Gum Graft II: Electric Boogaloo

In about an hour, I go to the oral surgeon to have my second gum graft done. Last year (in April), I had the upper incisors done. The area where the graft was done was fine. The worst part is waiting for the roof of your mouth to heal.

For those who don’t know, the surgeon will harvest (read: strip mine) tissue from the roof of your mouth and attach it to the receding gum line (in my case, the receeding gum line is heriditary). The area in the roof of your mouth then become puffy and sensitive. The part I hate is wearing a retainer. The retainer protects the area where the tissue was taken from being irritated by food and your tongue.

Unfortunately, wearing it causes you to talk like you have a serious speech impediment. If you haven’t had to wear one, try this: either take a huge glob of peanut butter and coat the roof of your mouth all the way to the back of your teeth and try to speak clearly or try to talk without your tongue touching the roof of your mouth.

No fun. The last time, I had to wear it all day for the first three days taking it out only to clean it or brush your teeth. Tricky when trying to brush the backside of your upper teeth. After that, you have to wear it while you sleep or eat or whenever the area feels like it’s getting irritated.

This time I’ll probably have to wear it a bit longer because I’m having the graft done for all of my lower teeth in the front. They’ll have to get tissue from both sides of the roof as opposed to just one side like last time.

The procedure will take about 2.5 hours! Luckily, I’ve got my MP3 player fully charged and stuffed full with of over 2700 songs.

Interestingly, when I had the surgery last time, there was very little pain afterwards. I took one pain pill and took a nap afterwards and didn’t need any more. While the surgery was being performed, I felt absolutely nothing (all local anesthetic). I could feel the doctor poking around, but nothing more.

Well, I’m back. Thanks to the MP3 player, the surgery didn’t seem to last two hours. Right now there’s a dull ache in the lower left side of my jaw. No pain (yet) in the roof of my mouth. Luckily, no swelling.

The doc gave me a prescription for hydrocodone/apap and suggested I take Advil for the next 3-4 days.

Otherwise, I came out of it unscathed. This puts an end to over four years of dental work, although I will probably need the sugery again in 5-6 years in different areas.

Glad to hear you survived intact. I actually had this procedure done in the early 80s, probably because it was new then and my dentist wanted to try it out on someone and I had good insurance. The roof of the mouth part is truly the worst of it. You know that feeling when you burn your upper mouth on hot pizza cheese? Well, multiply that by 100 and you have an idea what it feels like to have a piece of the roof cut out. I didn’t have to wear the retainer, but it sure sounds like a good idea. Re-reading my post, I am ashamed to admit that I had the beginning of periodontal disease 25 years ago, which is probably before most of you were even born. BTW, you can still see a vague outline of my graft after all these years! Good luck to you and a speedy recovery - beckwall

Does the roof of your mouth grow back? I had a check up recently and she told me that I am brushing way too hard. I guess I took “fighting plaque” a little too seriously. Anyway, she said I should probably see about getting a gum graft soon. The Army will pay for it, so it wont cost me a cent, but I still dont know if I want to do it right now. But you say it’s not a big deal?
I also need my wisdom teeth pulled, so maybe I should just go in and have all four teeth pulled and my gums fixed, all in one shot…

Yes. It took a few months, though.

I don’t think it’d be a good idea to do it all at once. Depending on how your wisdom teeth are situated, you may want to have those done first. I had three of mine pulled in the dentist’s office, but the fourth had to be surgically removed.

The gum graft process really isn’t that bad. The worse part is waiting until you can eat regular (that is, not soft & mushy) food. YMMV, of course.

Since you can get all of your work done for free, I say go do it. The sooner the better. It cost me about $1000 for the wisdom teeth removal (I had to pay in full since I didn’t dental insurance at the time) and about $3600 for the gum graft (of which I had to pay half - even with insurance).

Oh lord, I hope I never have to go through with this. My gum line is receeding on one side though. How bad does it need to get before it comes to this?

A friend of mine had the roof of her mouth cut out due to a small oral cancer. She still smokes. :smack:

You’d have to ask your dentist to analyze your condition, but if it goes too far, you get to wear dentures.

I just don’t understand people sometimes.

Well, it’s been three days. The graft site doesn’t hurt, but brushing my teeth is difficult. I can brush the front of the upper teeth and the back of the bottom teeth okay. I have to be careful brushing the front of the lower teeth and not brush too close to the actual grafts.

When brushing the back of the upper teeth, I have to be careful not to hit the roof of my mouth where the tissue was taken.

Ah, the joys of dental surgery.