January 08, 2003
Update: How go the gums?

As I mentioned in a recent post, I had some oral surgery a few weeks ago called a "gingiva graft."

If you are easily grossed out and if you do not wish to be grossed out, don't read the rest of this post.

Anyway, one of the first things they tell you not to do right after the surgery is pull out your lower lip to look at your gums. Naturally, the patient's first inclination is to do exactly that, and having a warning label that says "Don't Do It" only makes the draw that much stronger. I resisted... for a little while. But there is a minor loophole. You are still expected to brush the rest of your teeth (ie, the teeth not immediately next to where the graft took place), so while brushing my teeth that first evening I took a peek as a natural part of my routine and, well, it didn't look good.

I don't mean it looked nasty (and, believe me, it *did* look nasty), but rather, it looked like it wasn't right. Like certain parts weren't properly attached to certain other parts.

A few days later I called the periodontist's office and mentioned my concerns. Apparently, this must be a common situation. "Just come in at your first scheduled check-up, and we'll determine the situation then," I was told in a calm, practiced voice. (Or, words to that effect.)

I went in for my first scheduled check-up. Turns out, certain parts weren't properly attached to certain other parts.

Ready for the gross part?

As you'll recall from my earlier post, what the periodonist did was to cut out some gum material from the roof of my mouth and graft it onto the gums at the base of my teeth on my lower jaw. Grafting, in this case, involves making an incision to form a pocket where the new gum material can go, then pulling up the outer later to make a pouch that holds it all in. This is all then sewn up with stiches to hold everything in place.

As the periodontist's able assistant (the assistant is more than a traditional dental hygenist, insofar as she was an active part of the surgical team, but I don't know what the correct term is these days for periodontal assistants) worded it, some of the gum material "squirted up out of the pocket." Without being held in the warm, protective glow of the outer layer, these exposed transplanted gum parts just... died.

She clipped away the lumpy, white, dead tissue, leaving behind a lumpy, purplish mass of gums behind that still didn't look quite right to me. "Well," she said, "We'll see how that heals up. You might have enough material still there, and it looks like there's still a recession, but that might heal up." (Or words to that effect.)

Now, the healing process is mildly annoying. There are certain foods I can't eat (I am not supposed to chew with my front teeth, which means if I want pizza or a sandwich, I have to cut it with a fork and knife, etc.) and then there's the mild achy pain, and so on. But that was all simply a matter of inconvenience to me. I had my drugs, and I had my ice cream, so I was prepared to cope with all that. The worst part was me worrying about whether this surgery was all going to work out, or if it would have to be redone. In short, the worst part was not the actual healing or anything *real*, but only imagined possible outcomes.

As you might expect, things were not as bad as I'd imagined, nor as perfect as I might have hoped. After I went in for my second check-up (three weeks after the surgery, and two weeks after that first check-up), I was told that it looked like we would have excellent coverage (Yippee) but that there were a couple of tears ("clefts") that would have to be repaired.

This is my favorite part of the story:

Repairing the clefts involves something that the periodontist's assisstant called "freshening." I love that term. "Freshening."

To "freshen" the edges of the clefts means to take a diamond-tipped drill/grinder and scrape/cut the ends that need to be joined. Once these parts are freshly gaping wounds, they are then stitched to each other in the expectation that they will heal together instead of to themselves. Much as the original surgery should have worked.

I love it because it sounds so dramatic. The reality, I expect, will be much like the reality of the first procedure. They'll numb up my mouth with novacaine (sp?), drill and sew, and a half hour to an hour later, I'll walk out of there, drive to Dairy Queen and get my prescribed milkshake, and life will continue.

I will, however, follow the periodontist's advice this time and take the day off. I don't want to risk doing *anything* to jeopardize the success of this second round of surgery.


Posted by on January 08, 2003 09:33 PM in the following Department(s): Gingiva Graft , Tidbits


I read Allan's narrative about his ordeal with the gingiva graft, and would like to hear about other experiences with this procedure. Also, I would like to know how Allan's graft is coming along. All of this because I have to get the same thing done, and I been putting it off because the whole thing sounds sketchy. Please foward my email to those who have had experience with the gingiva graft procedure.

Posted by: Dan on April 23, 2003 10:40 PM

Well, I just posted a thing about Allan's gingiva graft after reading his annecdote--thinking this site was periodontics discussion group-- thus, explaining my misdirected request of other people who have experienced problems with receeding gums. But I still do want to know how the graft is holding up, Allan?

Receeding Gums in Gainesville, Fla.

Posted by: Dan on April 23, 2003 10:50 PM

Thank you for posting your experiences. I will be going for 3 gum grafts this coming Thursday, and I am extremely nervous about the pain afterwards. I am having it done on two lower front teeth and one upper eye tooth. I am a Kindergarten teacher and very worried how "scary" I might look to the children. Will they be able to notice? I will be going back to work 5 days after....please let me know. Thanks

Posted by: Elly on February 8, 2004 6:17 AM

I found it to be less painful than inconvenient.

If you're taking a week off, I should think that you won't look too scary as long as you don't smile big and wide and show them what you got. :)

But your lips and cheeks won't be swolen, if your experience is anything like mine.

In my (unqualified, non-professional) opinion, you should do this, though: for those first few days of and following the surgery, TAKE IT EASY!!! That's the best thing you can do to make sure you heal quickly and well. That, and follow all of your doctor's other instructions, of course.

Disclaimer: please keep in mind that I'm not a doctor, just a former patient, and your mileage may vary.

I wish you the best of success! Please come back to the site and let me know how it went.


Posted by: Allan on February 12, 2004 12:04 AM

I had my graft done last friday, march 5, 2004. I am to get my stitches removed tomarrow the 12th. I have to admit, the pain isn't what you worry about. it not being able to brush those certain parts of your teeth, and it smells when you don't brush everything in there! also, as the days go by, things build up there. mine were done on my front lower tooth, so I feel like I have 3 pounds of junk in my lower lip. The top of my mouth that the graft was taken from, feels like what my doc says like a pizza burn, but only really hurts when you talk and your tongue hits it.

Posted by: on March 11, 2004 8:44 PM

i just had gum grafting yesterday. i am wondering if anyone here has experienced facial swelling afterwards? my face is very swollen. the pain is minimal. i have not looked into my mouth yet,...and dont want to either. just nervous as to the swelling,..i hope it is not due to infection. is this normal? how long is average healing time?
good luck to all who have gone thru this

Posted by: anna on March 24, 2004 12:08 PM

I just had receeding gum surgery this past wednesday. I'm kinda worried because when I look in the mirror at my gums, (I had graphing done on two of my bottom teeth in the front), It seems like I see a hole, where the recession was before...I don't know what it is..it looks like it's not healing right..is this normal??

Posted by: Casey on April 17, 2004 1:48 PM

How much does this surgery cost? Is it on a per tooth basis?

Posted by: liz on April 29, 2004 9:03 PM

I had a gum graft done about ten years ago... I must admit that I regret having it done. I often have pain, much like having a headache which stems from the site of the gum graft. I visited a neuro-surgeon and he said it would be best to live with the pain since it really isn't a good idea to mess around with nerves in the mouth. So here I am with pain that comes and goes, but can often be around for weeks at a time. I am wondering if any other people have had similar experiences??

Posted by: on May 26, 2004 5:11 PM

I had a gum graft done about ten years ago... I must admit that I regret having it done. I often have pain, much like having a headache which stems from the site of the gum graft. I visited a neuro-surgeon and he said it would be best to live with the pain since it really isn't a good idea to mess around with nerves in the mouth. So here I am with pain that comes and goes, but can often be around for weeks at a time. I am wondering if any other people have had similar experiences??

Posted by: on May 26, 2004 5:11 PM

I had a gum graft done about ten years ago... I must admit that I regret having it done. I often have pain, much like having a headache which stems from the site of the gum graft. I visited a neuro-surgeon and he said it would be best to live with the pain since it really isn't a good idea to mess around with nerves in the mouth. So here I am with pain that comes and goes, but can often be around for weeks at a time. I am wondering if any other people have had similar experiences??

Posted by: on May 26, 2004 5:11 PM

I had the gum grafting surgery on one lower front tooth last tuesday. I took the next day off and went back to work thursday. The surgery cost $1000 (Sacramento, California), but insurance covers some.

I got the surgery, because at the age of 40, I decided to get braces. I have the upper braces now on, but because of the questionable receding gum of one front bottom tooth, they sent me to a periodontist for clearance to proceed.

I went to the periodontist who said the surgery would benefit me. I asked how soon I could do it. They had a cancellation later that same day, so I came back and went through with it. I took vicodin the first few days and now motrin.

Ensure nutritional drink is great for those first few days. Between the surgery and the upper braces, I was a sight back at work, but I don't care. I have been wanting braces for 20 years. My employer's insurance will pay $1500 for orthodontics, and it will be at least a 2 year process. In 2 weeks I get my lower braces. I am so excited!!!! Tuesday I go back to get my stitches removed...will check back and let you know what happens.

Posted by: Nikki on May 31, 2004 2:37 AM

I had my first gum surgery in April. It did not work. The graft too, but it slid lower. So I underwent another gum surgery, at the same site, one week ago. The stitches fell out after two days and then the gum receeded even further down and started to split. The gum is lower than before any surgery took place! I am most displeased. I am a teacher and do not have the luxery of taking several days off from work to recover..plus I have to talk for a living. My point is avoid suergy in the first place, if possible and if you have to have it do take lots of time off and refrain from talking. My doctor wants to do a third surgery in September. In the mean time I am going to used herbs on my gum.

Posted by: Jeannine on June 1, 2004 6:01 AM

two years ago i fell off a roof and lost my front teeth and part of my gums what should i do? is it able to be fixed?? can gum graphing be done and can implants be put in?

Posted by: jenna on June 5, 2004 7:59 PM

Hi there. I just got this procedure on June 1st and I'm really scared that I may have made a big mistake. I've just been so depressed and don't know what to do. The surgery areas look okay but they don't look great. The portions where I had my teeth done looks really bubbly and it feels like I have a wad of gum there. Does that go away? Does anyone know how long it will take to recover? I go tomorrow to get my stitches out but I can tell you I don't think I'll be happy with the result. I'll let you know.

Jenna: You should definitely see a dentist ASAP and make sure you see a good one.

Posted by: Zenaida on June 6, 2004 7:04 AM

how do you prevent gum receesion? this has been my question that no one seems to answer for me. I am a vegetarian 26 years old and within the last year have been experiencing major gum receesion. I've been vege for seven so my diet hasn't just chaged. I floss and use an electric toothbrush. I'm trying to not have to have gum surgery. any help.

Posted by: christina on February 27, 2005 8:34 AM

hi, i just had my gum surgery done on wednesday and they put crazy glue (or something to that idea)
on top of the stitches to keep them secure, yesterday one of the pieces of crazy glue fell out, and now
the gum looks really thin underneath and white (i dont kno if thats my tooth or dead tissue as mentioned
in the journal. so im getting really worried about weather i'll have to have i t done again. i just wondered
if anyone had a similar situation.
ps. my lower jaw was swollen 2 days after a bit, and receding gums can be caused by gingivitos (no idea
how to spell it), if u had othro work (braces mostly) because ur moving the teeth forward and towards the
front of the gum so it gets thin. Im only 16 and i have it one my lower teeth, i brush like 4 times a day
floss. and i still have it.

Posted by: on March 5, 2005 3:58 PM

im having gum graphing done next week, its one of my lower front teeth, im guessing from braces i had a few years ago. It's getting worse every day. Im a nervous wreck after reading these freaky stories. Is there any alternative to the surgery?

Posted by: ali on March 17, 2005 7:40 PM

Hey all (and hey Allan!!)
I just had a second gum graft done yesterday on one of my front lower teeth as the first one failed like many of you mentioned.
I am hopeful this one will work. I took a week off from work (last time I went back the next day). I am a nurse and have to talk all day too and I just didn't give it time to heal last time. This time I am watching tv, reading books, eating soft foods and not answering the phone. I am anxious that this will not work again but I am praying. I am also bored out of my mind. My breath stinks and I see a little blood coming up around the "super glue" that someone mentioned before. I think I rolled over on my face during the night. I didn't have much swelling and am only taking Motrin which works fine and helps with that inflammation.
I had a dream last night that it fell off again. I am praying that it is not a foreboding dream.
By the way, someone mentioned how their recession was much deeper than before the original surgery. Same here. After he cut it down and it didn't take I was left with a recession all the way down to the bottom of my mouth. Ugly and sensitive. I also had adult ortho which is why it happened. I use Invisalign braces and tried to get the company to pay since a few sets of the retainers were rubbing on the bottom. They won't pay and I'm considering legal action. This whole thing is a bummer, I have to admit. I just wanted straight teeth and I ended up in this mess. As long as this thing heals correctly this time I'll be content.
Allan, was it you who mentioned you had 3 more done? How's it all going?
Good luck to everyone,
Rebecca Pembroke, Ma

Posted by: Rebecca on April 19, 2005 7:00 AM

Hey all (and hey Allan!!)
I just had a second gum graft done yesterday on one of my front lower teeth as the first one failed like many of you mentioned.
I am hopeful this one will work. I took a week off from work (last time I went back the next day). I am a nurse and have to talk all day too and I just didn't give it time to heal last time. This time I am watching tv, reading books, eating soft foods and not answering the phone. I am anxious that this will not work again but I am praying. I am also bored out of my mind. My breath stinks and I see a little blood coming up around the "super glue" that someone mentioned before. I think I rolled over on my face during the night. I didn't have much swelling and am only taking Motrin which works fine and helps with that inflammation.
I had a dream last night that it fell off again. I am praying that it is not a foreboding dream.
By the way, someone mentioned how their recession was much deeper than before the original surgery. Same here. After he cut it down and it didn't take I was left with a recession all the way down to the bottom of my mouth. Ugly and sensitive. I also had adult ortho which is why it happened. I use Invisalign braces and tried to get the company to pay since a few sets of the retainers were rubbing on the bottom. They won't pay and I'm considering legal action. This whole thing is a bummer, I have to admit. I just wanted straight teeth and I ended up in this mess. As long as this thing heals correctly this time I'll be content.
Allan, was it you who mentioned you had 3 more done? How's it all going?
Good luck to everyone,
Rebecca Pembroke, Ma

Posted by: Rebecca on April 19, 2005 7:01 AM

I had gum grafts on both sides of my lower teeth, with material taken from the roof of my mouth on both sides. The surgery was on June 1. It is now 5:30 a.m. on June 7, and I'm on the computer because I'm never been in so much pain in my entire life! From the first day it's been the same. It comes and goes, but I really had no idea! I wish I had never had it done. My peridontal dressing broke yesterday, and I took it out. It looks horrible -- lots of big white bulges and stuff. I took the protective plate from the roof of my mouth out after 3 days -- I couldn't stand the pain any longer. I've tried eating soft foods, but the inconvenience is not worth it. I've lost almost 10 pounds because I'm not eating much of anything, mainly just liquids. I don't go back for my first post-op visit for 3 days. Does it get better? The Vicodan prescribed has not done much good. I've tried Advil and Tylenol and Excedrin PM and I was given a sedative. Not much has helped. I feel like I just want to scream! Has anyone else had the pain linger so long?

Posted by: Terry Prior on June 7, 2005 4:01 AM


My first recommendation is for you to call your doctor (the one who performed the surgery) immediately, if you haven't already done so. Explain the pain problem and what you've done about it. This is important because you'll want the surgeon to address both the pain and making sure that the results of the surgery work out okay. The pain could be an indication of something else at work.

