Post Op Instructions - Gingival Grafts

These are general post operative instructions for gingival grafting performed in our office.  If you are a patient of record and you have any questions regarding your specific care, please do not hesitate to call us at 504.887.8205.

After the Surgery

We will have transplanted a small section of gum tissue from the roof of your mouth to another area.  The average person experiences mild discomfort during the post operative week.  The amount of discomfort is related to the size of the graft, type of graft, your general health, mental factors, and how well you take care of yourself.  These are some of the way you can help your body heal as well and fast as possible:

 1. Hygiene -  A clean mouth heals better, faster, and feels good.  First brush the non-surgical areas as usual.  Rinse.  Clean the teeth adjacent to the graft with a wet Q-tip, gently and thoroughly removing all visible plaque.  Do not pull on the lips or cheek as doing so will pull on the graft and compromise its survival.  Do not floss near the graft.  Clean this way for three weeks.

 2. Smoking -  You must abstain from smoking for two weeks prior and at least two weeks after surgery.  Smoking will impair healing and result in sloughing of the graft.

 3. Activity - Refrain from exercise or strenuous activities for one week.  Do not chew with surgical area for three weeks.  Do not sleep on the surgical site for 3 weeks.

 4. Rinsing -  Rinse with plain water on the day of surgery,  use mouthwash only if directed by your doctor and no more than twice a day.  Note that excessive or forceful rinsing with mouthwash or salt water can hurt the graft.

 5. Dressing -  Sometimes a dressing is placed over the donor site.  Dressing is optional and is placed for your comfort.  If you wish you may keep it for the week or you can remove it after a couple of days.

 6. Bleeding -  It is normal to see traces of blood in your saliva on the day of surgery. People with hypertension and those on blood thinners tend to bleed more.  The palate is the area that is most likely to bleed with this type of surgery.  If you find an area that bleeds, do as follows:
Rinse but don't spit the water out as this creates a suction force that will make you bleed more.  Apply pressure to the bleeder using a wet gauze or a wet tea bag.  Pressure can be applied to the dressing or, if you decide to remove the dressing, directly to the wound.  Hold for minutes until the bleeding stops.  Keep head elevated.

 7.  Pain -  Take the prescribed pain medication as directed.  Take prescribed pain medicine as directed.  Pain is very different for each individual.  Soreness is most often noted when anesthesia wears off and then becomes less with time. Most people take prescription strength pain medicine on the day of and sometimes the day after surgery.  By the third day, NSAIDs (Aleve) usually suffice.