one tooth done; that estimate was $1500.

  221. Thank you so much for this information. I read it before I had my procedure and after and it helped so much. Thank you for posting!

  222. I just had a gum grafting for 1 tooth on 10/31/2014. The surgery went easier than I thought it would be. The worst part was when he took donor tissue. I could feel a sharp pinch on the roof of my mouth I knew at that moment he was taking the donor tissue. Like others above I had one ear bud in listening to music really helped take my mind off it. I was prescribed 800mg Ibuprofen. I have only taken 1 and that was about an hour after surgery right when we picked them up. Earlier that day I had picked up a drink from Albertsons which is amazing. Aloe Vera King with pomegranate. It takes all of the pain away and I haven’t taken any Ibuprofen since. When I don’t drink any for a while I start getting that sensation like a pizza burn on roof of mouth. I drink some Aloe drink and it goes away for several hours.

  223. This post and all of the comments were a big help for me before getting my gum grafting surgery done, so I wanted to post as well.

    I am only 5 days out, so I might post again after I go in for my follow up appointment. I had 3 teeth done on my upper-right-hand side near the front of my mouth. I was nervous about the surgery and had planned on taking a pill to help, but something got lost in translation, and I was never prescribed that pill, so imagine my nerves finding out that I couldn’t have it because I was supposed to take it the night before! Anyway, it was silly for me to be nervous because I felt nothing during the procedure; no pain at all! Afterwards the only time I bled was briefly while I held the cold pack on my mout at check-out.

    I never really felt any unbearable pain afterwards either, just more of a throbbing or perhaps a mild stinging. I did take the extra strength ibuprofen and Tylenol with codeine just in case though, or whenever I felt throbbing. While I can chew on the one side, it’s hard to do because I can’t really bite into anything because of the location of my graft being next to those front teeth, and I’m paranoid to do anything that might disrupt them. I’m also paranoid whenever food gets on that side of my mouth because I really want everything to turn out perfect. But other than REALLY wanting to eat chips and spicy foods (both things I love), things have been really easy. Day 3 was the worst for me for some reason, but I think having my monthly friend visit on that day probably played into that.

    Here’s hoping that my follow up appointment at the 2 week mark goes well and she tells me it all looks good!

  224. I’m about 24 years out from when I did it. And I had a ziacam and I put it on my graft not thinking. I was just moving it around my mouth. Now I am in pain where my graft is. Ugh….

  225. I just had this surgery today. For all those reading this who are facing this surgery let me put your minds at ease. I only had novocaine – no valium or anything to relax me first and I felt NO PAIN WHATSOEVER! I had the graft around three of my teeth on the bottom of my mouth and they took the donor tissue from the roof of my mouth. I felt none of it. The whole thing took about an hour and the worst part was the shot to the roof of my mouth – which was not bad at all. Here’s my advice from my experience so far: have it done early in the day so you don’t have to fret over it all day (and again, it’s nothing to worry about), plan on going home and relaxing the whole day afterwards and keep plenty of ice cream or sherbet and soups around to eat. The doctor is having me ice my jaw all day the first day (20 minutes on and 10 minutes off) and that is helping a lot. I’m sure I’ll be sore in the morning but day one so far has been a breeze.

  226. I have had two gum grafts myself and you advice is spot on. I had Halcion with Xanax and the did help, although I was so extremely nervous so I was a bit too aware for my liking 😉 although next time (I have two more to do) I will relax and let the drugs do their job. I agree about not planning on doing much for at least three days, sleep and let your body heal.
    Thanks for sharing your experience I’m sure this will help many.

  227. A year later after having my done, my dentist tells me my receding is genetic and may keep happening. Is there anything I can be doing to slow this down other than bushing properly and flossing. I was reading about oil pulling but I don't know if this is an answer.

  228. I just had a gum graft done on 6 upper teeth (3 molars on each side of my mouth). I am so glad I didn’t have to get tissue taken from the roof of my mouth. I think my doctor used a small amount of donor tissue and the rest was just cut and moved around from the graft area on my gums. I didn’t ask for too many details because I knew that would scare me out of doing it.