That said, to answer your question about pain: I only had one site on my lower jaw repaired (not two), and the pain did get worse over the next few days after the surgery before it got better. Like you, Vicodin didn't do much for me; Advil, however, did help quite a bit. Once I got the pain under control, I learned to take my next dose of Advil as soon as I felt any twinge of pain return, rather than waiting for it to get unbearable again. I've heard doctors refer to this as "staying ahead of the pain", and it's becoming the preferred method of pain management (or so I am given to understand).

My oral surgeon was very concerned about pain management and made sure that I called her office with any and all concerns. So I did. As you no doubt read in my earlier essays, the results of the surgery itself were not perfect, but everything did work out for the best when all was said and done.

Trust your oral surgeon to help you through this. If you don't trust your oral surgeon, then get someone else who can give you good professional aid. You won't heal properly if your are in such terrible pain that you disturb the surgery site.

By the way... your surgery site(s) is/are going to look bad. You just had surgery! (That doesn't mean they look like they should look after surgery, just that they will look bad, regardless. Your surgeon will know if they look bad like they should, or bad like they shouldn't.)

Take care of yourself! Let us know how it works out!


Posted by: Allan on June 7, 2005 9:56 AM

I had gum grafting, on all parts of my outer (cheek side) gums except the upper left, this past tuesday. My face and chin are still swollen and the (more or less bearable) pain comes and goes. I was on percocet for a few days, which was 'fun' but have no run out and do not want to ask for a refill for obvious reasons. In any case, I am wondeirng how long before the swelling subsides and if i will ever look normal again (I used to have a feminine jaw line, and now it's quite square and masculinized!). Like other posters, I feel like i have three large pieces of gum in my mouth and my breath stinks even with peridex mouth rinse used twice daily....i have not looked at the gums too much, other than to fix a slipped stitch (the stiches were looped begind each tooth...very annoying!). My surgery cost about 4200, and like i said, i had the whole right upper and lower sides done and the whole lower left. The tissue sites are very tight and uncomfortable, and my perio said this is partly because of how my mouth is (naturally tight muscle/gum). Good luck to everyone else. It's most difficult to find any info on surgery/healing issues on the web!
-- Danielle

Posted by: danielle on June 11, 2005 8:03 PM

I had gum grafting, on all parts of my outer (cheek side) gums except the upper left, this past tuesday. My face and chin are still swollen and the (more or less bearable) pain comes and goes. I was on percocet for a few days, which was 'fun' but have no run out and do not want to ask for a refill for obvious reasons. In any case, I am wondeirng how long before the swelling subsides and if i will ever look normal again (I used to have a feminine jaw line, and now it's quite square and masculinized!). Like other posters, I feel like i have three large pieces of gum in my mouth and my breath stinks even with peridex mouth rinse used twice daily....i have not looked at the gums too much, other than to fix a slipped stitch (the stiches were looped behind each tooth...very annoying!). My surgery cost about 4200, and like i said, i had the whole right upper and lower sides done and the whole lower left. The tissue sites are very tight and uncomfortable, and my perio said this is partly because of how my mouth is (naturally tight muscle/gum). Good luck to everyone else. It's most difficult to find any info on surgery/healing issues on the web!
-- Danielle

Posted by: danielle on June 11, 2005 8:03 PM

hi everybody,
I just had my second gum graft. I lost my front tooth in a car accident when i was 10, at 18 I got an implant and at 25 it was taking out because the bone deteriated around it, even after 2 bone grafts and a gum graft to try and save the implant it still failed. those surgeries were the result of gum tissue loss. hopefully this last graft worked, so my gums arn't sunken in anymore. It looks like white gum tissue right now, I feel better after reading everyone's experiences. thanks

Posted by: Didi on June 13, 2005 4:35 AM


I had gum grafting on my lower teeth on july 6.I had gum grafts on 8 of my lower teeth(due to gum disease).The procedure lasted about 2 hours and my face was swollen for the first 5 days. I am really surprised to read that so many people experienced intense pain,as all I experienced was just a little discomfort. I was on a liquid diet for the first week and slowly added soft food.My dressing on the roof of mouth fell out about 10 days after having the surgery. I didn't experience any pain,and I was scheduled to see my periodontist in 4 days(which was today). I had the remaining dressing removed,and was told my my periodontist that everything looked amazing and I was healing well.When I looked in the mirror,I saw that I now have a full gumline.

I must admit that in the beginning, I was terrified and that I was expecting alot of pain,But it went smoothly.
I am extremely satisfied with the procedure.

Posted by: Marcia on July 11, 2005 4:10 PM

I'm getting two grafts July 20th, and 2 more next year (when my benefits coverage renews) and I agree that it's quite difficult to find much useful information on this subject online. In addition to this site, which seems to be the best, here's another resource I found that gave some insight:

I'm a little apprehensive about getting it done, but I know that the benefits outweigh the negative aspects (in theory, anyway), so I'm trying to go in with a positive mindset and hopefully that will help guide my recovery...we'll see; I'll post a follow-up afterwards.

Here's a random thought: somebody could make some advertising money by making a website dedicated to this topic.

Posted by: Jez on July 13, 2005 1:24 PM

did any of the people that had to have the gum surgery redone a second time cause it failed also have to pay the second time around for the surgery?

Posted by: lis on July 14, 2005 1:29 PM

did any of the people that had to have the gum surgery redone a second time cause it failed also have to pay the second time around for the surgery?

Posted by: lis on July 14, 2005 1:29 PM

did any of the people that had to have the gum surgery redone a second time cause it failed also have to pay the second time around for the surgery?

Posted by: on July 14, 2005 1:30 PM

did any of the people that had to have the gum surgery redone a second time cause it failed also have to pay the second time around for the surgery?

Posted by: on July 14, 2005 1:30 PM

did any of the people that had to have the gum surgery redone a second time cause it failed also have to pay the second time around for the surgery?

Posted by: liz on July 14, 2005 1:30 PM

did any of the people that had to have the gum surgery redone a second time cause it failed also have to pay the second time around for the surgery?

Posted by: liz on July 14, 2005 1:30 PM

Not bad at all! It's been almost one week since I had my gingival graft and everything's going quite well. I felt no pain whatsoever the entire time, and I only took three painkillers (Toradol, as prescribed; a very strong anti-inflammatory in the Advil family), though I honestly think I didn't need to take them. I was quite surprised with the lack of pain, considering all the horror stories I'd read online and heard from co-workers who'd had it done before. Apart from the swelling that set in on the second day and started to go down a couple of days ago, there's been no discomfort. I had a stent (retainer-like device) to cover the roof of my mouth, and after the third day I took it out and only wore it at meals for that day, and started to use Peridex, a really strong antibacterial mouthwash I was prescribed. I use it twice daily, and I can really feel it working at the site of the surgery. The roof of my mouth is perfectly fine, I can just feel the slightly fleshy spot where they harvested my gum. Also, speaking was not a problem either; it was just laughing and smiling that was made difficult because of the swelling.
In summary, I would say that it was not nearly as bad as I had understood it might be. Just giv'er and get 'em done!

Posted by: follow-up on July 26, 2005 8:04 AM

Has anyone heard of the Isolagen technique for gum grafting? Why isn't it approved in the US? Isolagen is an American company, I believe. It sure seems like a better alternative.

Posted by: Kayla on August 18, 2005 6:37 AM

Hi, ON Aug. 22, 2005 i had 4 bottom teeth done with gum grafting on front and back. I was given 600mg. of ibuprofen to take as well as 250mg. of amoxil. On the third day after surgery I could not tolerate the pain so I was advised to add 2 extra strength tylenol every 4 hr. for the pain. By Friday I was still is excruiating pain. Periodontist subscribed me tylenol #3 with codene (2 every 4 hrs.). Did not help pain and made me have very sick to my stomach. By Sunday I just wanted to scream with this pain. Periodontist was good enough to see me in his office where he removed the remainder of stitches and rest of dressing. The roof of my mouth was so tender and painful, it was terrible. He then prescribed oxycodone and gave me some topical anesthetic to numb roof of mouth. I slept finally all the time and this did help the pain. The pain was caused from excited nerve endings that refused to die in my mouth. To-day August 31 I finally am feeling better and I can tell the nerve endings are settling down. The graft was successful and looks good. I am finally on my way to recovery. Good Luck to anyone having this done. I hope your nerve endings do not cause you this much grief. Take care Janet from Ontario, Canada

Posted by: Janet on August 31, 2005 11:41 AM

I'm interested in having gum grafting to correct recession on several teeth. A periodontist in New York City just gave me an estimate today of $2700 per tooth. I'm sure this is high. Could some of you who have had the surgery recently post your costs? This would be much appreciated.

Posted by: Aaron on November 23, 2005 6:12 PM

I, too, am looking into getting gum grafting. I need it on my two upper eye teeth on the outside. I have a flex spending account through my job, and I was trying to estimate my 2006 medical expenses for this. I called a periodontal office to get a ballpark but they wouldn't give me one. Can anyone give me an estimate, particularly from California? $2,700 per tooth certainly sounds high!


Posted by: Amanda on December 22, 2005 4:22 PM

I had my gingival graft for my lower 2 front teeth 5 days ago. Things went better than I expected. Less pain than I had imagined (during the surgery at least). I did call in sick to work today due to pain in the roof of my mouth when talking. (I'm a receptionist for a busy orthodontist's office and am on the phone all day.) I will probably try to go to work tomorrow and see how it goes. The lower part of my mouth is looking great. (As far as I can tell.) The only thing that is even really painful at all is the roof of my mouth. Even drinking room-temperature water hurts! But I think it is starting to ease up and I am able to eat a little more. Mashed potatoes! Anybody else get REALLY sick of mashed potatoes?!
And I totally agree with whoever said there needs to be a website devoted solely to this topic. It's a scary thing to have done and there isn't much info to be found on the web. At least not by actual people who have "been there, done that" as the saying goes. Good luck to all who end up here in search of answers.

Posted by: on March 13, 2006 9:45 AM

Just had my graft last night. Wish I'd thought to look up information before I had it done - this site would really have helped as I didn't expect that the procedure would be as involved as it was. I didn't make any plans to take time off from work because I didn't realize I would have to. I suppose I was being naive - any time they cut into your skin you should probably plan on at least a day! I had two grafts, one on each of my lower cuspids. I had wanted to do the Alloderm where they give you donor material but my insurance didn't cover that. The procedure is expensive for those who asked - my insurance did cover some but it appeared to be only 60%. I need 3 in total and the amount out of my pocket was to be almost $1000 (suppose you could do the math on that). This was in the Boston area. The procedure itself was fine as long as the novocaine hung in (and there was a lot of novocaine) - I had to have him reshoot me a couple of times. It was more gross to think about what was being done than anything else, kind of like eating snails - as long as you don't think about what it is you're OK. But the pain after was pretty awful. I took two motrins and a vicodin and an hour later I had no relief. The doctor called to check on me and said I could have another vicodin. It finally started to subside about 2 hours. I was able to sleep last night and woke up this morning with mild discomfort. I tried not taking any medication but the pain is starting to creep up again. I also didn't anticpate not being able to eat - or brush very well! I have them on both bottom sides and the top right side - how does one get around that with a toothbrush?? Maybe I have to take the whole week off - who wants to be around people with an unbrushed mouth? I haven't seen any of the sites because the "dressing" (whatever this weird rubbery stuff is that feels like old gum) is still over the sites. One thing I did notice was that icing my cheeks seemed to make the pain worse. They suggested ice to help prevent swelling but I couldn't stand the cold. I have some mild swelling this morning but nothing too bad. Suppose it's not the worse thing I've been through but it was not fun. If I had to do it over again I might consider paying the extra for the Alloderm. The whole thing might not have been quite so bad if not for the cutting into the roof of the mouth.

Posted by: Sherrie on May 2, 2006 4:48 AM

I just had this procedure done on June 5th and it is now the 9th. First of all, relax people. You're reading many horror stories and they don't all end that way. I had a bunch done on my upper gums, as I guess I brush too hard. I had the AlloDerm option, which uses donated tissue rather than taking from the roof of your mouth. I understand that part is painful, where the AlloDerm avoids this.

The procedure: As someone noted above, the pain during isn't bad, it's knowing what they're doing that got to me. It's not painful, just uncomfortable.

The aftermath: I had pain the night of my surgery and that is really it. I took a Vicodin that night and some Advil the morning after out of precaution, and that was it. Not needed for me.

It's been 4 days and it looks better every day IMO. I did have some swelling but that is also going down daily. The doctor prescribed some steroid to assist w/the swelling, as well as a mouth wash which I do 2x daily. I still have stitches in my mouth, which don't look great, but the gums look like they are doing what they're supposed to.

I have been eating mac and cheese for the first couple of days after, as well as cutting up my food and eating on the side of my mouth. It feels like I have gum underneath my lip due to the swelling and AlloDerm, but nothing uncomfortable. After reading some of these stories, I should be more careful I guess.

Please let me know if you have any questions. The more you know the better. I live in Columbus, OH and would highly recommend my doctor.

Posted by: Jeff T on June 9, 2006 8:29 AM

I had surgery almost 2 weeks ago. Well the first couple of days I did not like. My gums where in pain. I normally don't take Advil or anything like that, but let me tell you I had 6 extra strength within 24hrs and would of liked more. My doctor decided to do both sides of my upper mouth ... 2 teeth on either side. Big mistake! I needed to eat soft foods for a week or so because they took the graft's from both sides of the roof of my mouth and it needed time to heal. But what he forgot to tell me was, good luck eating normally after. The roof of my mouth was healed but not the gums. So it takes me about a half hour to eat a meal. I'm soooo hungry and I have to cut up everything very small and toss it to the back teeth and slowly chew it and make sure I don't touch the healing gums with the food. So tomorrow is exactly 2 weeks and I'm scared because the grafts are still very tender, to the point that I have made them bleed 3 times, by just carefully washing my face and drying it. Wish me luck that everything will be fine, because I will not have them re-done.

Posted by: K on June 13, 2006 8:10 AM

I have now had two different gum grafts. The first, last fall, was on one of my back teeth and when they took tissue from the roof of my mouth, they were able to stitch it -- the procedure was a piece of cake, and the recovery was annoying but not painful. About 7 days ago, I had another gum graft on my lower front teeth. They had to do what they call an FGG or Free Gingival Graft for that one - meaning it's the larger piece of tissue from the roof of the mouth and they leave it open, no stitches. For me, the gum graft area has been pain free and I'm hoping when I go back to have the packing removed and the stitches out, it'll have taken well. The spot on the roof of my mouth is disturbing - I can't eat without cringing in pain (even just water at room temp!), and I can't carry a conversation for more than a minute or two without having to stop and let the pain subside. It's frustrating as I've read that for some people, it takes several weeks for that to go away. If anyone has any tips for ways to numb that pain, I'd love to hear them. I'm heading back to the periodontist on Monday and hoping it'll either be starting to heal by then or that he'll give me something to help.

Posted by: KT on June 21, 2006 5:38 PM

Liz asked a question about having to pay for fix-it surgery. For those who had to go in a second time for repairs. Did you have to pay for a whole second surgery or was it considered part of the initial gum graft?

