Gum Grafting

Post-Operative Instructions Following Gum Grafting

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You have had gum surgery to strengthen your gum tissue or to correct recession. A surgical bandage or dressing may have been placed over the gum, or soft tissue, to help the healing process. If so, leave the bandage in place – it should come off on its own. Otherwise, it will be removed during your post-op visit.

Drink plenty of fluids. Some suggestions are Gatorade, Boost and Ensure. You may eat warm (not hot) soft, foods when you feel you are able. Avoid spicy or crunchy foods. Avoid strenuous activity immediately following surgery, as it can cause blood pressure to rise and trigger bleeding.

IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING SURGERY After your gum surgery, you may experience some swelling and bruising. To minimize this, apply ice packs to the affected area for 6 hours following surgery: 20 minutes on then 10 minutes off.Bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for the first 24 hours. Keep your head elevated slightly. To control moderate to severe bleeding, place a gauze pad directly on the bleeding incision and bite down for 20 to 30 minutes, until the bleeding stops.

If a graft has been taken from the roof of your mouth, the Glustitch covering may come off resulting in bleeding. If so, place a gauze pad directly on the wound and apply pressure for 30 minutes. If unable to stop the bleeding, contact Dr. McFarlane or Dr. Stroup at 604-882-0887.

Sutures have been placed to hold your gum graft in place. If dissolving sutures were used, they may begin to dissolve before your first post-op visit. If not, your sutures will be removed at the post-op visit.

FOR 3 DAYS AFTER THE SURGERY Avoid doing any of the following as it can disrupt clotting, slow the healing process and cause the gum graft to fail.DO NOT:

  • Poke at, disturb or touch the incision line.
  • Lift/pull on the lip to look at the sutures.
  • Rinse hard.
  • Smoke.
  • Use a straw or purse your lips in any manner that will cause suction.
  • Use a commercial mouthwash.
  • Drink carbonated beverages.
  • Use an irrigating device.

If you have been prescribed medications, follow the recommended schedule.

If pain medication has not been prescribed, take 400 mg of Ibuprofen every four hours. This is a painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug. If it is not sufficient, you may supplement it with Extra Strength Tylenol (acetaminophen 500 mg) taken every 4 hours.

Do not exceed 4,000 mg (8 tablets) as acetaminophen is toxic to the liver in higher doses than this. If you have impaired liver function, avoid acetaminophen.

If you have been prescribed a chlorhexidine rinse, follow the instructions. One week after the surgery, you may GENTLY swab the grafted area with a Q-tip dipped in Chlorhexidine antiseptic mouthwash. Do this twice a day.

FOR THE NEXT 8-10 DAYS Avoid:

  • Smoking or tobacco use.
  • Using a straw.
  • Lifting or pulling on the lip to look at the sutures.
  • Lying on the side of your face over the area of surgery.
  • Pressing on the cheek, or the jaw, over the area of surgery.
  • Brushing grafted area with toothbrush.
  • Eating solid food near the graft.

CALL THE OFFICE at 604-882-0887, if any of the following occurs:

  • Medications do not relieve discomfort.
  • Develop a fever above 99 F.
  • Unusual swelling or uncontrolled bleeding.
  • Stitches become lost or loose.

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