    For me, the worst part was the Novocaine shots, which made my eyes water, and the length of the procedure – it took about 3 hours total and my jaw was sore from being yanked open for so long. I have always hated being numb after dental procedures and the rest of the day the numbness and tingling in my face was worse than any pain I felt. I napped with my ice pack and watched tv in bed the rest of the day and slept pretty well that night. I was prescribed a painkiller but have only taken ibuprofen so far, along with an antibiotic and steroid. The day after surgery I was pretty swollen and my cheeks felt bruised to the touch. No pain as long as my mouth was relaxed, but I was sore if I opened my mouth too wide, laughed, yawned, etc. I ate green smoothies, soup, avocados, and salmon with mashed potatoes the first 2 days – and a milkshake. : )

    Today (2nd day after surgery) I felt great. Swelling has gone down quite a bit and I can open my mouth a lot more without pain, no more bruised feeling when I touch my cheeks. I do still have a small area on my lip/cheek that feels a little funny like it’s still a bit numb. I really hope that goes away eventually. Today I ate leftover salmon, a smoothie and had a burrito (just ate the inside with a fork since I still can’t really chew or bite into much).

    At this point the most annoying part is the few stitches I have in the roof of my mouth that keep poking my tongue. And my mouth just feels gross in general from not being able to brush normally. I’m brushing my bottom teeth, front teeth and tongue and using an antioxidant gel on the graft areas. Recovery has been much less painful than I was expecting. I had the option to only do the right side of my mouth first since it was a lot worse, but I wanted to just get it all over with. I’m glad I don’t have to anticipate a second surgery or worry about the left side. Hopefully all will heal properly and I won’t have to do this ever again, but it was not nearly as bad as I had built it up in my head.

    We recently switched insurance so I don’t think my new insurance will cover any of it. I paid out of pocket and will have to wait to see if insurance will reimburse any of it. Mine was about $2400 ($1200 for each area of 3 teeth).

  229. Hi, Cathy from California again reporting on my 2nd gum graft last Friday done on one lower molar. Same procedure as last March, so I knew what to expect. Because I had a bad reaction last time with too much local anesthetic still in my system when I took my Advil, I asked the periodontist to use less anesthetic this time. He used half of what he normally used for the palate and jaw injections. I was completely numb during the 45-minute procedure, and wow, the recovery was SO much better. Two hours later, numbness gone and I had a lot less pain and discomfort that day and the day after. Pain gone on Day 3. If local anesthetic like Novocaine works for you, you might want to think about doing the same. I’m on Day 3 now and am getting creative with pureed foods again. My favorites last time were meatloaf and mashed potatoes, so that’s on tap for today, and I also like fish fillets with pureed veggies (carrots, green beans or zucchini.) This time, I can’t eat carbs like rice or pasta because I’m still on a very strict low-carb, no-starch diet, but I can have potatoes, any veg, any fruit or any meat. As long as there is some flavor, it’s not so bad eating SOFT food!

  230. I had this surgery (quite a big one, across four teeth!) yesterday afternoon. I came home, lay down on the couch and cried like a baby! After sobbing for a few minutes and freaking out my husband, I settled down but stayed on the couch with ice packs on my face. I think it was a combination of the anesthetic wearing off (ouch!) and the tension from having behaved so well during the surgery. After that I felt much better. My advice is don't let too much time pass before you take another Advil. I slept like a baby and now on the first morning I feel loads better. I just wish I could eat normal food!

    1. Oh my goodness!! I cried when I got my front bottom teeth done too! I am now going to have four teeth on the top right and four teeth on the top left done in a couple days. This time though, I am going to be sedated so I hope that helps. I am very nervous and not looking forward to having stiches in my mouth for a month!

  231. Hi! I just had this procedure done 2 days ago and it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It was done on one of my bottom front teeth. I’m scared it’s not going to be successful though. My post op instructions said to not spit, but I’m finding it really hard to brush my teeth and not spit. Do I just need to let it all drool out? I’m not in pain really or experiencing any swelling, but I’m super nervous it won’t take hold and be a successor graft. It doesn’t help that I am in the midst of moving and won’t be back to the town I hard it done. So I won’t even see the dr again. I’m getting the stitches out in the new town l am moving to. How do I know if the graft takes hold?