I had 3 teeth grafted in the lower front of my mouth 6 days ago. Two of the teeth were next to each other and the surgeon used a single incision pocket and one large piece of gum to graft it. Thats the better of the two. Still really swollen. Nasty to look at - mix of red gums, white tissue, blood clots, and stitching. The other side was a single tooth with a small piece of gum. Surgeon had a hard time stitching this one because my teeth are close together and the stitches pass through the gums between the teeth. About 45 minutes before doing the other side. Then she noticed that the graft had already worked free and so started stitching again. Unpleasant experience. One of the many stitches on this side has worked free from around the tooth and was dangling in my mouth until I cut it to keep it from getting snagged and ripped out. The graft tissue appears to be dead (mostly white) and I'm pretty sure that its not going to take. Hence my question.

Not much pain after the first few days. In my case the surgery areas were left exposed. No glue or gum-like protective coating like others referred to. Weird thing is that my cheeks (not just my jaw) are visibly swollen near where the gum grafts occured. No reason for them to be swollen, graft was taken from roof of mouth and nothing was done to my cheeks. Anyone else experience unexpected swelling in your cheeks?

Posted by: Jason on July 5, 2006 1:06 PM

I had grafting done last Fri on upper and lower eye teeth. The first night was rough to say the least. I had a bandage over the lower area and palate. The palate bandage fell off after 4 days and has left a gaping hole that is so painful words cannot describe. The upper area looks ok. Swelling in my cheek was very noticeable and now a week later I have lovely black and blue on my face where the grafts were done. I hopefully get the stitches out on Mon. I using the antibacterial mouthwash prescribed and living on motrin. I just hope the hole in my palate closes up and heals. Would I do it again? Probably not!

Posted by: kim on July 14, 2006 4:01 PM

I had 5 grafts done at the end of June. The skin was taken from the roof of my mouth on both sides, and grafts were done 2 on one side, three on the other. The procedure wasn't too bad and I went back to work. I took advil for the pain, the swelling of the jaw went away after 3 or 4 days, but now (3 weeks after) I can hardly chew anything and my teeth are sensitive. I used all the mouth wash and was told to go back to the salt water rinse. If one of my grafts don't take, I'm sure I will have to pay to have it re-done, not something I'm planning on doing anytime soon for sure! My next check up will be in a couple of weeks. Good luck to all of you experiencing the same thing.

Posted by: Kat on July 18, 2006 5:50 PM

I am having the procedure this upcoming Wednesday. What do they have you eat the week after the gum grafting? I read somewhere no chewing in the front part of the mouth. Hoping someone can help. The only person who didn't have a horror story was the woman who didn't have tissue removed from the roof of her mouth like everyone else.

Posted by: David on August 17, 2006 7:38 PM

Hi, I just underwent a gum graft this afternoon. Was very nervous going in - but, the procedure wasn't as bad as I thought. They froze my mouth, and I couldn't feel a thing. I was prescribed Tylenol 3's as I am allergic to Aspirin, and didn't want to chance taking Advil, or any similar drugs. So, i have been using an ice pack regularly to (hopefully) reduce/prevent swelling. My first dose of pain killers is just wearing off (took 1 extra strength, and one T3 at 5 - its now almost 9pm). Am having a hard time talking. But, unlike most postings, I do not have any bandages of any sort in my mouth. But was provided with some packing to apply pressure to the roof of my mouth for 10 minutes should the bleeding get heavier than a 'trickle'. Currently, the roof of my mouth is not aching, its where the graft was placed on my gum that is hurting the most. The ice pack helps with that pain too though. I am scheduled for a checkup in 2 weeks. Hopefully all goes well.

Posted by: Leah on August 25, 2006 5:59 PM

I had one free gingival graft done on a lower tooth yesterday, at a cost of $600. I was prescribed amoxicillin, and no pain killers. The graft was taken from the roof of my mouth, but they made a plastic retainer-like piece that fits over it. I haven't had much pain at all. The most annoying part is not being able to eat. I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night, I guess I was so worried, and have had to hold a piece of gauze in my mouth ever since the surgery. Also one of the stitches fell out, and it looks like there is a gaping hole right under where the receding tooth is. I took three days off from work for this, not knowing what to expect, and now I'm glad I did, since I am so weak and tired from not being able to eat much. I called my dentist about the stitch that fell out and he wasn't concerned about it. I am supposed to leave the area alone, and pull on my lip to make sure it doesn't adhere to the graft. Tomorrow I will start using a saltwater rinse, which I hope will speed things along. Seemed like a lot of blood yesterday, and when I looked at it a couple of times I felt faint and dizzy. Yuck. I just hope everything heals as planned. I miss food. Glad I found this site, I was interested to see if my experience was similar to others. Seems like a lot of factors can influence your experience.

Posted by: Meredith on August 30, 2006 12:28 PM

I had a gum graph on one of my bottom lower teeth.
Procedure cost $800. $200 of which covered the cost of the plastic retainer-like device to be worn for two weeks after procedure. So far, so good. I was perscribed pain med (in case) which I never used, but did take advil every four hours and antibiotics every 8 hours. 7 days later the stitches will be removed. Not as bad as I had anticipated. Miss food though. Very hard to eat. Told my dentist is this did not take he was going to give my a piece of his gum next.!!

Posted by: bboxer on September 12, 2006 12:51 PM

Tomorrow it will be one week since I had the connective tissue grafts done on four of my upper teeth, two on each side (the canines and ones next). I was expecting much more pain, but it still was fairly uncomfortable, and I used a few of the Vicodin that was prescribed. There seemed to be a lot of blood the first couple days. Thank god for the palate stent. I think it would be impossible to eat ANYTHING or even talk without it. My stitches don't come out for another week, although the doctor said they might fall out on their own before then. I have hardly been able to look in my mouth because it grosses me out. I'm very squeamish. I felt very weak and tired the first few days, mainly due to not eating much at all. I will have some lower teeth done next year (when insurance renews), and this time I will take an entire week off work to recuperate. My procedure cost $2200, and I had to pay $900 (WA state). Good luck to all my fellow Frankengums out there.

Posted by: kim on September 13, 2006 9:38 PM

Hi, I was wondering if anyone knows of any reknowned periodontist in the syracuse, NY area. I'm also curious as to how much the cost of gum grafting is. Is it per site and includes everything? I'm happy to have found all of you with the same problem as me.

Posted by: Camille on September 21, 2006 11:12 PM

I had gum graft surgery about 5 years ago, I wish I had never done it. At the graft site the doctor says there is scar tissue on a nerve, it feels like the roof of my mouth is burned. I have been miserable ever since. The doctor tried to fix it, but it did not work. This pain is a problem everyday. I did it so I would not lose a tooth, I think doing without the tooth would be much preferable to what I am going through now

Posted by: april on October 14, 2006 11:29 AM

After reading all of these negative experiences I am glad I didn't read them before I had my grafting done. I have had two graftings. One was in May and the other was only 9 days ago. Everything has gone really well both times. The only issue I am dealing with now is a contstant dull ache which really isn't pleasant but doesn't stop me from doing anything either. There is slight swelling on the roof of my mouth which they say is normal because it heals from the inside out. This swelling is causing most of the discomfort I am feeling now. Eating still isn't easy but I look at this as a great time to begin a diet!

Posted by: gtahvfaith on October 18, 2006 9:37 AM

I had a graph done on one of the front bottom tooth lat wednesday. Today is sunday and the pain is not that bad. The problem is that the wax-like dressing covering the post-op area came lose and I could not resist opening this up to clean my teeth. The area does not look good.. it purplish... I plan to call my destist tomorrow to find our the he can take a look sooner than the 2.5 weeks checkup visit that I currently have. I have been eating on the back of my mouth... so I don't think I will be losing any weight. Cheers!


Posted by: Rocio on November 5, 2006 9:45 AM

I'm doing some research cos my gums are in a bad way. It would be interesting to know how old everyone is. Also, has anyone looked into the isolagen alternative that was suggested earlier on. I'm 57, by the way, and really pissed off because I've had my teeth insured for years, and my gums aren't covered !

Posted by: judy UK on November 8, 2006 12:10 PM

Hi everyone, this is a follow-up to a June 9th post that I did here. Again, I had the grafting done using Alloderm, which is a donated tissue sample and not one from the roof of my mouth. I'm so thankful that I've had no issues from day one. I'm not sure if it's because of the Alloderm, my dentist, luck, or a combination of those things. There are positive results out there, people, so if you're having this done, just make sure you have a good dentist...and find one who does the Alloderm option. It saved me a lot of pain and seems to have settled in nicely. Good luck and feel free to email me with questions. My dentist is in Columbus, OH, and I cannot recommend him enough.

Posted by: Jeff T on November 10, 2006 5:52 AM

Jeff T,
I have been considering Alloderm (I do not want my own gum tissue cut into) for my lower front teeth for some time now. I do not live in Columbus, but my husband's family is from there and I would like information about the doctor who did your procedure. I am looking in that area as well as my home area since I would have a place to rest for a week in either place. I do not want to have to repeat the procedure immeditely and would appreciate any info you could give me in my search.

Posted by: Margo Frantz on November 13, 2006 7:33 AM

I plan to go for a gum grafting, but the dentist said he'd take flesh from the interior of my lower lip? Has anyone had any such experience? And I was also told that I should not speak for 3 days?

Posted by: Vali on November 15, 2006 2:59 AM

Margo Frantzon, my doctor's name is Dr. Jason Stoner. Here is his webpage:


Honestly, I did work the next day, although I was lucky enough to be able to work out of the house. 2 days after the surgery, I was back in the office. I don't think you'll need a week to get better. The procedure was tough (not painful, just uncomfortable) but after that, the healing was minor.

My email is jtad31@yahoo.com. Contact me if you have any questions or want further information. Good luck, and I have tremendous confidence in Dr. Stoner.

Posted by: Jeff T on November 28, 2006 1:30 PM

I just had gum graphing done for the second time in 32 years. The first time it didn't take. I was 13 years old. Then the Periodontist said that the surgery was still experimental and maybe I should wait to have it redone. I recently lost my front, lower middle tooth during a rooot canal. They don't know why the tooth died or how long it had been dead, but it was totally calcified and cracked down in the gum during the root canal. There is some speculation that the root was damaged during the graphing procedure 32 years ago. I had bone graphing done last year to prepare for an implant. It didn't take. Didn't go back and still have a flipper fake tooth! My dentist told me that the recession was what I need to concentrate on 1st if I wanted to save the rest of my teeth. So I had the graphing surgery done over the Christmas holiday. I go back tomorrow for my 1st checkup. It was very painful and feels like my lower inside of lip is sewn to my jaw. Also have to wear a plastic covering on the roof of my mouth. He did 4 teeth and I just wonder if this is right. All I want is to get an implant and stop my receeding gums! I have always flossed and brushed daily and see the dentist 2 x a year. I didn't deserve any of this and don't wish the pain, expense and inconvience on anybody.
Has any one had an implant done after the graphing?

Posted by: carol on January 14, 2007 11:00 PM

Carol, my wife just saw a periodontist today and he wants her to get a grafting and an implant also.

Actually, she has a fake tooth right now that her dentist put in when she was younger because her permanent tooth never came in. The gum is now receding behind that tooth, so the periodontist wants to take out that fake tooth (which is actually just more like a bridge type thing), put in a temporary implant, and do a gum graft. He said that he would then put in a permanent implant a few weeks later.

What is the typical cost for something like this? He quoted us $1,400 just to do the graft and the temporary implant (and that is after our 20% insurance discount), and who knows what the permanent implant will cost.

Plus, if it doesn't work do you have to pay to get it redone?

Posted by: Blake on January 18, 2007 7:59 AM

I was sure glad to find this blog. I wanted to find out if the mess in my mouth was normal. I am taking an antibiotic. I had this surgery last Thursday (4 days ago.) I had the grafting done using the roof of my mouth as the grafting material. I have a lot of white stuff where the gum meets the tooth (one tooth, bottom front) and there is only about 20% of the graft is sticking to my gums.

I had planned to take off work for four days however the next day one of my guys quit because of my manager and I had to go in and talk to minimize the damage. This also maximized the damage in my mouth.

I sure hope the mess is supposed to be there and I will find out in two days when I have my first follow up appointment. I can't even think of having this done again. It still hurts and itches and I think I'm coming down with a cold.

Posted by: Kathy on January 22, 2007 5:35 AM

Blake, There is definitely something with my name, Carol and bad luck with teeth. I have a good friend Carol who has had all sorts of problems similar to ours, but w/o the missing tooth. Good news, my gum graphing looks great! But, I still have soreness and a hole on the roof of my mouth. I'm still afraid to eat and have lost 10 more pounds for a total of 40 since the onset of all of this in May of 2005. Size 0 is now falling off of me and I have a fear of eating and the pain that it may cause. My graphing was $1700 insurance paid 700. My next 2 procedures are estimated to be about the same costs and the replacement tooth will be an aditional 600 not covered by insurance (hate to break it to you!)

What is a temporary implant? Will they be able to use the same post? My perio said to just do the gum graphing then the implant. I need to have some bone graphing, too, when they put in the implant. This Dr. wants to do these steps together. My 1st cousin is married to a periodontist in GA and he's totally against implants at all. He's trying to get me to get a bridge, but ther are potential complications from this because it would have to be a 4 tooth bridge (front lower teeth) and my real teeth would have to be filed down so much that they are sure that I would probably need a root canal in the middle tooth. A root canal is what started this whole toothless mess!@!
I don't know what to do now??
Let me know how your Carol does, please.
Carol in TX

Posted by: carol on January 22, 2007 4:39 PM

Hey everyone! Im so glad I found this website. I had a gum graft done on the bottom front tooth 3 weeks ago. The first week was tough to get through but I am so glad with the results thus far. It was definitely frustrating to still be in pain on day seven. But day eight was better and by day 10 I had no more pain. I think it would have been better if the periodontist would have put a retainer on the roof of my mouth. Every time my tongue touched it I wanted to scream!! Just wanted to let you all know that it is worth the pain but i just pray that Ill never have to do it again. Good luck to those who havent gotten it done yet.

Posted by: becky on February 2, 2007 11:21 AM

I had a gingival graft on my 2 front bottom teeth 11 days ago. I had alloderm, which after reading the other stories, is definately the way to go. The total cost was $1100.00 of which the insurance paid $880.00. I wasn't scared at all until I sat in the periodonist chair then I had a panic attack and asked that they put me out. But they didn't. The procedure was gruesome but I had no pain at all. My pain management consisted of 3 advils about 2 hours after the surgery. I went to work right after my surgery. I even had Mexican for lunch (not a smart thing to do) That night some of the glue pulled off and I had a mouth of blood for about 10 minutes. I called the periodontist at his house and he said That is normal. The next day I had no pain what so ever. The 3rd day my chin swelled up and I had 2 huge bruises, but little pain. I never required anything stronger than advil. About day 4 I looked like I had been in a fight with the swelling & bruises. Day 5 the canker sores came (due to the glue and stitches traumatizing my mouth) and that was the worst. I couldn't eat or talk without pain. It is day 11 and I get the stitches out in 3 more days, can't wait!! I saw the periodontist for about 2 minutes last week and he said everything looked good, but I can't tell. I don't know what it is supposed to look like at this stage. I am hoping for the best because I don't want to go through it again.

Posted by: Diane on February 3, 2007 7:21 PM


Does anyone know if this treatment is available in the UK? If, so a recommendation of a good surgeon to contact in the Lonodn area would be helpful. Also what are the costs in £.


