Don't Be Scared of a Subepithelial Connective Tissue Graft

I had a gum graft yesterday afternoon. It was nothing. I'm in no pain. I was pretty scared from reading some of the experiences here, but I'm happy to say it went very well.

I have two areas that need a gum graft. One above a tooth in the upper left side of my mouth and the other on the upper right. I think he said they were about 4-5mm of recession, but I'm not sure of those numbers. I had the upper left area done yesterday and will get the other early next year so my insurance can cover most of it.

What I think is the important thing here is that there are a few ways to do a gum graft, the most popular:

1) Free Gingival graft

2) Subepithelial Connective Tissue graft

I got the subepithelial connective tissue graft and this is the one that I recommend. Find a periodontist that does this kind as it is supposed to be much less painful. In fact I felt little to no pain.

Make sure you "shop around" for a good periodontist. I really liked mine as he told jokes and such to make me comfortable and even has these glasses you put on that you play a movie on, so you can watch the movie while he does his work. I live in Massachusetts if anyone wants this guys name, cause I'd recommend him.

The procedure itself went like this... First he gave me an alleve (as in the aspirin-like alleve) to take. Then he applied some sort of topical anesthesia to the outer side of my gum where it's receding. After a few minutes, that made it numb. He poked there to see if I felt anything and I did not. So he then prepared that area to receive the tissue to graft. After that he applied the topical anesthesia to the inside area of my gum (not the top of my pallet, but near where the gum meets the pallet I guess). This is where he opened it up slightly and removes tissue from the inside, not the outside like one would do in a free ginival graft. He then place that tissue in the graft area and stitched up both sides. Then he places some kind of putty-like substance on top of these two areas for protection.

Honestly, I could be wrong about the order of this stuff cause I really couldn't tell what he was doing because I couldn't really feel anything. The movie I chose was Mr. Bean and I had to hold in my laughing a couple times during the procedure as to not move my mouth too much. The only noise I really heard was when he was scrapping the tooth area of where the tissue will be placed just to ensure it is clean. I felt no pain afterwords. The putty is really the only thing I noticed cause it's a tiny bit uncomfortable but does not hurt.  The whole procedure took about 1 hour and 20 minutes or so and I was able to drive home and everything.

I picked up prescriptions for Tylenol with codeine for any pain and a mouth rinse to rinse/clean my mouth with. I took the Tylenol right away just in case I started to feel pain like I was expecting to. I rinsed my mouth a ltitle with water and the prescription mouth wash and there was a tiny bit of pinkish red from blood, but very very little and nothing to be alarmed about. The putty is a tad uncomfortable and I have to chew on my right side of my mouth for a while, but no real pain.

I haven't taken a second dosage of the Tylenol with codeine yet, because I haven't had any pain.  Today (the day after) I rinsed my mouth with the mouth wash and took an Advil just for the heck of it. I probably won't take the Tylenol, except for maybe tonight when I go to bed since it contains codeine which makes you sleepy.

Look, I'm a wimp when it comes to stuff like this. After reading some bad experiences on here, I was freakin' scared. I put this off for a while but should have just got it over with a long time ago. I'm so happy to say it was nothing. I go back in about a week or so to remove any stitches (that haven't dissolved yet) and for a checkup. Then I think once more for another checkup.

I think the biggest thing is to make sure you do the Subepithelial Connective Tissue graft and find a periodontist you feel comfortable with.



monkmiles monkmiles
31-35, M
8 Responses Mar 29, 2008

Hey I had this done Wednesday 7/9/14 by my periodontist. I had pain Wednesday night but that was taken care of with Percocet.

I have no insurance<br />
should I get some in order to save on the costs because it seems really expensive<br />
what insurance should I get?

What's the name of your Dentist? It seems hard to find a good trusted Periondontist these days. Dose he take dental insurance like DHMO Cigna?

thank you so much for sharing your story...i work for a periodontist and our patients seem so terrified of the word "surgery"..i do what i can to aleviate their stress but there is only so much reassurance one can give. I am printing your story to let my more "scaredy cat" patients i hope it will help to reassrue them to actually "see the procedure" through your telling of it....again...THANK YOU!

Thanks for all the encouraging comments about the proceure. Can any of you comment on how the graft looks now?

I agree- I was terrified (like shaking in the dentist's chair terrified) about the surgery and it ended up being a piece of cake. Not something I want to do every day, mind you, but I felt nothing during the surgery and I have yet to experience any pain that popping a couple of motrin didn't help (I had the procedure done 5 days ago). Eating is awkward because I have to only eat on one side of my mouth- and I can't WAIT until I can brush that side of my mouth again. Seriously though- i read alot of stuff online prior to the surgery and had myself pretty freaked out. I think alot of the experiences were related to the "free gingival graft"- which my periodontist described as "barbaric" in his opinion. The subepithelial graft really was no big deal all!!!

Thank you for sharing. I'm having a subepithelial connective tissue graft and a lower labial frenectomy tomorrow afternoon, and have been very nervous about it.

Thanks for sharing your helped a lot! I am 3 days post-op and had a connective tissue graft. It really wasn't bad at all and I appreciate you sharing your positive story!