    1. Thanks for all this very reassuring information. Luckily, I found this blog last night, right before my gingival graft operation of today. It really calmed me down as I was really nervous (more about the success rate than the actual surgery). I had four front top teeth and two front bottom teeth done. The operation went well, lasted about two hours including prep and was totally painless. Local anesthetic, triple dose of cortisone and a demi-lexomil tablet one hour before and 2 Lamaline tablets 30 minutes before the start. (I live in France so the drugs are most likely slightly different). Eleven hours later, no pain, just a slight tingling-burning sensation on the top teeth graft area, nothing on the bottom. And a slightly sore jaw after holding it open for so long. Totally bearable pain. The donor sites (there were three in all) were behind a back tooth and two areas of the palate. All stitched up and covered with a protective putty. For the moment, totally painless. Slight swelling above my upper lip and cheeks. The periodontist also has tried to rebuild lost papillae between two of the grafted areas. I hope so much it works! Odd difference in everything I have read here: As well as a chlorhexadine rinse to be used three times a day starting tomorrow night which is logical, I was also given a post-surgery super soft toothbrush (15/100) and told to gently brush the graft areas after starting tomorrow night as this will stimulation the healing. I am very skeptical here…..anyone else receive these instructions? Thanks in advance

  232. Does anyone know of a good periodondist south of Vancouver BC, Canada that is reasonably priced?
    I need to have 4 front lower teeth, plus Frenectomy.

    Also, I was told by my 1st opinion that my 4 lower front teeth can’t have the Pin hole technique. It sounded like the top ones work best for that.

    Also- my 1st opinion said that he’d use a mold to make an actual retainer type thing to cover the graft site on the top of the mouth- ( but that will increase my cost, which I can’t afford) – I guess I need to ask about the putty stuff, sounds cheaper…

  233. In a recent procedure the Dr, pushed the tooth in question VERY hard upwards, then also pushed very forceful side to side. I do not see anybody mention this happening during their procedure. It was very rough and am concerned more damage than good was accomplished

  234. Thanks so much for the tips! Thanks also to those who commented!

    I need to have a gum graft surgery soon, but I haven’t chosen a periodontist yet. What are the main factors that you must consider when choosing a surgeon for this surgery? Is the experience (how many successful grafts done and still doing) the most important factor? What if you don’t feel comfortable with the one who has a lot of experience but you feel comfortable with someone who doesn’t have much of experience (maybe over 100 grafts in total)? Thanks! 🙂

  235. I had a complete gum graft of my bottom teeth done two weeks ago – and would never do it ever again!? Pain, swelling, bruising and not healing well at all. I don’t care about not eating anything but greek yogurt, runny scrambled eggs and boost drinks – but the pain is getting worse not better. Everyone on this site says two weeks is the normal recovery time – but my doctor is saying four weeks. And I can’t brush my bottom teeth at all during this time – only brush the top teeth and use a very specific RX mouthwash. Maybe wouldn’t be so bad if he only did one side of my mouth or the other – but I wasn’t really given an option. The Dr said the reason for my swelling and bruising so badly is because I’m a “light weight woman” and that if I was a 250 lb guy I wouldn’t swell or bruise. They didn’t tell me that in advance though. And they gave me a retainer to cover the roof of my mouth 10 days after the surgery – guess the stitches came out and I had a huge gaping hole in the roof of my mouth that was raw. Did anyone have oral steroids after surgery? My Dr said they usually give patients steroids to help with healing but because I have other health issues I can’t take steroids.

    1. Susan-I know this response is three years coming but I agree with everything you said. I had four lower front teeth done the beginning of April 2018 and I am still suffering pain. Two of the four implants have failed for which the dentist blamed me by saying I “bumped” it. No, I did not bump it. I did lose $2,000 on surgery. I would not recommend this surgery for anyone. I am still eating soft foods, have significant pain and my upper palate is like raw meat after 6 weeks. I wish I had read these responses before I agreed to any gum surgery. No wonder there are so few periodontists around, gum surgery does not work even if you follow all the directions. No refunds and no guarantees ahead of time. Very disgusting.