Posted by: Mary on February 5, 2007 4:22 AM


In addition to my last posting regarding treatemtn in the UK- I was wondering if anyone has used the treatment PerioQ which is available on dentalhealthinstitute.com? if it works it seems like the perfect solution to surgery?

My dentist told me my recession is due to years of grinding my teeth so Im not sure if a gum disease product such as this would suit? (although it dies say it regenerates the gum tissue)

Looking forward to reading responses - I have otherwise perfect teeth and the recession is visable when i smile and is yellow and unsightly (never mind sensitive!)


Posted by: Mary on February 5, 2007 6:22 AM

Eeeek!!! I do this on Valentine's Day. No chocolates for me. I must say I am feeling nervous, but my dentist assures me that the peridontist he recommends is excellent. I will be taking valium for the fear factor, amoxocillin, and vicodin. I'm glad I've read these items, as I was only planning to take two days off, and will change my plans accordingly. The grafting for 3 teeth will cost me $2500 out of pocket ($1500 paid by insurance). The graft will actually grow onto the exposed tooth root. I will let you all know how it goes!

Posted by: Luda in Olympia on February 10, 2007 11:49 PM

I thought I'd post my experience since I found this board very helpful and I hope my experience helps someone else a little as well.

I just had the surgery yesterday (2/16/07) for two teeth on my upper left side. My cost was $842 and my insurance covered around $900. I think my insurance coverage was decent considering most insurance plans only cover, at best 50%.

I'm not too scared with blood and whatnot, so I didn't require anything other than local anethesia. He must have put around 10 shots on each side of my tooth. It wasn't bad other than the first couple of shots, but then it gets numb and you don't feel anything. The procedure took 1.5 hours and there was minimal blood. I listened to my iPod during the procedure and I think that helped.

I did not use alloderm for this procedure, but I will use this for my front bottom teeth. Like others, I had this procedure due to grinding and thereby the pressure has recessed my gums. I have recently purchasd a new acrylic mouthguard.

It's been 24 hours since the procedure and I have had very little pain. I was prescribed vicodin, but do not need it and have only used 600 mg of Advil (3 pills) every 6 hours. There has been no swelling. I used an ice pack, as recommended, right after the procedure, but only for like one hour. There has been no blood either as my stitches are covered with some dressing to protect them. I have not brushed my teeth since I had the procedure, but will today since it's been 24 hours (per doctor's recommendation). I am also taking some pills for infection (I think) and a mouthwash for plaque (I think).

Overall, the experience hasn't been bad at all. I do worry about not being able to brush in that area as I have to interact with clients 6 days after the procedure, so hopefully not too much "stink" will have built up. As for pain, not much at all for me. I hope this helps for those reading this post. Oh....I'm also in Washington, DC if you want me to recommend my periodontist.

Posted by: Wayne on February 25, 2007 1:31 AM

I just got a quote for 7 teeth, all top, $7,100! This is in San Francisco, California.

Posted by: ben on February 25, 2007 1:31 AM

Looking for people who have had it all!
It's me again,Carol in Tx.
The soft tissue graph for 4 teeth on bottom front took well. Now have to have bone graphing (had bone graph last year by different Dr. that didn't take)and implant done. (3200$ just for the periodontists part). Haven't been to get the dentists estimate. He does the cosmetic part by making the tooth and placing it over the screw that will be inserted into my jaw ( 6-700$ is the perio's guess). All insurance is maxed out:( so it's all out of pocket.
Any one ever heard of having bone graphing done at the same time as the implant? Also, lot of different thoughts on the composition of the material used for the graph. Any one ever had any of this done?

Posted by: Carol on February 28, 2007 10:16 PM

I just had gingival grafting done on both sides of my lower jaw, on Wednesay, February 28 (about 53 hours ago).

I'm not sure that I had AlloDerm, but my dentist did use donated tissue, so same process-nothing taken from the roof of my mouth. I felt very little during the process and the pain since has been almost non-existant after the first few hours. I took two 200 mg Advil leaving the dentist's office and two more 5 hours later...nothing since. I've been eating soft foods since the first evening without any pain-just a bit of incovenience keeping the food in the back. I was not given any packing material, although the dentist did use a bit of the glue others mentioned, in addition to stitiches. He said that would progressively fall out, which it has little by little. My stitches will dissolve on their own in about 9-10 more days.

I've not looked at the site per se, but I can see a bit of the surgery site without pulling my lip away, and it looks whiteish-red. Everything seems to be holding well. I had a lot of swelling in my jaw and cheeks by the first evening, more on day two, but it is starting to subside somewhat now.

Hope this helps someone.

Posted by: Kat on March 2, 2007 6:11 PM

My 10 yr old son just had his first graphing done today. It was because of the bottm receeding gum line. Any ideas what to eat during this process for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Worried Mother

Posted by: christine on March 20, 2007 5:47 PM

ughhh boy am i soo scared i am having a gum graft done in i think 6 days? but boy i am sooooo very much worried! they are taking a chunk of gum from the top of my mouth and stiching it to the bottom front 2 teeth. i am not worried about the shots the laughing gas or not really much of the procedure but the after/healing part eekkk...i hate it, i really just dont like swelling or bleeding at all or pain. i can handle it i hope but i would rather not want to....if ya' know what i mean. im just really scared that it will hurt bad or something will go wrong. but its probly better to get it done now than later in life.

Posted by: sandra on March 27, 2007 7:26 PM

just curious had my graphing done yesterday,i am getting quite abit of bleeding is this normal

Posted by: on March 31, 2007 4:27 PM

Me again. I posted last September after my first round of connective tissue grafts. I just had the second round (lowers) done two days ago. This time, things seem to have gone much better as far as pain and lack of energy. As much as I like Vicodin, I haven't taken any pain meds, not even OTC. I don't think he took as much tissue from the roof of my mouth, and there wasn't nearly as much bleeding. I think it was generally a less-extensive procedure than last time. Much easier all around. Oh, and I'll sing the praises of IV sedation. It's the ONLY way to go!

Posted by: kim on March 31, 2007 7:09 PM

Reading this site has been very helpful. I've just scheduled to have grafts on 2 teeth in June, but was not thrilled with the first consulting appointment with the periodontist I saw. Did anyone have a good experience with a periodontist in Missouri (or Kansas or Iowa, for that matter)?

Posted by: m on April 5, 2007 12:24 PM

I just wanted to offer a bit of advice if it would help anyone planning on having a free gingival graft. I had my first one done 3 years ago and the second one, 11 days ago. This time, my periodontist (Dr. James Ubertalli, Hingham, MA, wonderful doctor !!!) recommended having a retainer made to cover the roof of my mouth during the healing process. Because of the discomfort last time, I opted for the retainer. It was an extra $150 and definitely worth it. For the first 4 days, it was a Godsend. On the 5th day, I took it out for a few hours to give my mouth a rest. When I tried to put it back in, it wouldn't fit. :-( My doctor later told me that you can only take it out for a few minutes at a time to clean it after meals...any longer and the tissues around the wound site begin to swell. Consequently, I haven't been able to use it since.

The retainer, while it fit, reduced the pain in a big way, compared to my first graft. Now, on day 11, I can say I no longer need the tramadol pain medication that was prescribed. There were a few rough days but I now feel the worst is over.

My advice for anyone about to go through this procedure....give yourself the gift of having a retainer made, and don't take it out of your mouth for more than a few minutes at a time! If you can take a few days off from work, all the better. This time I gave myself 3 days off to just rest and it made a big difference. Remember that this is a procedure that has a huge success rate..and it does save your teeth.

Posted by: Gina on April 6, 2007 7:12 PM

a few words to others....
I had 4 teeth gum grafted about 16 days ago. Yes, it hurts afterwards (the roof of your mouth). However, I'm on a mostly liquid diet, since chewing might cause the stitches to come loose.
What I eat: (everything goes in the blender first):
chicken noodle soup (blended).
clam chowder (blended)
spaghetti (no joke) - in a blender with extra water added.
very soft white bread with butter.

Also - for those deciding (or your doctor) on whether to use alloderm or your own tissue...
studies have shown that, although the alloderm graft looks great right after surgery, later on (say 1 year or more), the site doesn't accept the alloderm/donor tissue like it would your own tissue.
The result? the grafted area tends to recede back to almost where it was before the surgery. I've seen pics on the internet & my Periodontist has explained her personal experiences, as well.
So unfortunately, I would recommend using your own tissue for more lasting results.

Posted by: Nicole on April 19, 2007 2:31 AM

Hi .. glad I found this site. I had gum grafts on 2 teeth (using my own tissue) and I dished out for the retainer. It was horrible. I swelled so badly. One week later, my cheeks are still bruised. The bruising under my eyes has finally passed.

What I wasn't prepared for was the pain. Four days after the surgery I was in so much pain it was intolerable (even taking 3 Tylenols with codeine didn't make a difference). I've given birth to three babies without drugs - I think I've got a good reference to what pain is! :-)

I called the dentist and he thought I "might" have an infection so he called in a prescription for antiobiotics. Within 2 days of taking the antiobiotics the pain and swelling started to subside.

I saw him 1 week after the procedure (which was 2 days ago), and he says everything looks good. I sneaked a peak and it didn't look too pretty to me. He also didn't think I had an infection. Strange! All I know is that the antiobiotics really made a difference in the pain and swelling.

I think my biggest mistake was not taking the time off work. I went to work right away and asked people not to look directly at me. Ha ha ha ...

I'm not too sure how long I should wear the retainer. Those of you who wore one, how long did you wear it?


PS It has been a GREAT diet. :-)

Posted by: Monika on May 2, 2007 12:26 PM

I had a FGG procedure on Friday afternoon and it is now Monday afternoon. To be honest, I was beyond terrified going into it. I called my doc several days before to express my concerns. In response he prescribed me some Valium to help settle me down. 1 Valium turned into 3 (at his suggestion; I was literally having an anxiety attack). As for the actual procedure, as everyone else has said, I felt nothing. I was wide awake during the whole thing, too. It took about an hour. I had the tissue from my roof removed and covered to lower teeth; one in the front and a molar in the back. For all you out there who have scheduled grafts: it's not that bad. This is coming from a complete and total baby about these things. I took Tylenol 3 twice after surgery and the codeine upset my stomach so I've taken OTCs like Motrila nd Tylenol since. Its more uncomfortable than painful. Just be super-careful with the area and you shouldn't feel too much. I think the key to not feeling the pain is the meds. Even if you're not hurting in the beginning, I'd at least take OTC painkillers b/c once it starts hurting, it's a lot harder to stop. If you take before hand though, it's def bearable. Everyone different though....

Sidenote- (Squeamish beware!) I had ABSOLUTELY horrendous experiences with my wisdom teeth (fully impacted, and I was awake the whole freaking time). Also, on the top right wisdom, there was so much trauma to the area, that post-op my salvary gland was blocked my swelling. You don't know disgusting until you have a Doc "milk" your salvary gland and have weeks old, putrid saliva come running out. SO, I do have something to compare the FGG to and I would take the FGG ANYDAY over wisdom teeth. But, that's just my humble opinion. I'm the in DC area too, so if anyone's wodering about docs, I'd be happy to reccomend my most recent one. He's and angel compared to the last! :)

Posted by: Raye on May 7, 2007 9:32 AM

Hi everyone,
I just had a gum graft done this past Monday morning and like everyone else i was terrified. I had bad gum recession on the back of my two bottom front teeth. The dental assistant gave me a Triasalon (sp?) before my surgery to relax me, but of course it didn't kick in, so i told them to go ahead and start. After about 7 shots my mouth was completely numb and they gave me more shots after i was already numb. I guess the good part is that i didn't feel a thing. I had the surgery where they cut a piece of gum out from the roof of my mouth, but then they stitched that incision shut, so i didn't have an open sore. thank goodness. I was prescribed Vicodin for the pain which kicked in immediately after i left the dentist office. I took a vicodin not realizing how strong it was going to be considering i was on a liguid diet. Anyways it made me sick and i was nauseous for the rest of the day. But after that first day i haven't had any pain, bleeding or swelling at all. My stiches on the roof of my mouth get a little irritated if i talk to much. I didn't take any extra days off from work. I just took the rest of Monday off and was back Tuesday morning. So i'd have to say that this whole experience has gone pretty well so far, except that i am extremely hungry. i need real food. Doess anyone know how long it will be until i can eat anything i want??? I get my stitches out next Tuesday, so hopefully the doctor will say all is well. It seems like my graft is holding. Overall not a bad experience, but i don't want to do it again. Good luck to everyone. Take it easy.

Posted by: julie on May 17, 2007 11:51 AM

I'm just over 10 days past having the surgery. I was "fortunate" enough to have excess gum where my wisdom teeth were removed, so to prevent bone loss back there, they removed the excess gum for my graft - a heck of a lot less painful than the roof of the mouth, I'm sure! Been on 800 mg of ibuprofin 3 times a day. Everything has been going pretty well - low pain, no swelling. The graft looks nice and pink now after looking awful the first few days, so I think it's going to make it!

Regarding the brushing - I was told to avoid the area until the follow-up (4 weeks!). My mouth was feeling awful, then a co-worker suggested using toothpaste on a q-tip. You can avoid the gums, and it actually has helped quite a bit.

Posted by: John on May 18, 2007 5:16 AM

Does anyone have trouble with their pink packING?MINE FELL OUT COMPLETELY. cAN YOU GET THIS AT THE DRUGSTORE HELP---

Posted by: marie on May 19, 2007 11:58 PM

3'd time still not a charm!

I have had little to no tissue on a bottom front tooth since I was 16 (result of tooth grinding?)at which time a periodontist wanted to do a gum graft. For 16 additional years the recessoin got no better or worse, but I never had any sensitivity except during dental cleanings and that may be just because it freaked me out. Preparing try to start a family, I started hearing about gum recession during pregancy. I was nervous about the prospect of the tooth finally reaching a point which would be painful at a time when nothing can be done (a pregant friend's dentist would not fix a cavity during her pregancy and it made for several excruciating months). First surgery in December was MISERABLE, used my own tissue from upper former wisdom tooth location and doctor covered both surgical sites wiht a light pink hard wax type substance which felt like it just slid up and down the graft site causing additional pain until it broke up and came out. The "super glue" type substance I've read about sounds MUCH wiser. I was taking hydrocodone for 2.5 weeks just to function. Donor site-no pain, graft site felt like needles continually stabbed into a dull achey area. Graft lived but "slipped" and did not fully attach on one side. Had "revision" surgery to repostion graft in March-same misery, enduring pain and failed result. Dr. "started from scratch" on a new surgery in April taking even more tissue from the other side of my mouth from wisom tooth area. THough I am thankful that this has not cost me anything else for follow up surgeries and that insurance covered all but $50 and prescription co-pays from initial surgery, I am very mad to have a tooth which has an even lower gum line, a very sensitive tooth, and constant pain or discomfort at best. If someone tells you that you need this surgery....give it YEARS to see if you really need it. I'm not sure how the scale works for the amount of tissue you have but I was a "1" which is as bad as it gets per my docotr in my pre-surgical visit....and I had been a "1" for 16 years without any problems at all :( Congrats to those of you who have had successful experiences. Best of luck to you who are preparing for it.

Posted by: Hilary on May 20, 2007 5:19 PM

I had to have a gum graph on 4 bottom teeth in Feb. It did not take and had to be re-done in May. Guess what?? It did not take again. I was told to wait for a year for the tissue to heal and then we would try again. I'm thinking that I need a second opinion. My gums look worse now than they did before the surgery. Does anyone know of a periodontist in the Memphis, TN area? I've already used all of my dental insurance and will have to wait until next year for the 3rd procedure. I'm not sure that the current perio guy will be charging me to do it again but I'm not really wanting to keep going through these procedures. Does anyone else have the same issue?

