It May Not Take the First, 2nd, 3rd Time...

So I had my gum graft surgery four days ago (3/10/07). This was the fourth one I had in the same spot. I want to share with people that the grafting does NOT always take at all.

The first time I had my gum grafting was in all four quadrants of my mouth 1/06. Yes, I did my WHOLE mouth in one shot. I am a doctor myself, and I am a pretty tough cookie. After hearing about the procedure from my dentist I decided to do the whole mouth all at once as I figured I would rather just suffer once and deal with it than to continue to have to take time to heal. My periodontist is my cousin so I convinced him to do this, I don't think other p.dentists will do this at all. Okay, so I went straight after a 30 hour shift at the hospital and got all four quadrants done. OF NOTE, I had the fake gum stuff put on and the whole procedure took three and a half hours. I was swollen and tender in my mouth for two weeks straight. I only needed one or two vicodin though and that was it. I needed no more pain meds. My patients and all the docs/nurses thought I had been beaten up as both my eyes had nice shiners. I could not eat anything for about a week given no "side" was better and was living off mashed potatoes, ice cream, and soup.

Please note that you will starve off the diet above. No matter what a liquid/soft diet just is not satisfying. You will find yourself tempting your threshold with real food quickly. Note, this is NOT a good idea for two reasons. First, your stitches will loosen much quicker at the donor site which can predispose the area to poor wound healing and to infection and second, leads me to the next part of my ordeal.

Three of the sites healed well. No problem. Looked great. But I quickly noted one site did not take and the gum was exposed again. I went back in two months 3/06 to get it done again. I had the roof of the mouth graft this time and this one did not take either, the site would just not stay covered. I was sooo annoyed. The healing process on the roof of my mouth was not bad at all. My cousin is really gentle and the pain of the mouth was never an issue. I don't know if the suturing was weak or what but each time the graft would fall or come undone. I thought maybe it was because I would eat too early. The third time I went back in 4/06 and this time I ended up with a huge bulge on the bottom of my gum line where the fallen gum obviously healed into my normal gum but just in the wrong spot. More of my tooth was exposed than ever before. It was well past the root and the whole tooth was almost exposed. It was horrible looking. I just could not go through the whole thing again. Finally, my dentist said I had to get this thing done again.

Four days ago I had this done again. I will try to keep this posted. Thus far I am going through the annoying fun of having little strings in my mouth constantly causing an indolent irritation on top but I am soo scared this graft will not take again. It is all white and looks a bit hideous. At least it has not dropped or moved. I am starving again as well and keep forcing myself to not eat real food as I am so afraid that eating my move the gum graft again.

The biggest piece of advice that I would give is to protect that graft site - getting this repeat stuff done again and again sucks. You have your whole life to eat real food - don't push it.

I have never read that people have to get this done over and over again in the same spot so perhaps I am just a rare complication. This may not apply to you.

3/20/07 - 10 day update: the roof of my mouth is almost healed - taking a bit longer than before as I recall... I think my cousin really tried to use a lot of deeper tissue this time so there is a bigger gaping hole on the roof that attributes to the longer healing process - (note there are some perios who use the superficial layer of the mucosa on the roof and some who use the tissue underneath and then flap the superficial mucosa back over - the latter is thought to have better results) - anyway - the graft site is still intermittently painful (no pain meds for me though) and it still has not dropped (thank God!) although this fourth graft now has a huge bulge from the previous 3 grafts that have molded into the bottom of my gum - I am still afraid to allow any food over there though - very annoying but worth it to save myself a repeat procedure - i'll keep you updated - I am not even sure this helps anyone

3/27/07: 17 day update: the roof of my mouth is about 96% healed - just a little more sensitive than the rest of my palate, but this could also be from the fact that I have used that as a donor site three times before; my graft site is all pink now, but still a bit hideous - good news is of course that it has not fallen - i just started brushing that tooth yesterday but I have been brushing and flossing around it since day one... I just started eating hard foods on that side yesterday too - (I am really dedicated to not getting this damn procedure over again) almost all my graft stitches are still in and visible but loose, I believe my cousin used super strong ones so that it would not drop again...

4times 4times
26-30, F
3 Responses Mar 14, 2007

this is gripping... I hope it takes! I can't imagine what repeating the procedure so many times would feel like. Our best wishes!

3/25/07 I had a gum graft 4 days ago on the 21st of March. I had skin removed from the upper palate and placed on the gum line. My four teeth bottom front had the roots exposed so this is where the skin was sewn in. I was sedated so I didnt know what was going on. I did not even know I had left the periodontist office. My husband brought me home and 4 hours later I woke up on the couch with a mouth full of blood. I had to change the packing in my gum area several times and about an hour later the intermitent bleeding had stopped. I was not reaally in pain however I have a high pain tolerance. I once ran a half marathon with a broken left foot. I had the grafting procedure done at 2 p.m. in the afternoon and I had not been allowed to eat all morning. I was famished. I had some melted icecream as that is the only thing I could put into my mouth. I took one pain pill to help me go to sleep that night and I slept all night long. In the morning I had some applesauce and a mashed up a boiled egg like egg salad. I fixed some mashed potatoes kind of runny like and ate those and then had a frosty from Wendys. Wow, icecream all the time. That soon gets old believe you me. I was starved for some meat. I opened a can of Tuna and mashed it up small and I ate that and so did my three cats who decided to help me. I was always of afraid of hurting the gum line when I ate and also when I brushed the teeth so I had to be very careful. I cannot even floss and I am a big flosser. My gum area looks white and grey but looks like it has adhered pretty good. Last night was actually day 3 and I was so hungry that I made a nice meatloaf and mashed that up and ate it. I had some more mashed potatoes with it and lots of gravy to soften it up. I also had a piece of soft cake with cream on it. I am not in pain.....That is good. Yesterday on day 3 I ran a 10k race which is 6.2 miles and finished 10th in my age group. The periodontist told me that if I felt up to it I could do it. He said that since I was in good shape and had been running for years he would allow it. I still feel the stitches in the front, but it seems like the stitches in the top of my mouth are mostly gone. Hopefully that part is healing but I cannot see it with a mirror so I dont know. The stitches do dissolve on their own usually at 7 days. I think gum grafting is a barbaric procedure but it is better than losing your teeth. The periodontist told me that anyone can get gum recession even if they are very careful with their teeth. I have always been to the dentist and I always floss but I still have gum recession. I am hoping and praying that I don't have to have a repeat of this. I am not so worried about the procedure as much as not eating. I am a runner, as I said before, and I have lost 3 pounds in 4 days and cannot afford to lose weight. This is great for those of you that want to lose weight.<br />
I go back to the periodontist Tuesday which will be my 6th day so I hope I get good news........I am going on a cruise the 20th April and I plan to visit every buffet. <br />
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If you have any questions for me just e-mail me.

This exact situation has happend to be, but i had multiple Bone graphs on top of it all. <br />
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