  236. I had recession from either brushing, genetics or chemotherapy I had a while back. I had two teeth grafted with Alloderm and used only Novocain. They gave me a cortisone pak and this prevented the swelling and bruising. Today is day two and I am doing pretty well.

    1. i had gum graft on two bottom teeth a week ago using Alloderm. My biggest concern is the odor in my mouth which i never had before. Has anyone had this problem? My dentist said yesterday when he examined my mouth that graft is healing well. I read a lot of comments on this site and no one mentioned word “odor”
      Can someone comment on this?

      1. Hi Tanya – I just had an Alloderm graft done a few days ago and I’m having this issue. Was this resolved for you? Any information you can share is appreciated!

        1. I have slight odar too and wondered about yours. I had mine on Friday and today is monday. It’s not too bad, but the odor worries me. Did your grafts heal ok? Any idea what caused the odor for you?

  237. I just had two grafts done covering about five teeth on the bottom right exterior. The procedure was done on Monday. It’s now Sunday and the pain was so bad that I had to ask my perio to call in an additional prescription since I have used up all of my Vicodin. Even when I had the Vicodin and it was alternating with ibuprofen the pain was awful. The new scrip is Lodine. I hope it is better. Will alternate with Tylenol. The worst pain is definitely from the graft donor site on the roof of my mouth. Think it is getting worse now because nerves are reconnecting and growing. Does anyone have any feedback on how long that process takes? They covered my donor site and my graft with a platelet film to aid in healing and I also have the plastic cover for the roof of my mouth which is the only thing allowed me to even drink beverages

  238. I had my graft surgery on the 19th of October. The roof of my mouth where they took the graft feels funny, like it is numb. My gums are still swollen. Will that go down? How long did it take for others gums swelling at the site to go down?

    1. My dentist’s office highly recommends the Sonic Care electric toothbrush and the hygienist said you have to know how to use it properly for it to not cause damage to the gums. I personally prefer a regular toothbrush. I have tried electric and it was causing more recession. I needed gingival soft tissue graft surgery for years, but only just got it yesterday. They had to do my entire mouth because I waited way too long and the damage got worse and worse. I had four bottom front teeth that were moving because of bone loss from the gum recession. Not to my touch, but to theirs. I did not get a second opinion because my old dentist who retired 2 years ago had already told me i needed it several times. but he would only say “you will need it some day”, not “you NEED it NOW.”, otherwise i would have got it done sooner. I was scared to death to have it done, my legs were shaking on the chair just getting the novacaine for it. But then the dentist told me to take deep breaths and she left the room for about 15 minutes to let the novacaine work, the hygienist stayed in the room and talked to me and really helped to calm me down. So when the dentist came back in, i was ready. She did a wonderful job. I was at their office from 9 am till 1 pm. Some of that time was waiting to go into the room, then the hygienist talking to me about the procedure and preparing everything in the room. She gave me 2 advil before we started because i had picked up my prescriptions the day before, but it didn’t say to take the advil before leaving. It did say to take the antibiotic and the anti inflammatory before. I had Alloderm, not from my palette. It went great. Just novacaine. They had music playing the the background and it helped, too. Just doing the novacaine took a long time. It felt like she was stitching, so i was hoping when she was done that it was all done, but no. She had to take breaks during the surgery. She did the left top first, then took a break. then came back and did the right top, right bottom, and left bottom all at once. She was very gentle, though there was some tugging and pushing going on. All in all, it wasn’t so bad, though at the end all i could think is “when is she going to say those words i am waiting for, I’m almost done!” and when she finally said it long after i was first thinking it, it was a huge relief! Drove myself home after, layed on the couch all day and night with ice packs every 10-15 minutes on then off. Drank my ensure and water. Tried sleeping with 2 pillows and didn’t sleep a wink all night. Today, just a little swelling still and no pain yet. i am taking 600 mg of advil every 5-6 hours, maybe that’s why. but even when i didn’t take some all night long till 5:15 am, there was no pain. i am taking them anyways for the swelling. My regular dentist does this type of surgery, but she only does Alloderm, not from the palette. Her techncian tgold me that she is very gentle and she’s like a fairy. and she was right. i am glad it’s over with and can’t wait for my two week appt. to see if she says i’m healing well. 6 week appt. for stitches to come out.