Posted by: Sunny on June 28, 2007 1:45 PM

I'm going for my first gum graft this thursday July 17 on my lower front 2 teeth. All I'm nervous about are the shots!!!! I'm not too concerned about the healing process afterwards. After reading alot of comments I'm suprised that no one had mentioned anything about that especially in the roof of the mouth. Can someone tell me what their experience was?

Posted by: gina on July 17, 2007 8:29 AM

Thank you all so much for posting. I'm having this done on July 23rd for 8 teeth. Very scary, considering that most of the previous posters had 2 or 3 teeth done, at most.

I have twin toddler boys, so my parents are coming to watch them for a week - I hope that will be long enough. I'm really nervous about how that will go, since it looks like eating and talking are very difficult in the beginning.

Wish me luck.

Posted by: alicia on July 18, 2007 1:20 PM

Okay, i just had my gum graft this morning (2bottom teeth) and all went very well. Like I had said in my other comment I was only concerned about the shot in the pallat of my mouth where the doctor would get the tissue. Honestly, it wasn't bad at all, I only felt pin pricks and then numbness it was a good experience so far... because now the numbness wore off and I'm very sore right now, I took vicoden about 3 1/2 hours ago and pain has come back a little bit stronger, I can handle it... a little, but i'm wondering if I should take another vicoden when it's not really even time yet. oh well, i'm taking it anyway. my doctor put some kind of putty on the bottom where the graft was done that if not disturbed will stay there til next appt. 1 week and he didn't put aynything on the pallat of my mouth i just had to keep holding gauze until the bleeding stopped. Everytime I wanted to talk my tongue would rub it and it would bleed. It doesn't hurt only my teeth. I'm also taking amoxocillin from my surgery on monday, I had a tooth pulled that was infected and very mobile that surgery went very good too. I just hope that this graft takes well. I will update here often just in case anybody is going through the same thing. Besides it takes my mind a little off of the pain.


Posted by: gina on July 19, 2007 3:52 PM

Day after surger, I feel pretty good. I slept on my couch all night after taking the vicoden, I think my husband was silently appreciative of that since my breath from the surgery was pretty foul. Anyway, I feel really good right now all I feel is a little sore at times it's really strange one moment I'm feeling a twinge of pain then it just fades away, I have not taken any vicoden since yesterday only 2 advils a little while ago and antibiotics. I'm having a little trouble talking and making sense of my words but I think my kids understand me just by looking at my eyes. LOL. Eating has been a little hard for me because i'm afraid of anything touching the two surgery areas but I did manage to eat lukewarm oatmeal this morning and smoothies and cream of wheat.

I did forget to mention that last night after I had taken the 2nd vicoden I was very very nauseaus but the pain completely went away and it just so happened that my doctor called to check up on me and so I told him what I was feeling He thinks it's because I didn't have much to eat with the meds which is true.

I have been very good at taking it easy even with the kids all home from school but I must praise my mother who has helped me with my 3yr old daughter because honestly i don't think i would have rested as well as i have.

Anyhow, it is time to eat or watch everyone eat some good mexican food while I eat my cream of wheat.........whoopie!!!

Posted by: gina on July 20, 2007 8:54 PM

Day 4 post surgery, I've been feeling pain on the roof of my mouth and around the teeth near the pallat. I noticed that I had stitches that reach around a couple of teeth up there so that's probably why the teeth hurt and it does kind of burn on the pallat, but I took motrin 600 and it subsided a little and then 3 hrs later it almost completely subsided. Now I'm just taking the motrin around the clock (just in case).

My chin is swollen mostly on my left side still. Inside my lip looks bruised but not bad. I still have that putty dressing around the bottom of my teeth, it has stayed pretty good, it has not wanted to move or anything.

So far that's it I'll update later.

It does get frustrating with your mouth having the dressing and stitches everywhere. Oh yeah did I mention that I had oral surgery (w/bone graft) 3 days before my perio surgery? Yeah, call me nuts! I hope I at least lose weight after all this.

Posted by: gina on July 22, 2007 7:14 PM

It's day 2 after having 8 teeth done. I feel surprisingly good. I had lots of anti inflammatories and some pain meds, with I have not needed too much. Had a lot of bleeding from the palate the first day, but putting pressure for a couple of hours stopped it. I've been sleeping a lot, but now feel almost normal.

I still can't hold my two year old twins, because they might move suddenly or hit me in the mouth (though that would be unusual for them). Just can't take the chance. I've been preparing them for a week, so now they say "Mommy feels sick. Mommy better soon."

Good grafting to all!

Posted by: alicia on July 25, 2007 1:52 PM

Tomorrow will be one week and I have my appointment with my doctor. Hopefully the stitches on the roof of my mouth will be ready to come out. I finally got the nerve to feel it with my tongue, feels like it's healing but I can feel the stitches eww it's kind of freaky. I'm very curious if he'll take the dressing off of the bottom teeth where the graft is.

Today has been the first day that I did not have to take advil for the discomfort on my palate and the teeth near it. Bottom teeth had a tiny bit of discomfort yesterday but not much at all like the palate.

All 4 of my kids have been awesome through this whole ordeal with me being out of order for a while. So has my husband!! Except that he keeps forgetting to stop asking me so many questions!! when I cannot/should not speak so much. LOL

okay will update tomorrow
Blessings to ya!

Posted by: gina on July 25, 2007 9:55 PM

So yesterday I had my visit with the doctor which took only about 15 minutes. He took out the stitches from the palate and said it's healing well although it looks cheesy! really. Kind of yellow and whitish looking but he said that's from the blood clot and will go away.

He took the stitches from the lower teeth and changed the dressing which is much better however, it might be another 2 weeks til it is ready to be completley off Uggh! I miss biting into an in-n-out burger!

until next week.

Posted by: gina on July 27, 2007 1:45 PM

I'm on day three. I agree with Gina...I'm hungry and want a burger with fries! This site has been great. Question regarding Peridex...is anyone else rinsing with it? Does it seem to help?

Posted by: Dayna on July 29, 2007 4:09 PM

Well, thursday came and left and so did my dressing that I had over my teeth. Finally!! The area where my bottom two teeth are where the graft was done looks amazing!! I'm very pleased, it was well worth it. The "new" gums couldn't reach higher than we wanted because of the bone loss but it looks so much better. It kind of feels funny, kind of like a little bit of food is stuck between my lower lip and teeth but it's just the gums and I will get use to it. I still go in to see the doctor in one week because he is a perfectionist and wants to make sure all is well. Well, thanks for reading about my gum journey.
Blessings to you all.

Posted by: gina on August 5, 2007 9:36 PM

These commentaries have been extremely valuable; I've learned a lot so far! I too am scheduled for a "Palatal Harvest" to correct gum recession (At the margin of an upper left rear molar). I cancelled this appointment earlier today and am searching for a way to use Alloderm. The last Periodontist I saw 2 days ago stated he couldn't use Alloderm since there wasn't enough gum tissue at the site to create a flap over the Alloderm, and that Alloderm could not remain exposed. I'm seeing another Periodontist next week for a consultation regarding this. Has anyone else been told of this, and if so, can anything be done in these instances to allow use of Alloderm? Many thanks for any help!!

Posted by: Robert E. Yorke on August 15, 2007 4:33 PM

Hey everyone, I got a graft on my bottom front teeth three days ago, and it may be pointless to ask now since I'm seeing my periodontist tomorrow for a check-up, but I did something very stupid about an hour ago and want to know if this is bad or not:

I was biting my nail at the front of my teeth, and then my finger slipped, and it hit one of the teeth on the bottom where the grafting was done, and immediately started to bleed. I panicked SO much, and after spitting some blood out, and putting an ice pack to the spot, the bleeding stopped fairly quickly. Now, the area where I accidentally hit it with my finger, there is less adhesive than at the other graft spots which were untouched, and there seems to be a small blood clot between two of the teeth. I compared the area to the other side of my mouth's graft, and it still looks the same, so I'm thinking if perhaps I maybe just accidentally hit some of the glue off, which caused it to bleed? Because the tissue still looks okay, as far as I can tell. And the stitches are still there, so I imagine everything is still held in place (and actually, the stitches on that area were quite loose earlier today, with one of them coming undone behind my tooth, before I committed this act of idiocy).

So...am I okay? Did I scrape the graft off by accident, which will cause me to probably go absolutely mental, and fall into a state of total depression? Or did I just pick some of the adhesive off, which is okay, and my graft/tissue is still intact? Gosh, I am so so so worried...at least I have an early appointment tomorrow morning...

Posted by: Tim on August 16, 2007 6:44 PM

Hello everyone! Well, I find myself back here just to give a little update and hoping that what I've posted so far has helped anyone. I know that it would've helped me to read some positive reports.

3 weeks ago, I went to another appt. and so I walk in right? and so the staff greets me and I say, "Hi, so I guess this is my last visit huh"? and she looked at me and said; "oh no, no, no, no, you have many more for a while." I was thinking, "what the heck" but I actually said, in a soft tone with a smile :), "oh, Okay."
So now my wheels are turning and I'm thinking that maybe he (the doc) thinks that the graft is going to keep regressing and go back to the original state I was in when I first walked through their doors.
So they called me in right away and the doctor says, that I'm healing good on the roof of my mouth, and on the bottom tooth the gum did recede ... a little, but that's because of the bone loss, nothing he did, I know that I have a great doctor and that he is very thorough and is also very meticulous.
My visit was only about 10 min at the most. So I went back again 2 weeks later and basically my visit was the same but he did say that it wouldn't be good to have another graft because it would most likely recede again because of "Bone Loss" darn bones!! Anyhow, I go back again in a month. Oh yeah, he did give me instruction on how to brush the bottom teeth, upwards kind of like a rolling motion and to just be careful what I eat. No bitting into corn on the cob or apples stuff like that. So that's about it, I will report back later.
Regarding the last two post, I hope you all got your answers and that all went/or goes well for the both of you.
take care : )

Posted by: gina on August 27, 2007 8:02 PM

When I was younger, I had braces and then a permanent retainer. During a routine cleaning the dental hygenist lifted the glue (I didn't realize or feel it at the time) from one of my bottom front teeth and my tooth shifted within a month. The tooth seemed to raise up a little higher than the rest of my bottom front teeth and my gum receded as well just from that tooth. About 5 years ago, my new dentist attempted a gum surgery to stitch both sides of the receding gum together, but it didn't not take. Now, I am interested in invisalign and he just took off my bottom permanent retainer and the problem tooth seems to be loose. I am very scared to loose this tooth and do not know what to do next, try more gum surgery or just start the invisalign. Has anyone's tooth fell out with a smiliar story?????

Posted by: on September 5, 2007 8:56 PM

thanks for the site it is comforting to read other people's stories...

i had 1 gum graft about 3 yrs ago, my gums were bad due to braces as a kid... the healing process on the 1st graft was not that bad, a little vicodin got me through it, but the actual surgery really freaked me out. while i was in the chair i started watching them doing the work in the mirrored surface of the light above me. really bad idea, i started gagging and shaking and was miserable for the whole procedure, so definitely keep your eyes closed and maybe some music would've helped too as a distraction.

at that time they told me i needed to also do some teeth on the other side of my mouth but the 1st experience was so bad that i kept on putting it off. finally the gum receeded to the point where my root was exposed so i had constant toothaches so decided to get it done. they did 3 teeth this time 1 upper and 2 lower. they gave me some valiums since i was so fearful but i can't say that that really helped, just made me sleepy. went back to work the next day but reading these posts makes me realize i'm retarded and should've taken some time off work. pain has been moderate, i've been taking advil while at work but i can hardly wait to get home to take the vicodin which helps more.

2 of the teeth are looking good but one of them looks like it didn't take. i have been eating very carefully only soft stuff but after dinner last night of tofu and noodles i rinsed out my mouth and it looks like one of the grafts fell off. toothache is worse now than what drove me into the dentist's office to get this done in the 1st place. not looking forward to getting this done again...

does anyone know how long you have to wait before they can re-do a tooth? and no one seems to have answered whether you have to pay for another who graft? I don't think I can afford to get it done for a while, but then this toothache is going to drive me mad pretty soon.

Posted by: caroline on September 19, 2007 6:51 PM

Hi there Caroline, I'm so sorry to hear about your toothache. I wanted to reply even though I don't know the answer about having a tooth re-done, but just to say I hear you and I'm hoping everything goes well for you, teeth problems are very very frustrating physically, emotionally and financially! My husband has had his first visit with the perio. and he needs a load of work done, but my husband is pretty tight with money and our insurance is not paying for another deep root cleaning since he just had one from a regular dentist and it wasn't a good cleaning at all. Anyhow, I'm really trying to get my husband to get this done, I don't care if we need to get credit for this, he could lose his teeth if he waits too long, he has severe bone loss not to mention really bad breath because of it and all the gum and breath mints in the world is not gonna help it. After reading about you watching your surgery, boy I'm glad I didn't watch mine, I think I would have freaked! I really hope things go well for you, take care and God bless!

Posted by: on September 21, 2007 4:51 PM

A week ago, I had gum grafting done for the fact that I had brushed my teeth too hard for a decade and also because I had used too many of those so called "whitening" toothpastes that my doc said they are only out in the market to do serious damage (abrasions) to the teeth and gums. Now I only use Sensodyne. Before the surgery, I was told that I would have some yellowish skin on my face and that it is a normal thing after the surgery. So I was calm when it showed up. Today however, I notice there is some yellow to green on my neck area from the chin down to the upper chest around the neck with red dots at one spot around the neck area. It doesn't seem to hurt at this point, but, it worries me that it's becoming something serious. I already called to find out what it is about. I reached my doctor 's assistant who also performed the surgery. She said I shouldn't worry but I fear for the worst. Tomorrow's my checkup. I would like some answers to stop all this worrying or find help right away if this is serious and if my doctor isn't telling me more than she knows.

Posted by: Kevin on October 11, 2007 9:57 AM

Read up, this is a GOOD story! I had a graft done on one upper pre-molar on Sept.27th. The surgery part was painless because I was all numbed up. They put one of those retainer-like gadgets on the top off my mouth, and that really helped alot. The graft site had a packing of some type of clear plasticky stuff that they harden up with an ultraviolet light.

I didn't have any pain to speak of. I had just a bit of mild throbbing there later on the first day after I woke up from taking a nap sitting up.(they tell you not to lie down after the surgery, also it is a good idea to prop yourself up on some pillows when you are sleeping the first couple of nights, and try to sleep only on your back). Well, I took small regular doses of ibuprofen and kept the thing iced for the first few days. The swelling looked pretty nasty the second day, but by the fourth day or so it started to subside. I was able to eat soft foods like mac and chees on the other side of my mouth. Also, lots of smoothies. They tell you to try to keep your mouth as cold as possible for the first few days. Nothing warmer than room temperature foods.

On day 10 my graft site packing fell off, but I gently put it back into position and it stayed put. I was really nervous about that. But I went in for my appt. after 2 weeks and he took a look and told me the graft is "absolutely perfect". I was soooooo relieved!

So my advice would be to keep the thing iced and keep trauma off that area and you should be okay. Also, get a referral from someone who has had the work done if possible. A friend of mine said she was very pleased with this periodontist's work and she was right, he did a great job.

