I had so many messages and DM’s from you guys asking about my gum surgery so I figured I would compile a post and answer all the questions here! Tomorrow will be a week post surgery for me. All in all this has been way better than I expected. Possibly because I hyped it up in my mind to be so horrible but all in all it was not too bad.
Why did you need the surgery/ How did you know you needed the surgery?
So for 4 years now every time I get my teeth cleaned my dentist has told me I needed this surgery. Back in 2019 I went for two consultations with two different periodontists. One told me I needed 5 teeth done the other recommended two, I obviously went with the later. Covid hit in 2020 and I just ignored all doctor appointments but every time I would visit the dentist she would say you really need to get this surgery done. Then back in November 2021 I started having some minor pain and bleeding. I also could see where the gum had really dipped down low, lots of root was exposed. I remember showing Evans and my friend Jennifer and they were like that looks horrible you need to have the surgery. I went back in and he was like yeah it is time to do this surgery. I Scheduled it for January 2022 and then I proceeded to cancel and reschedule 4 times because I was so scared. I Finally bit the bullet and stuck with my appointment last week.
What does gum graft surgery involve?
Gum graft surgery involves cutting some gum tissue from the roof of your mouth or behind your wisdom teeth and stitching it to the area where the gums have become receded.
There is an option to use cadaver gums meaning they won’t cut the roof of your mouth and will just stitch cadaver tissue to yours. This honestly really grossed me out to have someone else’s gums in my mouth and there is a higher chance this surgery won’t take and your gums won’t accept those gums. Much higher success rate using your own gum tissue so I went that route.
The problem with ignoring a gum graft (which I did for a long time) is if the gum dips too low it can create a pocket which then makes an easy breeding ground for an infection. The gums can become really loose and totally unattached from the tooth. If this infection is too bad you will lose the entire tooth and need an implant.
Who did the surgery?
Dr Murphey at Periodontal Associates did my surgery and I can’t say enough great things about him and his staff. They made me feel comfortable and the entire process easier than I expected. I called several times to change my appointment and freaking out I was getting an infection and they were just so kind and lovely and helpful.
How long was the surgery?
I arrived at 8am for my appointment was taken back to my room. They took some vitals, made a mouth mold for my stent and then started my IV sedation probably by 8:15/20. I was in the car headed back home at 9:45. So a little over an hour to graft two teeth.
What is the pain like?
Honestly the pain was not as bad as I expected it to be. Day one I had minimal pain I believe partly because my mouth was numb most of the day. Days 3-4 were the worst pain wise to me but in my opinion it was manageable pain. I never took the pain meds prescribed and only took Advil. Many people said the roof of their mouth was the worst part but I found the gums on my bottom teeth that they grafted bothered me more. Mostly it feels swollen and like a dull throbbing pain. The roof of my mouth felt like a slight burn from eating something too hot.
More than the pain the feeling inside my mouth has just been really weird. Its very odd to feel stitches on the roof of your mouth and gums.
What is recovery like?
I expected to be down and out a few days but the day of surgery was really the only day I was out. I slept a lot that day because of the anesthesia. Otherwise I was back to my normal life the next day taking the kids to school and working at home- minus eating and exercising. Over the weekend 4 days post surgery we went to a birthday party and besides eating I was totally fine. The stitches stay in two weeks so I guess full recovery is two weeks.
Can you prevent this?
This is really hard to prevent because a lot of it is hereditary. A few tips are sleeping with a night guard if you grind your teeth and making sure you brush your gums. He told me a lot of people avoid brushing their gums because they are sensitive etc but it is really important to stimulate and brush your gums.
Cost to have procedure done?
I don’t have dental insurance and my cost was $2000 for the graft and anesthesia.
Meal Ideas post Surgery?
The first 2-3 days I did purely liquids. So lots of smoothies and juices. I also avoided hot liquids so I had my coffee iced and skipped soups. I made batches of my green juice, Daily Harvest Smoothies, and also made my own smoothies with blender bombs to help keep me full. I picked up mini V8 juices for a more savory juice option. I had seltzer waters, aloe waters and iced green tea- lots of liquids.
After the 3rd day I started introducing soft foods. It felt very weird to eat at first and I still avoid chewing on the side of my mouth the graft was done on. I have had grilled cheese, cheese pizza, tomato soup, scrambled eggs, pasta salad (with no veggies just noodles and dressing) and turkey rolled up in cheese, and mashed avocado.
The main foods you have to avoid until stitches are out are really hard foods like chips, nuts, and crackers.
My Green Juice Recipe– 2 small apples, 2 lemons, mint, kale, ginger and 1/2 English cucumber.
My Favorite go to smoothie– a frozen banana, frozen mangos, 2 handfuls spinach, unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a Goji, Coconut and Acai Blender bomb.
Things that helped me-
Ice rolling. I started icing the moment I got back from surgery and the first two days I rolled every hour or two for about 5 minutes. I think this really helped with my swelling and bruising. I did bruise some and have some swelling but not horrible. I have this ice roller and swear it is the BEST one. It stays cold for so long. After the first days I have continued to ice roll at least once a day.
I ordered Asea Redox a cell signaling supplement that many of you recommended. I drink 2 oz daily. It is supposed to help with immunity, recovery and inflammation.
Sleep elevated with 2/3 pillows helps with swelling.
They gave me a stent and I wore that for 24 hours straight and then pretty much on and off after that. I do sleep in it overnight and I think that helps protect the roof of your mouth.
Hope that helps answer your questions! Always feel free to message me more questions if you have them!
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