      1. You wrote –> “…it didn’t say to take the advil before leaving. It did say to take the antibiotic and the anti inflammatory before.” Your paperwork did tell you to take the Advil before leaving. Advil is an anti-inflammatory. It’s the name brand of ibuprofin, which is an NSAID However, I’m shocked they gave you an NSAID because that also thins the blood a bit. That’s why they tell people they must not take any NSAID’s for 7-10 days prior to surgery.

      2. Sony Care electric toothbrush damaged my gums over a period of time. I would not recommend it. Not sure why dentists do. They tell you to use soft toothbrush, meanwhile Sony Care is rough on the teeth.
        Now, I only use soft toothbrush.

    2. I had a gum graft week ago on 4 top teeth. Today I had the dressing covering that area removed. I wear a top partial and the partial clasp rests on one of the areas where the gum was grafted. . My peridontist had me put my partial on for the first time today. It felt uncomfortable, but he said it was important to start wearing it. Well here it in this evening and the pain was bad. Removed partial…gum is bleeding at clasp area. It looks like my gum is split horizontally. I’ve read a lot on here about this procedure, but nothing about gum grafts and partials. TBA ks for anyone out there with any experience.

      1. I am getting this procedure tomorrow & I have a top partial too. They told me I’d wear the stent until the stitches are out, until it’s not painful to wear. How did things turn out for you?

  239. 3 weeks ago I had my grafting procedure done on my gums. I had 4 areas tended to, top & bottom each mouth side Canine tooth and premoller each side. My mouth swelled significantly the first 5 days, I’d treat my face to an icepack 2-3 times a day until the pack was warm. With time, pain pills and eating only soft foods I’ve gotten through the toughest parts of post procedure.

    1. Hey guys, I had a gum graft done this wednesday march 23. The procedure itself is painless. The doctor used novocaine on the roof of my mouth and also on my lower front tooth. The most anoying part is not eating the foods I like. Both locations of my procedure still sore but tolerable. I have been taking tylenol extra strength. Doctor recomened not to take any other pain medication that contain aspirin, which acts as a blood thinner ( blood thinners increase bleeding). Overall, I am glad is over! To me personally, the worst is not the procedure, but the post-op care.

  240. I am going to talk with a periodontist soon about getting a similar procedure done. I have been doing a lot of research about how to get through it and your tip about getting a stent seems like a great idea. I don’t really enjoy the taste of blood and I know that I would play with the stitches quite a bit. I will have to mention that and see what my options are, thanks!

    1. I just finished having the entire bottom done and a few teeth on top. I’m 2 weeks out and healing as planned and had a good experience as far as surgeries go. I am 50 years old, and was only on heavy painkillers the day of surgery. After that, ibuprofen was fine. It did kick my butt though with regards to energy. Swelling was worst on day 3; bruising showed itself on day 4 and both went away fairly quickly. I took off 4 days of work. If you mind the instructions, I just don’t think this is a big deal-just inconvenient. I’m glad I did it. Here’s what I wish I would’ve known. 1. Gums looks weird/a bit ugly still. No one else sees it, but I do. The dr promises time will take care of it that they’re healing perfectly. The guns will flatten over time. 2. The roof of my mouth where they took the tissue still feels numbish. I don’t know if time fixes it or not, but I wonder if this is normal. Hope this helps!

  241. 50-50 Chance of Graft Failure

    10 days ago I had Alloderm grafts on both sides of my upper mouth. The left side is apparently doing well. But on the right side, which was more extensive, some of the sutures from the right side popped out, and the surgeon says there is only a 50-50 chance the right side will take.

    I asked him if I would just go back to baseline, how I was before the graft. He said maybe, but maybe it would be worse.

    If it doesn’t take, then what? Any stories? Any advice? Do they have to go in and cut the failed graft out? That can’t be good for my gums. Can I just have it taken out and not replaced? The last thing I want is 2 failed grafts.