Posted by: Linda on October 16, 2007 2:44 PM

Does anyone know of a good periodontist in the DC Virginia area? I am going to have to have this done eventually do to grinding.


Posted by: Rachel on October 18, 2007 5:32 AM

Hi Guys
I am so glad I found this posting. I had a gum graft done last Wednesday around my bottom right mollar. I had tissue taken off the roof of my mouth like most of you. I did not get the retainer thing to cover up tho open area. It is exhausting to try to eat or talk because it hurts so dang bad. I have four kids and not much help so I'm doing the best I can. Two days post-op my overly dramatic teenage daughter hugged me and bumped my face on the graft side. Rinsing my mouth that night I'm pretty sure I spit out a piece of the graft. I'm so bummed. Has any one else had something like this happen.

Posted by: Maureen on October 23, 2007 1:25 PM

Has anyone had their graft site tissue die? It happenned to me!! Horribly pain! I told off my dr politely about how I was treated and what they did wrong. Had surgery last wed. What a nightmare! Finally got to head Dr. found out roof palate tissue died they made a splint for me pain out of this world I have been through? Anybody else been through this?


Posted by: marcy on November 6, 2007 3:45 PM

My gum graft slipped and moved toward the back of my jaw. Now not only is more of the original tooth root showing but it is soo sensitive to temps I can barely eat or drinkl unless everythig is luke warm. The perio never warned me about this possibility. I might just sue him because when he made the pocket he damaged the gum on the next tooth and the graft tissue is rough with som random pieces of flesh just dangling. I surely won't do this again. I may need to pull the tooth to relieve the pain. it hurts to even breath through my mouth!

Posted by: Suzanne on November 9, 2007 7:26 AM

I just had my left bottom gum grafted last week. I couldn't believe I agreed to have it done before Christmas but at least I am not eating as any treats. I thought the actual procedure was horrible. Next time I will bring a blanket(or ask for one), bring music, and I will definately need to have something to cover the smell of blood which really freaked me out. The procedure wasn't painful but just so long and uncomfortabe. I did have a strong urge to cry in the middle of the thing but was able to stay composed. I am healing nicely and haven't had any problems 4 days out. My graph area which is about one inch or alittle more is looking like it is good. I haven't had too much of a problem with swelling and I only took advil once. I am not looking forward to the next time but will probably get it over with asap.

Posted by: Kim on December 17, 2007 9:56 PM

After reading all these comments, it seems to me the thing to do is find an excellent doctor. My periodontist doesn't have the greatest bedside manner but his results are good. Get recommendations, do research, etc. I've had grafting done a few times, each time successful.

My most recent was two days ago, on December 20. I had 8 upper teeth done, double the amount of work I've ever had done previously. (For those inquiring about cost, the bill for the 8 teeth was $3,000) The surgery was pretty nerve-wracking; I felt a few stabs here and there and literally began shaking all over. I had a hard plastic palate protector that was made for a previous surgery. They told me to bring it with me for this surgery and I have kept it in practically since the moment the doctor put in the last stitch. I remove it only after eating, to clean it and rinse my mouth. My palate feels fine as a consequence, I don't have to feel those horrid bristly stitches hanging down, and I use my tongue to mash (soft!) food against the roof of my mouth. I've had recoveries w/o the palate protector and I most definitely recommend getting it. The palate protector does interfere with speech a bit, fyi.

I have very little pain, more like headachey, sinusy, earachey feelings, all controllable with advil. My biggest issue, and what sent me searching on the Web, is that I am swollen beyond recognition. I look like a balloon with eyes. My dr. said all manner of swelling could well occur, even around the eyes. I am taking amoxicillin and don't feel feverish so am confident there is no infection. I feel more comfortable having read about other's experiences with severe swelling. Hope it goes down by Christmas day - don't want to frighten the nieces and nephew!

Good luck to everyone who is considering this surgery.

Posted by: Evelyn in West Windsor NJ on December 22, 2007 9:00 AM


I have recession in four of my bottom teeth. I really need to have gum grafting done. Especially if I ever want to get braces. The problem is, I don't have dental insurance where I work, because they don't offer it with my health plan. I've tried looking over the internet for dental insurance. Unfortunatly, all I can find are dental plans that don't cover much. Is there anyone who knows of a place I could find dental insurance online that would cover this procedure? Any sugestions would be very helpful.



Posted by: Wendy on December 27, 2007 6:35 PM

I had my graft done on all of my bottom front teeth due to recession and muscle attachment. I was put under IV sedation for the process which was the best decision I made. Unfortunately, I ended up with TMJ and nerve pain that was unbearable and untouchable by the tylox he prescribed. Taking motrin along with it did nothing. The actual graft site has not bothered me. There is still a protective covering over it. I go back in another week and he will remove the covering (which I will be grateful for because I can't close my mouth right now). I had intense nerve/jaw pain for five days and ended up being real sick from the antibiotic. No problems whatsoever with the site.

Whoever said their dentist wont let alloderm exposed; I have alloderm that is exposed under the top of the graft site. Choosing alloderm was the best decision I made as well. I have have a massive dental history, one which included the skin on the roof of my mouth being ripped out by the appliance in it.

Children's liquid motrin is the best pain reliever. I am an RN and trust me, swallow 15-30 ml (200-400 mg) and it knocks pain out.

Posted by: Sarah on March 17, 2008 9:59 PM

I had a gum graft done two days ago. My periodondist quoted me a total of $16,000 for all the teeth. Luckily I was able to trade some graphic design work from the studio I own in exchange for the treatments. I was told they would be extracting tissue from the roof of my mouth but when I woke up (I had IV sedation which was wonderful) they told me they were able to use the Alloderm instead--that they hadn't expected to be able to but that when the got in there they found enough existing tissue to make it work.

My experience so far has been amazingly good. I took a few motrins to stay ahead of the pain as they say, but have felt absolutely no pain, even with no medication. Also, the iv sedation made the operation a breeze. I couldnt be happier so far or more surprised at how easy it all has been.

Posted by: brian on April 4, 2008 10:07 PM

I remember seeing this site the first time I had a gum graft done around 2003. Thanks Allan for keeping this info up here - it's probably helpful to many people.

I just had my 3rd surgery.
The first one was the bottom left canine area - that was not too bad (skin from the roof of my mouth).
The second (3 years later): I had both right upper & lower canines done. This time I had a reaction to the antibiotic, quite a bit of pain and a lot of swelling. I took 4 days off from work and even ended up with some bruising on my face. The periodontist told me that the upper right area is close to the sinuses and is generally the worst in terms of swelling.
The third surgery: this time i was more nervous then ever and I get myself pretty worked up. Upper left canine & front lower area. I told her that I wanted lots of novacaine because I worried it had worn off to early the last time. I got lots of novacaine! This time I also took 2 motrin before leaving the office.. and then 2 tylenol w/codeine when i arrived home. Pain was so much better.. hardly there.

So far, knock on wood the surgeries have gone well and periodontist is happy with the results. I have had swelling which i think causes much of the pain though i have iced religiously. Also, for me the roof of the mouth does not hurt really at all.. it's the graft sites.. the inner lip area too. All times I have had packing material over the areas which has fallen out within 7 days.. dissolving stitches.

Hope this is reassuring to some people. If you are worried and can take valium that's worth looking into. The actual surgery isn't bad, you should only feel a prick from the novacaine and that's it.

Posted by: Grace in MA on April 18, 2008 9:03 AM

**Look Below for DIET Sheet!!**

This is my 2nd gum graft (1st was a few years ago- same location (lower front tooth), didn't take apparently as orthodontist said- you had one done?? when??). Both times it cost approx $600- no insurance (other than safeguard which will reimburse me 25% hopefully). 1st perio gave me vicodin, antibiotics & ibuprofen. 2nd perio gave me tylenol 3codene, NO antibiotics & prescription anti-inflammatory. Valium during 2nd grafting w/ novacane. 1st was gas. Doctors do things differently!

It is very very important to take the anti-inflammatory for the whole course as it states or you may swell. Once you start swelling it takes time to get it to go down.

I experienced more pain the first time and felt more scraping on the roof of my mouth. The 2nd perio was more gentle even though she took a larger piece to cover up more than 1 tooth.

I am almost 3 weeks into the 2nd grafting. I am glad to read about feeling like their is chewing gum between your lip and lower gums. I thought maybe it had sloughed or swollen. I was in pain in one location and the tech said it was from the suture knot. The perio said Do NOT talk so much! (It's hard once you start to feel better not to.)

The number 1 thing you can do to make sure you eat ok is to have a RETAINER that goes in your top teeth. I have one already (from after braces). But if you don't- get one, pay for it- it's worth every penny to not be as sore at the roof of your mouth. If you don't you will notice the pain up there much more. I also believe the pressure from the retainer helps. It keeps it clean and food out too for the most part.

The 1st time some of the sutures fell out. This time they took them out at the 2nd visit (week after). Said it is healing fine but stop talking so much if it's painful. I took tylenol 3 as needed. I preferred the vicodin the 1st time.

1st time she gave me the perioRX mouthwash. This time she says no toothpaste,mouthwash. No swishing no spitting. Don't pull it out to check it. No brushing the area. Gave me a super soft brush for teeth near it and regular for the rest of the mouth but no toothpaste.

1st time I remember packing and bleeding a lot and being out of commission for days. This time I'm not taking it as easy. But now I work from home so it's easier to make my hours and rest as needed. I didn't even have packing- just my bottom and top retainers.

******* DIET LIST **********
& Rules (i got from perio):
"* Do NOT chew! If you have to chew it, don't eat it. Chewing on the opposite side of the area still effects the site.
*Don't use a waterpik or electric toothbrush for 4 wks after surgery.
*Don't smoke- it'll slow down the healing/circulation process.

Week 1: (don't forget soup! you will now love spoons... and mashing things up with forks and eating by swallowing instead of chewing.)
Multiple vitamins
soft boiled eggs
mashed potatos
protein shakes
cottage cheese
oatmeal, cream of wheat
cooked soft veggie (baked potato)
ice cream sundae (no nuts)

2nd Week you may add:
Shredded/soft chicken
macaroni/pasta (not spicy)
fish- not fried
scrambled eggs

No salad
No straws!!!**** (I saw ppl mention straws EEK!)
No steak.
No popcorn, peanuts, crackerjacks or food that can get stuck.
Nothing crunchy (which you WILL crave): toast, chips, fried food

What else does perio have to say??

The area where graft was taken may cause the most problem. Can't form scabs in the mouth- it'll appear ulcertaed but don't worry- it's normal healing.

Careful to not dislodge dressing. Don't rinse, swish, spit, or use straw up to 1 week after. If dressing comes off it's not an emergency**. Should be replaced if you're uncomfy though or if it's during the 1st 5 days. (bits of mine came off and it sort of moved when I was taking out retainer to wash).

Most common problem w/ palate=bleeding. Slight trauma during eating can cause it to bleed. Don't worry- apply gauze or teabags with pressure for 15 mins a least. Can occur up to 1 wk after surgery.

Avoid salty spicy acidic foods which will effect the palate healing. Eat only SOFT Foods** for several days. An adequate nutritious diet is important for healing (I found myself eating ALOT of milk products lol).

Use ice pack for 4-6 hours after surgery. Apply for 20 mins then remove for 10 mins. Repeat. Longer you use ice that day- less chance it'll swell or be uncomfortable.

The area where the graft was put will appear to have a cut inside of the cheek when the lip's pulled out. This IS normal. If the dressing comes off your graft will appear gray- This is normal. "

I go back to see them in 2 days for the 2nd followup to polish and make sure healing is still going ok. To me it looks like the graft isn't as High up vertically as I want it to be. But it's up to perio to judge. Though it's hard for me not to worry about needing another after the 1st didn't stick around long.

And to answer someone's question about having to get it done again- I went to a new place so I DID have to pay to have again. The new perio said the 1st perio was doing a "new" procedure that wasn't what should've been done and that it caused it to pull away.

And the reason for all this she told me was I choose the wrong parents (GENES), I have big teeth in a little body... and of course let's not forget 2 rounds of orthodontia. I'd really like 3 so I'm looking for a new ortho consult after this is said and done.

Posted by: S on April 26, 2008 7:02 PM

Help? I was told by my regular dentist I need the grafts done on lower front teeth. First, I have an upper plate so they would not be able to take the tissue from there, now what? Secondly, can someone give me a name of a good peridontist in the Phoenix area. I have not had my consult yet from the referral from my dentist. Thank you so much!! PS: I don't have insurance.

Posted by: Karen on May 31, 2008 8:51 AM

Great page. Thanks for leaving it up Allan. It was useful for me to learn that I shouldn't take out my palate stent for more than a few minutes to clean it and my teeth, in case the donor area starts to swell. Just today I was thinking it would be nice to leave it out for a while, but I won't do that now.

This is my second graft procedure. For the first one, I had two lower front teeth done in front in my late twenties. The perio just shored up existing tissue, so I guess it wasn't a free graft. It went pretty comfortably as I remember, spending a few days pleasantly "stoned" on Tylenol 3. I didn't have a palate stent that time, but I think the donor areas were small.

I am now in my mid 40's and had two grafts done two days ago. One is a small graft in between the original two grafts on my lower front teeth. The other is a larger graft behind all three teeth that had the front grafts. I have a palate stent this time, which is great. It protects the roof of my mouth which has a big rectangular bloody area that I don't think has any stitches in it. They made it extra thick for me, because I need to have a mouthguard in every night to deal with vicious nighttime grinding. (I can't wear my usual nightguard right now because it would press against the grafts.)

I have definitely needed the Tylenol 3 every day to manage pain, though I can sleep through the night without getting up to take one. I haven't had any facial swelling or bruising. I'm not on antibiotics, because the perio figures I'm healthy enough that they aren't justified. I hope the grafts "take", because I suspect the gum at the back of the teeth would be lower than ever if the graft fails, and I have been having nasty sensitivity with one of these teeth lately.

I live in Vancouver area of Canada and it cost $800 for small graft + $850 for larger graft and $20 for the stent (well worth it). I have no insurance. I had insurance when I had it done in my twenties and that only covered the initial appointment, not the cost of the graft, so I don't think insurance is much worth it. (Though maybe insurance has changed to cover perio since then.)

Best wishes to all getting this done. I definitely want to keep my teeth, so if this is what it takes, it's worth it to me. By the way, I have had 3 rounds of orthodontics, so that's probably a big part of my problem.


Posted by: Alison on July 13, 2008 11:58 PM

Just had Alloderm grafted 7/28 to four teeth, in each corner of my mouth. I'm only 23 and so far I haven't read of many of you with gums receeding all over your mouth. Perio says it's genetic and he's never seen such a quick recession, either...my gums were pointy triangles and were bleeding sporadically. I had seen a dentist only eight months prior and he didn't mention anything about my gumline being low...

The proceedure was fine, only hated being so swollen and feeling "hungover" from the novocaine wearing off after. However, I have only had 800mg Ibuprofen to manage pain and had quite a bit of work done. I can't brush or chew in any part of my mouth and am struggling to keep energy with only liquid foods. I appreciate the prior suggestion of eggs and might try that. (Maybe a mushy egg salad/deviled egg type mixture?)

I only hope the Alloderm takes and I don't have to deal with this proceedure again. It was extrememly expensive ($8000 - Boston area) but my perio assures me that the tissue not only regenerates but also spreads to neighboring teeth so my entire mouth will eventually have the appropriate amount of gum. Anyone else hearing this about Alloderm or regeneration in general?

