FIRST Time...... and Last Time


I was not prepared for this.  I am writing about my experience because I think that many of us were just not given the full picture of how difficult this procedure can be. It has been very difficult for me.

For those of you who have written about how easy it was for you, I am happy.  For those of you who, like me, will never have it done again, I am in full understanding.

Here is what happened to me.  I had to have 4 upper front teeth grafted due to recession.  They were very sensitive to hot and cold and I could feel pain to what seemed the very end of the roots of those teeth.  Cosmetically you could not see the recession when I smiled but I knew that my roots were exposed and time would make it worse. I knew I would lose those teeth.

My Dad had lost all his upper teeth in his 50's and I feared having dentures.  I just hated the thought so I decided to think positively and have the grafting done.  Below I will list Day 1 through Day 4

Day 1

Appointment at 9:30 am.  It was to be a two and a half hour appointment for a bite adjustment and then the gum graft.  I arrived and told the dentist that I was extremely nervous and he told me that a woman who had had the same procedure the day before had just spoken to him and she was out playing golf. Wow I thought this will be easy!!!

The needles were tough.  I've had needles dozens of times in my mouth but when you have to numb your palate it feels like someone is sticking a knife into a bone.  I cringed, held onto my chair arms and remained stoic.  It hurt like the devil and I was glad when it was over.  However, the worse was yet to come.

If you can get knocked out.....demand it!  Being awake for those two hours while I felt him cutting, and pushing and pulling and seeing the thread going in and out of your mouth can make a grown woman cry.  I did not cry but I tried to visualize myself on a warm sandy beach and tried to keep my eyes closed.  I was really scared when I felt him taking flesh out of two sides of my palate. I was imaging the whole thing and I did not like it for one moment. When it was all over I felt like a truck had driven through my mouth.  I was sent home with a palate guard and a prescription for Ketoprofen if I needed it for pain.   Nothing was mentioned about antibiotics or using ice for swelling.   It seemed like the post op would be easy and I was just glad to get the heck out of the office.

Day 2

Woke up in the middle of the night and my face looked like Planet of the Apes.  My upper lip was so swollen that it looked like I was in a Bad Botox commercial.  My cheeks were twice as large as normal and my mouth felt like it was on fire.   I called the doctor at home, woke him up and told him that one of my eyes were closed. He said "sounds like you have an infection".  He told me to come in and let him have a look.   My husband drove me in while I cried all the way.  "Why did I do this?" , "Why me?".   I was starting a new job in a few days and I knew that it was not going to happen with my face and eye like this.  I think I scared the crap out of the nurse and the doctor.  I had come in a few days ago looking like an attractive older woman and now before them was a swollen ape.

The doctor looked and told me the graft looked good and that he could see no signs of infection but there must be one up inside my graft.  He assured me that all would be okay and that with amoxicillin taken right away things would improve.  I left the office again in tears and my husband drove me home.

Day 3

Taking amoxicillin 3 times a day, even 4 times now as I get up during the night to make sure it stays in my system.  My eye is open and I still look like an ape so I will not go to work until next week (hopefully).  I am not in a great deal of pain.   I will not go out in public as I feel so ugly.  I feel just awful.

Day 4

Face is still "chipmunk like".... the gorilla that faced me in the mirror has left but swelling continues.  Upper lip is rock hard and swollen and I feel like the graft is too thick.  It is purple, red and bubbled up looking.  I hate looking at it.  My palate does not hurt today, the sutures are falling out and it feels almost normal already.

The doctor called me today.  I asked him why he does not suggest antibiotics before surgery.  I asked him why he did not tell me to ice up the first night.  I ask him a lot of questions about "why "?   He says antibiotics are not necessary with this procedure.  He says icing does not prevent infections.  

Today Day 5, I know what bothers me the most is my vanity.  I am ugly, I have a swollen face, my upper lip looks like I had a very bad botox injection and I hate being isolated inside my home eating ice cream and yogurt.  I also hate feeling so sorry for myself for it was I who chose to do this.  It was I who did not research the post op problems until after the surgery.   It was I who shelled out a huge amount of money for something that has made me miserable, sick and angry.

My only hope is in reading some of your stories.  I have read where you feel differently after a few weeks or a few months.

I hope I can not be so sad when I add a post script in a week or two.  Good luck to all of you that just had this done.  I hope your graft is successful.  I cannot imagine having it "fail" and I have nightmares about having to go through this again.

Thank you for all of the information that I learned here.  Sorry I did not find it sooner.




MaryJo MaryJo
61-65, F
1 Response Jun 30, 2007

It is now Day 10 of this ordeal. My first visit back went okay. The nurse nor the doctor did much in the way of asking how my last awful days of swelling and misery were. This office is very sterile, one receptionist and one she is also the assistant. I do not like feeling so unwelcome or uncared about. If I ever do this again it will be with a periodontist that seems to be a little more personal and who has a staff that at least makes you feel like they feel sorry for you. He says that all looks good, that one tooth is 98% and the other 3 afre 100%. What does that mean??? I listen but do not understand really. The graft looks swollen as I put my tongue up to touch it. It still makes my upper lip protrude. You know those cylinder like cotton rolls that dentists put in your lower cheek when you are having cavities filled....? well it feels like one is still up there. Now my palate which did not hurt so much the first week is aching, burning and making me miserable. I am still continuing on with amoxicillin and the pain killer (I took the last pain pill) today. At nite my teeth just ache. I am sure it is from all the nerves that were cut and are healing. The graft feels like it is "pulling" and my husband says that it means it is healing. So now my palate is burning, my teeth are aching and my upper lip is still slightly swollen. I did not get black and blue or green or yellow as some of you did, the swelling was bad enough so I am glad I do not have to deal with the bruising. I am tired of being hungry and not being able to use my front teeth. Even my 4th of July hamburger had to be cut in one inch pieces and placed in the back of my mouth as I dare not bite down. The graft looks pink and red.... there is a tiny piece of white area but he says it will be fine. He was very stand offish about my honesty in telling him the last week was a "nightmare" and that I never made it into work at all last week or this. I guess he feels funny telling me it would be a "easy" procedure and that I would need a day or two to feel able to work. <br />
<br />
I appreciate reading of your stories, and I hope mine helps too. I do not want to scare anyone....I am just being as truthful as I can be. I am not afraid of surgery. I have had serious back surgery, a hysterectomy, a tubal ligation and two pregnancies and deliveries.<br />
This was not supposed to be difficult but it was and it is. No one likes pain, not everyone tolerates pain very well. My threshold is probably lower than most but when I say this week has made me miserable and that I still feel sore, I am just being open to the truth I can offer those of you who are searching for different people's experiences. Am I afraid to have it done again? Yes. Will I ever finish the two other areas I need to have done?? I am not sure today.<br />
This web site is a blessing for a lot of you who need to compare what you are going through and what we are going through. It also will help others gain a full and complete understanding that THIS IS SURGERY.<br />
Do not for one minute think it is like having a root canal or a tooth pulled.<br />
It is not the same. I hope to add to this in 2 weeks when I see my dentist again.