    1. Hi,

      I had a graft done with Alloderm four years ago and now have to have the surgery re-done, using my own tissue. My surgery didn’t fail, exactly, in that the coverage was good for almost 4 years, but I wasn’t expecting it to degenerate so quickly. I think I may have contributed to its failure by not wearing a bite guard at night.

      So I don’t know about having the Alloderm removed, but I can say that when it goes (and it will go eventually, but hopefully not for a decade or so) you really need to use your own tissue for the surgery.

      Good luck!

    2. I had grafting done using my own tissue and plasma on my bottom front tooth. It was a big failure he shaved my other teeth around. Now I have 4 teeth not 1 to deal with, it did not take and does not feel the same whenever I eat. My dentist said the success rate is low, only 10%. WASTE OF MONEY!!

      Now I do oil pulling at night before brushing, and use periclean toothbrush which seems to help with sensitivity.

    3. Concerned, you should be worried. Yes, all these gum grafts can fail, even the ones from your own palate. If I could go back, I would have not done any of them. The costs are emotional, mental , physical and financial. There are no guarantees. You have to pay for failures. All a ripoff.

  242. For those that did not have severe pain, swelling and bruising after their surgery, please consider yourself very fortunate. I had a connective tissue graft surgical procedure in front of my lower front teeth and had a frenectomy at the same time. Tissue was removed from my palette. The procedure itself was not too bothersome to me but the post op period has been very difficult. I just was not expecting to have so much pain, swelling or bruising. This is day 4 for me. I hope tomorrow is better. Thanks to everyone for your comments. I wish I had read some of this information prior to having the procedure.

    1. I’m with you Patty, day 4 for me. I don’t think I expected this much pain either. I did eat some oatmeal yesterday morning and this morning, very carefully. Otherwise, no food since other than yogurt the following day and a protein shake yesterday. Mine is right at the lower front teeth as well.

      1. Can you tell me how many days you experienced pain on the roof of your mouth? I’m on day 5 and am not handling the excruciating pain. Never did I expect this to hurt this bad.

        1. I too just had a gum graft, I’m on the second day however and there doesn’t seem to be any pain on the roof of my mouth.

        2. I’m post-op day 8 and the pain on roof of my mouth is awful. Mine was not stitched closed and I was not given a mouth guard. I’m so ready for it to be healed. The surgery itself was a breeze, but I’m finding the recovery to be more difficult than I anticipated. Hoping I never have to do this again.

          1. It took almost 3 weeks for the roof of my mouth to heal. The worst day for me was day 1, because the doctor prescribed nothing and his only post-op instruction was about rinsing with salt water. I fell asleep after the surgery and woke up in fantastic pain. I took 800mg of Motrin and felt better within 20 minutes. I made the mistake of attempting to eat soft food that still required chewing. That was painful and frustrating. I never thought the roof of my mouth would heal.

            I found a great rinse that I highly recommend: Dr. Katz’s Perio Therapy mouth rinse. It’s available on Amazon and it isn’t harsh at all. Won’t sting. When I went to get my stitches removed on day 16, the doctor told me I was healing faster than expected, so it must be good to use, but do check with your doctor first, in case I’m totally wrong and it was just a fluke.

          2. I’m on day 5-free gingival graft to 8 lower teeth..and I am not happy.
            Taking toradol every 6 hours extra Strenth Tylenol and an antibiotic.also rinsing with peridex. I have a stent for the roof of my mouth and the holes were fill
            With some sort of glue and sutured.i also have the pink gummy stuff covering the surgical site. I would make sure you ask for all of this…if not you will be much worse than me..my palate is throbbing from the swelling but does not burn nor is in “sharp pain” my gums are throbbing and feel the worst.
            Do not eat anything that requires chewing…nothing..purée everything!!
            I am also rising every few hours with salt water and applying ice as often as I can.
            It cost me 2500 for 8 teeth which from what I am hearing is quite the deal..
            Also don’t move!!! For at least 3 days..moving increases BP which makes it throb.
            Drink lots of water and rest..