Posted by: Shannon in Boston on August 1, 2008 5:08 PM

I had gum grafts on 4 front lower teeth and upper cuspid about 4 years ago. I didn't experience much discomfort, the lower grafts were extra tissue from back molar area and the cuspid tissue was a flap made from the adjacent bicuspid tissue. The lowers looked fine, but I was never happy with the flap technique used on the upper area and it eventually caused recession on the bicuspid where the flap tissue was taken. I recently had a graft on the a lower molar and a repair of the bicuspid on the upper area using tissue from the palate. The lower molar is fine, but the bicuspid is now loose and I am very upset because it has been 2.5 months and the tooth still feels very sensitive and has that loose tooth sickening feeling. The palate area has been healed for some time now, but continues to feel like tingling uncomfortable nerve endings. I've been back to the periodontist several times now. This is a different Dr. then the one who did the first surgery 4 years ago. She is so positive and chirpy about everything that I don't feel comfortable with her assessment of the situation. The palate area is still sensitive off and on as well. Unfortunately, there is less tissue between the teeth now then when I started because she wrapped several threads of suture between and around the tooth to secure the graft and it worked loose and ended up between the teeth. I think it disturbed the orginal gum tissue and of course she had to make incisions to attach the new graft too. She now tells me that the tooth was minimally loose when I came to her office, however it was nothing I was aware of and my regular dentist and hygenist have never mentioned it either. Now the tooth is more than minimally loose and the periodontist says this is a normal condition which should tighten up in 3 months. Well, 3 months will be the end of September. Has anyone else experience loose teeth after periodontal surgery??

Posted by: karen on September 5, 2008 11:54 PM

I am having a gum graft done on Thursday. I am going to be using the alloderm because the thought of getting tissue from the roof of my mouth makes me nauseous. I am a little nervous but after reading these posts from the people that used alloderm i am feeling a lot better. I had a frenectomy done last month and he said that this graft will hurt less than the frenectomy and the frenectomy didn't hurt at all, so hopefully i'll be in good shape!

Posted by: laura on September 23, 2008 7:26 PM

What happening with Alloderm vs palatal graft?

Posted by: joanne spera on November 24, 2008 5:35 PM

I had a gum graft on 12/4/08 my front 2 bottom teeth. So far so good, only using ibuprofen 800mg for swelling and used once the day of graft the hydrocodone-apap 10-650 that was prescribed. Haven't had much discomfort or pain from donor site(roof of mouth).Did not recieve a stent either. Also had a frenectomy @ the same time. I'm praying that all's well and no pain will inhabit my mouth. The site is ugly and I'm not interested in seeing more so I try not to look when cleaning the area. So when does the pain start? I still feel sort of numb in those areas. And I'm not sure how long it will take to heal. I took off work the day of and day after grafting and will have the weekend to heal before going back to work. Will repost if all's not well later on. Thanks for this site. Sherry Citronelle,al.

Posted by: Sherry on December 5, 2008 11:49 AM

P.S. My cost for the Frenectomy and 2 front bottom teeth grafting was $ 750.00 and my insurance will pay some not sure how much that's in mobile al.

Posted by: Sherry on December 5, 2008 11:55 AM

I'm sorry about everyones pain with their gum surgery. My surgery yesterday was to graft 3 upper back teeth with gum tissue from the palate. A retainer was fitted to the roof of the mouth to protect the 1cm x 4 cm graft. When I got home after surgery, I was just dozing into a deep sleep when suddenly a gush of 4 mouthfulls of pulsating blood poured from the palate. It was very frightening, My hubby and I had never seen so much blood in our life. Finally with heavy pressure on the area, it was under control on our way back to the dentist. Though he was not alarmed, he had only seen this once in 14 years of dentistry. He didn't make any amends to the palate and said that it shouldn't happen again. Which it didn't. On hindsight, I wish we hadn't made a drama out of it all, because on thinking straight now, Just applying pressure would have been enough, then a follow-up phone call to the Perio to let him know. Just be aware that this could happen but not to be too concerned. A good thing tho was that I got to see my husband in a very caring attentive manner during the ordeal.

Posted by: Tracey on December 15, 2008 8:28 AM

I just had mine done 5 days ago. I have some questions and its hard to find info about this. Did yall have to pay for the extra surgerys you got done or just one? I took my palatal stent out tonight, is that ok or should i put it back in? I'm also worried that it isn't going to heal correctly. My surgery was $1700 so i'm feeling abused right now. Any of you smoke during this? My doctor said not to, but i didn't realize how hard it would be not to. So, i have been smoking like two a day.

Posted by: Crystal on December 16, 2008 9:41 PM

Hi .. I had gum surgery using alloderm. I wanted to know how is result of alloderm. how many months it takes to get this gums to become normal.

Posted by: Shobha on February 25, 2009 8:51 PM

Hi. This is a great site. I had a soft tissue graft of 4 lower teeth with tissue from my palate in February. I had a tremendous amount of dark black bruising which lasted for about 2 weeks. The roof of my mouth is still tender and raised and my front lower gums seem to be healed, but they are still kind of lumpy. How long does it take for this to completely heal? By the way, my doctor made a plastic retainer for the roof of my mouth which I used for a week or so. It was a lifesaver! I wish everybody the best of luck and many thanks for everyone who has shared their experiences. This is much more involved than I thought it was going to be.

Posted by: Kate on April 22, 2009 5:22 PM

I had my graft surgery 8 days ago on my bottom teeth.

After 3 days I decided to try out a Mcdonalds hamburger which was one of the items I was told I could eat because it's soft. So I was super excited after a ice cream diet to have a Mcdonalds Kids burger and get some much needed protein in my system! I took one bite and the "putty like packs" loosened up and fell out from the donor site exposing the wound, which immediately started bleeding. After the bleeding stopped it was just really annoying to talk because my tongue kept rubbing against the area and made it uncomfortable. The next business day I went to my doctor and he put a new pack on and noticed the graft site pack was loosening up so he also replaced that one.

This time I'm being extra careful when it comes to food...but I'd give anything for a nice hot slice of pizza!

Yesterday I started to notice a gross smell coming from the graft area. So in the morning I went to my Periodontist again because I immediately thought it was infected. He took a look and verified that it wasn't infected. The odour is caused by there being more bacteria in and around the graft site. Most of which had accumulated in the glue that was used to put the "putty like pack" over the graft. He picked some of the glue off and the smell has definitely decreased...thank god.

All in all the experience has been a pain in the arse, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I'm back there in August to get the top portion done :(

Posted by: Shelley on May 22, 2009 12:32 PM

Hi, Shelley.

If the experience has been a pain in the arse, perhaps your periodontist is actually a proctologist....

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Posted by: Allan on May 22, 2009 1:43 PM

lol...perhaps he is a Protologist!

Posted by: Shelley on May 24, 2009 6:55 AM

i really thank you for the information on your experience, i feel terribly about my husband who has endured an agonizing recession of his upper gums simply because he brushed too too hard. he's has beautiful teeth and i warned him to not do so and then to get some treatment and the grafting is what i think he needs. i feel so agonized for him because he also hates doctors and nevermind surgery, he covers his mouth a lot in embarrassement...

Posted by: on May 28, 2009 12:13 PM

Hi - I had Alloderm grafts done on the 6 lower teeth about a month ago. In preparation a frenectomy a couple of months prior. Surgery was fine, very little discomfort afterwards - I used ice and Ibuprofen. Stayed home and took it easy - hardly any talking as a precaution. Did not need to take the codeine prescribed. The stitches came loose after a couple of days and and my doctor retied them and took them out after about 4 days. I was very careful with food - applesauce for days mostly. Four weeks later I have nice pink gums but they did not come up as much as I expected around the center 2 teeth. My doctor offered to adjust the graft - not additional Alloderm just reposition it. I am scheduled to have that done next Monday. He does not charge for this follow-up procedure. Total cost for 6 teeth requiring 2 pieces of Alloderm was $3000. My dental insurance covers about half. I can highly recommend my doctor if you live in Atlanta - he is located in Stockbridge south of the city.

Posted by: Ellen on June 9, 2009 8:10 PM

So glad to find this site. I had 5 lower and one upper area done last Wed, June 10. I was in a lot of pain and had a lot of swelling and brusing. I have been taking percocet and also got more prescribed. The taste is horrible in my mouth!!! I am very worried that one of the areas in the front has had the tissue come off. There is so much hard gross stuff I can not tell and
I am trying not to pull my lip sown to look. I go in the morning to have the doctor look-hopefully it is ok!!!

Posted by: Emily J on June 14, 2009 3:29 PM

Thank you all for all the advice and sharing your experiences i now feel alot better knowing that people went through what i am experiencing and all went well with them, I will now see a periodontist.
Thank you guys

Posted by: Dexter on July 11, 2009 10:31 AM

I just had my two center bottom teeth done, there was some minor recession but not problems otherwise. The day of surgery, I felt moderate pain after surgery when the novocaine started to wear off, took a couple of advil then not too bad. Sleep was okay - felt much better second day but have been taking it easy, not talking much and only had to take a couple of Advil since. Eating is no fun when you are worried about having food collect in the area that is supposed to be healing. Cannot help but look at area affected-I can still see the part of the tooth the graft was supposed to cover. Will find out within a week if it is okay. So far no regrets, I just hope it takes!

Posted by: Janet on September 7, 2009 7:51 AM

Do you always have to get the sutures removed or do some perios use disolvables?

Posted by: Jane on October 14, 2009 1:21 PM

Hey, found all of the very helpful and just wanted to reach out and thank everybody, so much to read. I'm sorry for any bad experiences, and I still have no idea how my gum graft will finish up since I just had it Thursday, but have to be honest, had only some pain Thursday night and haven't really felt anything unbearable since. The packing is still on, hoping that stays for another 2 or 3 days. Also, I had my procedure done at a University dental clinic, took forever, but they were closely watched by multiple teachers, I'm hoping this was a benefit.

The only thing I was really worried about was my swollen face. It didn't swell on Thursday, but I woke up on Friday morning with a lot of swelling, and then hoped after a good night's sleep it would look better, but looked even more swollen Saturday morning. I've always believed that I had a serious infection in the gum area where the graft was applied, I'm worried that this is infection and not just swelling as a response to tampering with the tissue in that area. Anybody know how long the swelling might persist, or after how many days I should worry if it doesn't go away? I'm thinking of just calling the perio anyway, I mean, that's what they're there for, right?

Thanks all!

Posted by: Linda on October 17, 2009 1:47 PM

Does anybody recommend a periodontist in the Arlington, VA or DC area for gum grafting?

Posted by: on November 11, 2009 11:50 AM

I am scheduled to get a graph on 1 tooth on Nov. 25. The graph will come from the roof of my mouth. I have to go back again in a few months to get 1 more tooth done. Almost wish they would do both in case of having a bad experience and never getting the second one done. I have 4 days off after the surgery for holiday.

I am constantly changing my mind about getting any of this done. Seems to be an even number of bad and good experiences. Don't want to possibly lose a tooth if I don't get it done. Not sure which will be worse.

Posted by: Mike on November 12, 2009 9:20 AM

Just had 2 quadrants done which is 8-9 teeth this past Friday. I also had some bone loss so my periodontist added some bone material to my lower teeth. Not too painful actually. Hydrocodone is nice:) Just a bit of swelling where he had to clear away the bone on my lower teeth. It does loos nasty in there. Hoping the grafts did take but go back in two weeks to have stitches taken out. This site has been a big help to me but still don't know how it will all turn out. I still need my other two quadrants done as I want to get braces but looks to be a long ordeal.

Posted by: Diana on November 15, 2009 12:08 PM

Next time anyone needs a gingevectomy, or a root canal, or a cavity filled.....do it without anestetic and in mear minutes with the new BIOLASE surgery tool. Brand new stuff...space age dentistry and perio work. Why suffer?

Posted by: tom on November 23, 2009 3:26 PM

Follow up from post on Nov.12...

gum graph went well and no pain during procedure. Graph from pallette and have had no pain after surgery. Took few advil but was eating soft foods that evening. Been a week now and no swelling occurred. Only problem is the puddy they placed over stitches is starting to annoy me. I was on steroids for swelling and also antibioitcs. Also used ice pack the first day. Was given percocet but didn't need it.

Would definitely go back for the remaining 2 teeth to have done.

Posted by: Mike on December 2, 2009 6:58 AM

I had a connective tissue graft of two teeth done by Dr. Bukzin in Gainesville, VA and he did a great job. It's a week post op and so far so good. His office has been so helpful and available for any questions that have come up.

Posted by: on December 24, 2009 3:17 AM

Is it normal for there to be a rotten teeth smell and the affected area to look red and puffy? I had a gum graft to a lower tooth two weeks ago. I have been looking at the surgical so often. The periodontist or staff never said anything about not pulling the lip to look at area. I should have searched the web sites so I could know what to expect. Maybe they thought I had common sense!! I do not want to go through this again. I have follow-up in two days.

Posted by: mary on December 28, 2009 12:18 PM

I need gum surgery and is freaking out over this since I found out. Can anyone recommend a good periodontist in the Phila. PA area?

Posted by: Wendy on January 3, 2010 2:21 PM

I just had a gum graft on my front 2 bottom teeth on Thursday. I waited a year to make the appointment because I was frightened by some of the web sites I read. So far the experience has been good for me. I couldn't eat well on the first day from the stitches in the front but I am eating more easily every day. I had the roof of my mouth "packed" (it's a covering over the graph site) so that has not caused any pain so far (it's only been 2 days). My work was done in West Chester, PA by Dr. Chermol. I have had friends who were happy with Dr. Luchetti also in WC. (Depending on where you live in Phila-it's about 45 minutes to WC. Good Luck.

Posted by: on January 16, 2010 6:52 PM

I had a soft tissue graft of all of my front lower teeth done a week ago tomorrow. Nothing to it! They offered me nitris oxcide, which freaks me out, so I just sat there while they did the surgery, which was a lot like having my teeth cleaned. The numbed me up good and there was really nothing to it. When the novacaine wore off, it throbbed a bit but the pain medication took care of that. The next couple of days I had swelling and bruising, but I looked worse than I felt. Gums look really pink and I cannot tell the grafted tissue from the original. If you are scheduled for the surgery, don't sweat it. It was a breeze. I had a great periodontist.

Posted by: Kim on January 28, 2010 10:27 AM

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention above that they used donor tissue on mine so I did not have the palate wound to deal with. I've heard that is the worst part. So if your doctor is recommending that, I would find one who does it with the donor tissue. That's the way to go!!!!

Posted by: Kim on January 28, 2010 10:28 AM

I recently found out I had severe gum recession on my lower teeth. I think I was brushing too hard and my dentist/hygienist never pointed it out. The new hygienist brought it to my attention and I could not believe how bad it was. I never pulled my lip down to inspect my gums. Now I can see it starting on my upper teeth. Am angry and disappointed with the dentist in not pointing this out until it got this bad. I did not have a cleaning in 14 months and they are claiming this all occurred during that time. He says it is due to my anatomy and orthodontic work I had as a child.

I am terrified of this surgery. I do not have insurance. I have an appointment with a periodontist and also made an appointment at a top dental school in my city. The student has been a dentist for 6 years and all work is supervised by faculty with many years or experience. I'm just not sure which way to go as I'm sure I'll be quoted a price of around $10,000 by the periodontist in private practice and the school will charge half of that.

I am 48 and worried about long term complications and how this is going to affect my life from here on out. I have read that gum recession if not due to periodontal disease is self-limiting and it is very rare to lose teeth from gum recession alone.

