Two And Half Weeks Later And Still Recovering

I had no idea it was going to be this bad. No idea... I feel like an idiot now because I was soooo clueless about this procedure. In my defense, my dentist never forewarned me either! So, here goes...

Two and half weeks ago, I had a gum graft and an implant procedure (both at the the same time) on the upper left-side of my mouth. Both were a result of trauma to this area when I was a child (a long story that's not very interesting). 

The procedure took about an hour and half and wasn't too painful thanks to the local anethestic.  I had expected a bit of swelling and pain, but thought I would be back in action within a day or two---how wrong I was!  I had my procedure on a Friday and ended up staying at home and taking sick leave for an entire week to recover.

First of all, the pain... the dentist prescribed 600 mg of ibuprophen to be taken 3x a day for the 3 days following the surgery.  What I really should have had was a week's supply of Tylenol with Codeine. I was in a lot of pain, especially at night. I woke up in the night several times because of the searing pain and the blood pooling in my mouth. I tried to prop my head up but this didn't seem to work either.  (Note: if you ever have this procedure, get good drugs and lots of them, and make sure you place an old towel around your pillow case to avoid soiling your sheets).

Secondly, in addition to the searing pain, the entire left side of my face swelled up for over a week (it's still a bit swollen now after two and a half weeks!).  I could not use the left side of my mouth because it was so swollen.  So, I could not speak or eat properly. I could only eat soup or smoothies through a straw or small spoon as my mouth would not open and I could not chew anything.  This went on for about a week and then I was able to graduate to 'adult' foods again, albeit I still avoid chewing on the left side since I have a huge welt on the roof of my mouth and any sort of 'crunchy' food irritates it.

In addition to the swelling, the left side of my face turned various shades of blue, green and yellow. I had a black eye and a bruised chin and cheek. I looked like someone 'clocked' me a few times.  It took two full weeks for the bruising to go away...

So, here I am two and half weeks later, I still have a swollen 'bubble' on the roof of my mouth that has turned black from the pooled blood.  I still have swelling in my upper left lip and alongside my nose.  And it doesn't look like the gum graft worked too well since I have a HOLE (read: NO GUM TISSUE) between my implanted tooth and the tooth next to it.  The gum tissue is still swollen up and thick above the other teeth, but it has receeded away from the area in which it was supposed to address.

The dentist says he never seen anything like this so I am hoping that I am just an exception.  He does not have any explanation for the swelling, but assures me that my mouth is not infected and that it will heal. But also said that we will have to talk about how to resolve the HOLE in my gum tissue in another few months... not really looking forward to that discussion!

So, anyway, my advice is as follows:

-When and if you have a gum graft, do not assume that you will be able to socialize, exercise, work or do much of anything for 5-7 days.  Get a bunch of magazines, books, DVD's, etc and become a couch potato.

-Make sure your dentist/perio/doctor, gives you some good painkillers and not some wimpy ibuprophen-- get at least 5 days worth.

-Have soup and all smoothie ingredients on hand-- you will be eating only soup and smoothies for a week.  The only real benefit of this is the weight loss associated with a liquid diet...

-Place a spitoon (spit cup) or trash bag next to you at all times so that you can spew out blood from your mouth periodically-- it will pool up at night and get all over the place....

-Put an old towel under your head when you sleep at night for aforementioned bloody mess...

-If you decide you need to leave the house, prepare to go out in cognito, with large shades, baseball cap, scarf and (for women) heavy foundation to coverup the bruising... this should suffice for trips to the store when you run out of soup and smoothie supplies.

Cricket Cricket
31-35, F
4 Responses Dec 4, 2006

THIS IS THE MOST TRUEST AND MOST FACTUAL RELATING EVENT THAT I CAN RELATE TO. I had my graft done 7 days ago. I am on 2 extra strength tylenol PLUS 1 extra strength ibuprofin and it is not even touching the pain. The one and only thing that does not completely sting me burn me to death is pudding. The blood clots have been enormous and they pop when I am sleeping and when I wake up in the morning it looks like I was in a battle. The blood does not stop oozing after the clot breaks and no tea bag and no gauze will stop it. Today is the very first day of no blood. My teeth are all stained and look just like a yellow brown rusty nail. I can not stay hydrated as even drinking water is stinging me. I know now the true meaning of pain. I have had 2 children other surgeries and NOTHING compares to this pain. I can not talk, blink or breathe at times. My jaw feels so sore and my tongue is still numb. I dont know how people are healing so quikily as I am a very healthy active person and the pain and swelling and blood are something that I had no clue about.

i need a gum graft. i assumed it would be a piece of cake, but apparently i'm mistaken. this is awful. i'll assume that you are well now. thanks for all the advice, too.

I know what you mean about leaving the house is hiding. I skipped several aisles at the store today to hide my huge chin. To top off the pain and swelling, I got a cold the day after my surgery. I feel like am going to die.

so sorry - i feel your pain - you can read my posting above - i have had this thing in the same spot 4 times - i hope the next experience is better for you and i truly hope you are doing better - you clearly suffered a great deal