Anyone have the work done at a dental school in a big city and care to share your experience?

Posted by: RM on February 27, 2010 7:33 AM

For those who are really afraid of this, don't be. I'm a certified dental coward and I got through it fine. Not fun, not comfortable, but in the big scheme of things, not terrible. This is day #9 following a soft tissue graft of 3 lower teeth (taken from roof of my mouth). My periodontist removed the lower stiches at my one-week follow-up and said everything is healing well. I will say that the PAIN was much less than I expected in the first few days (I was shooting hoops in the driveway by the 3rd day, and stopped wearing my stent on day #4), but the whole thing is pretty uncomfortable. So it was more about dealing with the annoyance than being in pain for me. The only issues I'm having now are with the roof of my mouth -- still feels odd -- fleshy and a little sore, but I'm pretty much eating anything as long as it's soft (pasta, fish, oatmeal, etc.). And after about a week I started feeling achy in my jaw on the side of the surgery. I'm guessing I didn't notice that in the first week because I was religiously taking my 800mg of prescribed ibuprofen. I guess it worked. As I started taking less, I started feeling the achiness. That's the only real problem I'm having now. I THINK I'm glad I did it, but I guess we'll see in the longrun. But don't fear the procedure. It's more likely to be discomfort not pain that you'll deal with, and you've probably dealt with much worse at various times.

Posted by: Dave on April 10, 2010 5:39 PM

Thanks so much for the discussion, all. I'm going through the Alloderm recovery as we speak. I'm treating it as an experiment because a) I've never been through it before, b) it's scary, and c) the outcome is uncertain. You may be interested in following the experiment - I'm tracking it in our "Edison" tool: "get gum surgery using Alloderm" - http://edison.thinktrylearn.com/experiments/show/139 Good luck!

Posted by: Matthew Cornell on April 26, 2010 10:43 AM

I had my first soft tissue graft done on my front lower teeth about 3 months ago. The gum graft was for two bottom teeth. I experienced similar pain, stinky breath, swollen mouth for 5 days, and anxiety worrying about the outcome, as others have described. Unfortunately, the outcome was not favorable. I now have 3 longer teeth in the front. I feel ripped off!! By my 2nd follow up appointment, my Dr had advised that he may do a second surgery to cover any root that may still show, and that there would be no additional cost to have it done. By my third follow up appointment, the Dr decided he was not going to do the second surgery. He cleanded up the area, told me that the gum takes about 3 months to completely heal, and with that said, my appointment was over. He did not ask me to come in again for any further follow up appointments. When I asked the front desk if I needed to come in again, I was told that no follow up was necessary, and that I was done. Done? The receeding is wore than ever! I plan to see another Periodontist, and hopefully fix this mess. I will have to wait until next year, since my insurance annual max is now met (total cost of surgery $2300). I now feel much older and hate to look at my bottom teeth. The only thing that I can say postitive about my Dr, is that he required a cast to be made on the upper roof of my mouth, which is the area that the gum is taken for the graft. The cast allows for quick healing and less pain during recovery. Insurance normally does not cover the cast (cost about $300) but I would suggest anyone having this surgery to get the cast too. And keep it, incase you have to have the surgery done again... like me

Posted by: Christine on May 8, 2010 9:57 AM

I had a gum graft of 4 lower teeth 15 months ago. The roof of my mouth is still tender and does not feel right. The graft area on my lower teeth healed pretty nicely though. I am not sure if the roof of my mouth will ever be the same.

Posted by: Kate on June 6, 2010 11:21 PM

Hi I had the FGG 5 days ago on my lower front. The periodontis cut down on the lip inorder to get to the root of the teeth. He then put a gum like bandade on the area that eventually fell out today. I then saw that the recession was evern bigger on one of the 2 teeth that was opperated on but on the root of the teeth seem fine and well grafted . Can u tell me if that's a good sigh or if I need another FGG ?

Posted by: melissa on June 29, 2010 9:09 PM

I had all 4 quadrants done on 09.10.10. It was painful and I did swell, a lot! I was working the next day - not terribly comfortable. I would highly recommend taking a day or two off if you are able. It has been over a week since the surgery and I am still not feeling great, very sore, can't open my mouth very wide, pain when talking, not able to really eat much of anything. I suppose this is all part of the process, just wasn't aware that the recovery was going to take so long. My son was curious to see the stitches - I opened my mouth so he could look in - he said the roof of my mouth looked like "fish guts", pretty much how it feels. I didn't have enough tissue of my own for all my teeth, so I did half with mine & half with donor tissue (alloderm). Very funky taste in my mouth since the surgery & my tongue has been swollen and yellow. I called the dr., they said all that is normal... doesn't feel normal. I go back next week to have the stitches removed. Will comment back on the results.

Posted by: MeganL on September 17, 2010 5:44 AM

Did anybody have any bruising on the outside of the mouth just had mine done today so far swelling but they told me I may bruise

Posted by: on April 14, 2011 5:19 PM

Thank you so much for starting this blog and allowing it to continue for 8 years! I had grafts done on my two front lower teeth on May 2 (with my own tissue) and had concerns last week that they might be failing because I saw them "move" while doing my special oral care. I came across this website and read every single entry. I found the answers I needed and realized that my grafts were doing fine, so I was able to calm down and sleep soundly!

The tissue that I saw "move" last week was grayish-white "scab" tissue that fell off this Friday evening (day 18) after the dissolvable stitches had started to come apart last night (day 17). From reading this website, I expected this to happen and knew that the grafts hadn't failed because there had been absolutely no pain or bleeding since the first few days after the surgery. If a graft fails, it dies, so there is no protection for the root of the tooth that the periodontist had scraped down to the bone in preparation for the graft, which causes the pain to get worse rather than better.

The tissue revealed after the scabs fell off was just beautiful -- pink and healthy and completely covering the recessed areas on my teeth.

My periodontist had real concerns about doing the surgery because I take a low dose of an immunosuppressant drug for a failed kidney transplant and am currently on dialysis. Ironically, the steroids I was taking for the transplant had destroyed my gums. (Three years after the transplant failed due to a viral infection, I'm still cleaning up the "mess" caused by the high doses of immunosuppressant drugs I had to take for it! I do not plan to get another transplant anytime soon -- I'm doing much better on peritoneal dialysis than I ever did with the transplant.) My regular dentist and my nephrologist agreed that the benefits of the surgery far outweighed the risks, so the periodontist proceeded.

She started with just the two teeth to see how I would do and to cause as few wounds as possible in my mouth. Now that these two grafts have turned out so well, I'm ready to proceed with the two remaining teeth that need grafts (the two lower canines). The worst part will be the novocaine shots to the roof of my mouth -- I felt like I was going to shoot out of my chair when she gave me those. The rest of the surgery was a breeze, just gross-feeling. I took Extra-Strength Tylenol the first few days after the surgery and only one 5-500 Hydrocodone/Tylenol tablet a few hours after the surgery when the Extra-Strength Tylenol wasn't enough.

As others have posted, having a good periodontist is crucial. I didn't realize that at first but lucked out in the one I chose from my dental insurance's preferred provider list. She would have preferred to use donor grafts to reduce the trauma to my mouth, but my insurance wouldn't cover them ($1,000 per tooth). I went with my own tissue because my copayment with insurance was $421/tooth -- a huge difference (I live in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area). After reading on this website that one's own tissue has a better chance of "taking," I see why my insurance covers only my own tissue. I'd much rather have more initial trauma to my mouth if the graft will have a better chance of taking, which it did.

BTW, the roof of my mouth healed very quickly -- by day 3, I didn't notice any pain or discomfort at all. The pink adhesive packing fell out the day after the surgery, and the area was a little sore for about another day. Then I was eating normal foods, cutting them up to get them past the front teeth and chewing exclusively on the back teeth.

I have my first postop appointment with the periodontist on Monday (day 21). I'm sure she will be pleasantly surprised.

I hope this info helps others looking at this blog!

Posted by: Kris on May 20, 2011 11:44 PM

This is in response to the question about bruising posted on 4/14/11.

I had some bruising on the right side of my chin that appeared several days after the surgery. I was concerned because I bruise easily, and it takes FOREVER for bruises to go away. However, this bruise went away very quickly -- within a few days, which was good because I needed to renew my driver's license and didn't want to look like someone had just punched me in the chin!

Posted by: Kris on May 21, 2011 12:26 AM

I forgot to mention that I got a terrible sinus infection and cold on day 10 after the surgery (the day my Amoxicillin ended). I think the surgery inflamed my palate and on up into my sinuses. Then I stupidly went out and swept my deck, patio, and shed on day 7 after the surgery when I was feeling a lot better. I had breathed in all the pollen, dust, etc., I had stirred up, and I'm sure that was what caused the sinus infection. I'm sure the infection was viral rather than bacterial as my system was saturated with Amoxicillin. I successfully treated the infection with Tylenol and Coricidin, but the post-nasal drip and some coughing persist.

Please do not go out and overexert yourself or breathe in a lot of pollen, dust, etc., until you have seen your periodontist for your postop appointment!

Posted by: Kris on May 21, 2011 12:39 AM

Will be having a gum graph in about 2 weeks and very nervous! Been reading alot on it and have seen alot of different stories, some good and some horribly bad. Not sure what to expect but do know my dentist suggested i go on a liquid diet for 2 weeks and soft food for the following 2. I know its a good diet just not sure how im gonna deal with that long. Wish me luck and will report back after the surgery...

Posted by: traci on July 15, 2011 12:13 AM

Hello, I had Alloderm graft canine to canine upper area 11 days ago. The periodontist is the same one who ten years ago successfully did 9 implants with major bone grafting (crushed bovine bone). I had a ton of expensive cosmetic dental work done, dentail work beautiful. Grafting required due to a apicoectomy procedure (procedure whereby endodontist goes in through gum to repair a previous root canal) which ruined gum in that area.

Had follow up with perio a week after surgery. He said everything is healing, but I'm not sure. He didn't look that long and made the statement he can't fully determine until 4 weeks, but I clearly have a section where it seems there is a layer of gum over another layer of gum - like a cleft, and oddly, gum between 2 front teeth is dark where it never was before.

I didn't realize going in the graft was placed in pocket of my own gum. I have read the alloderm and my own tissue will sort of join, but almost 2 weeks in, this looks very odd and funky. There as no pain in healing - barely took ibu, no pain killers and had no swelling. Procedure took about 30 minutes. What I have going on now looks worse than the recession above teeth before, but maybe it will heal. Have a 5 week follow up whereby as part of procedure a root scaling is done. I will call doc office Monday to raise concern about the cleft.

I was also told at week one of healing to begin flossing and brushing area.

Will follow up with more info in a week.

Posted by: Megan on September 17, 2011 9:07 PM

Follow up from Megan

Ok,about 4 weeks out from my gum graft. Mine was done along front gum, canine to canine (see post above). This is a subepithelial graft - so it's tissue tucked UNDER my actual gum. I had an alloderm type tissue used, but come to find out it is one called Puros. What I have going on is very disappointing. Basically, about 6 months ago I had an apicoectomy on front tooth. The filling in the root from previous (long ago) root canal came out and there was infection in root. So, to save the root (toot his crowned), endo had to basicall get at root to clean out by slicing gum over 3 teeth and pull up the gum - retract - to expose root. Stitched back down, but after healing and then a second attempt to restitch, left with recession over 2 of the teeth. Thus this epitelial tissue graft.

OK, so, the idea behind my graft was to tuck this allograph material (donated tissue cleaned of DNA but with epithelial cells and vein channels left) under my gum, stitch it up, and watch the new gum grow. But it's not growing. Over one tooth, I see more recession than previously and it's as if I have 2 layers of gum. My own gum retracted way up in one area.

I asked my perio to take a look yesterday and he said to be patient. He said the tissue has to "mold" and fill in, that he can't assess for 4 months, which means sometime in December. I see another surgery in my future which I don't mind - I just want it to work and look perfect.

He said to start massaging the gum line as this will increase blood flow and speed up the healing process. I still go back on Oct. 20th for this deep root cleaning and he said at that time I'll be given instructions to use a rubber tip to stimulate the gum between teeth in this area to promote gum growth.

What I'm going to start doing now is research alternative surgeries - like a full gum transplant type thing in that area.

Also, if you have to have an apicoectomy, get a few opinions on how the gum can be cut and WHERE. My peri said he would have had the gum cut HIGHER and out of view.

I've long learned dental medicine isn't "set in stone".

Will follow up after Oct. 20th appt.

Posted by: Megan on October 6, 2011 8:24 AM

I had a graft done to transplant my own tissue onto the INSIDE of my left molar (apparently an unusual location, as most of these procedures are on the outsides of teeth). I tried to be careful, but due to its location, it's impossible not to have my tongue touching it 24/7. It's a week past surgery and I'm still having swelling and discomfort in the site where the tissue was deposited. Also, over the past 24 hours, the tissue has changed texture and lost a lot of sensation, which leads me to believe that it has died and the graft failed.

I went to my doctor to have it looked at and he didn't do much to ease my mind. He said some of the tissue was too far from the blood supply and was expected to "slough off." However, he said we'd have to wait and see how successfully I heal. He said I may need to have a secondary procedure done to "redistribute" the transplanted tissue. I'm sick about this and wish I hadn't bothered in the first place...seems like I'm worse off and now $2,000 in the hole. Did anyone else experience this "sloughing off" of tissue and then have success with the healing of the rest?

Posted by: Amanda on November 3, 2011 10:51 AM

Kris, and anyone else in DC area, please tell me the name of your doctor, and whether you recommend them.

Posted by: Alison on January 5, 2012 8:04 PM

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 further up on this page 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.

Posted by: Stephanie on January 6, 2012 9:06 PM

I am reading this thread bcz i may need to do the same procedure as i am having periodontal problem and one of my tooth became loose and i lost bone. But I am scared to see a dentist. by reading the above posts i am scared to go. I am having gaps in my front tooth bcz of periodontal problem, does anyone have the same problem, can the pockets can be healed and how much is cost? i am really worried about it. can i get my smile back? please help me.

Posted by: sheela on February 16, 2012 12:44 PM

Having braces probably caused by gum recession. Donated tissue was used for grating my four lower front teeth on Thursday, Dec. 29th and went back to work the next Tuesday. I would suggest scheduling the surgery near a holiday so you can be off work longer to rest.I was uncomfortable, but not in unbearable pain - nothing like when I had shoulder surgery. I used ice packs,mouth rinse,took antibiotics and pain medication and rested. I was told not to look at the site and NOT TO PULL BOTTOM LIP DOWN TO VIEW or suck on a straw - I didn't. I mainly ate mashed potatoes, soup, pudding and oatmeal - lost six pounds. There was bruising from my mouth to under my chin for about four days. I stayed swollen for two weeks and my cheeks felt puffy even longer. My stitches were removed two weeks after surgery and the site looked as expected by pero. Another post-op appt. was done in three weeks - things looked good and I was released - go back in one year for check. It's been almost three months,still very mild discomfort - feels like I have a wad of gum inside my lip. It's uncomfortable to sleep on that area. According to pamphlet, it takes 2 to 6 months for full recovery. I do not regret having it.

Posted by: millie on March 26, 2012 9:05 AM

hey millie,

how much it costed for you...just curious to know as i may need to go in few days...i have an app with pero on 10th april...


Posted by: on March 26, 2012 11:51 AM

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On Mar 26, said:
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