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Frenectomy and Gum Graft

I was referred to an oral surgeon by my dentist.  My two front lower gums were receeding.  One gum has been that way for about 15-20 years and the other just started about 6 months ago. 

About 20 years ago, I had all 4 wisdom teeth removed and in the process had some nerve damage on one side.  I cannot feel much of my gums, lip, or chin area on my right side.  Shortly afterward, I started to get the one front lower gum recession.  In retrospect, it was probably because I couldn't feel how hard I was brushing.  I also was told that grinding your teeth at night (bruxism) can cause gum recession.  I don't know if I believe this, but I grind pretty loudly at night from what I'm told.  However, I don't believe it.  hehehe

At my last dental cleaning, the dentist said that the ligament just under my two front lower gums was much higher than it was supposed to be.  So everytime I chew or talk the ligament was pulling the gums down.  I started to feel it pulling a couple years ago, but didn't think anything of it. 

The oral surgeon scheduled me for the day before Thanksgiving 2006.  I cancelled because I liked turkey and mash potatoes too much.  I rescheduled for August 29, 2007 finally after procrastinating and worrying.  My live-in boyfriend of 15 years vehemently was against it.  He thought I was going to have a speech impediment or something if I had it done.  I told him that either I was going to get this done, or I would look like a Halloween pumpkin when I lose them two teeth.  Then I would have to deal with dentures.  No way, I have a gag reflex.  I want my teeth SAVED.

I scheduled it, and got it done without telling him.  My oral surgeon has a great "bedside" manner.  Before my consultation, I researched the frenectomy and gum graft procedures on the internet.  At my consultation, she asked me if I had any questions.  I just told her I researched it.  She said, "well what did you find out"?  I told her and she said, "that is the exact thing that is involved".  I do my research.  As a matter of fact, I over-research.  She asked me if I had any other questions.  I said, "no, let's get this over with".

I am a big time fraidy cat when it comes to this stuff.  Big time weak in the knees if you start talking about medical procedures and needles.   But I was in a horrible car accident the week before.  I got t-boned when some idiot ran a red light (he had no insurance and an improper plate).  I was sent to emergency.  It was my first time in the hospital as a patient.  I suffered bruising (internal and external mostly due to the lap belt).  But my dream car was gone forever.  I just bought it in January.  If I could go through THAT, I certainly can go through this oral surgery.  BRING IT ON!

She said she would prescribe a valium only if I had a ride home (I didn't).  So the day arrives and I secretly take a valium from a very old prescription before I walked in.  The procedure took only an hour.  She gave me the novacaine before and AFTER she was finished.  And then I drove home.  The end.  No, just kidding.

I've been eating mash potatoes, ice cream, pudding, yogurt, soup, and SlimFast (TM).  Not bad, but it's been seven days since the surgery, and I'm ready to fry my little dog Bubbles in a pan and eat her.  I want a hamburger, french fries, bagel and cream cheese, chicken, corn chips and salsa, jalapenos, spicy anything  AAAAHHHHH!!!!  

My oral surgeon said that the seventh day might be a problem.  I didn't ask her why.  I just thought that on the seventh day, I would start healing and neurotically rub my tongue on the stitches and stuff.  No big deal.  And in seven days like clockwork, I am getting shooting pain from the host site on my upper palate.  Very hard to eat anything even soft stuff.  But fortunately, no tongue rubbing on the stitches. 

In the seven days so far, I've had absolutely no bleeding and relatively little pain.  I didn't have the gum/wax thing covering any stitches that some of the people's stories I've read here.  I didn't use any gauze or packing.  I used the stent (the mold to go over your top teeth) only the first day/night and the second night.  I never used it during the day (even though she said I had to).   She didn't prescribe any antibiotics.  I only had a script for Ibuprofen 800mg 3 times a day, and that Peridex rinse twice each day. She said no smoking.  I lasted only 10 hours smoke-free.  What a perfect time for me to quit and I blew it!  Between this surgery, the car accident, and everything else that's f$cked up in my life, I couldn't do it.  Oh well, may next time, eh? 

The surgeon called the next day to see how I was doing and to remind me not to smoke.  She said, "those stitches are mine and you're only borrowing them from me, so you better take care of them because I want them back."  So funny.  I was standing there listening to her leaving that message and I didn't pick up.  I felt so guilty and stessed that I lit up a cig right then.  Pathetic, huh?

The upper palate seems to be healing quite well.  At the sixth day, I started washing my mouth out with warm salt water after eating.  No swishing, just letting it sit there in my mouth a while.  One of them old lady remedies, I suppose.  Hey, it works.

The graft area still looks white, but I can see it getting better each day.  I get my stitches out September 10.  A lucky 13 days after the surgery.  I can't wait for that.  From my experience, that's usually worse than the surgery.

Thank god I found this site AFTER I had all this done.  The horror stories make me shiver.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

Update:  One the 9th day I didn't need anymore painkillers.  On the 10th day, I had some french fries.  I also realized the white part on my graft is over teeth, so that will probably just sludge right off. 

Day 10:  The white part and 2 stitches came off/out and revealed the end result.  The gum was nice and thick, but it looked too low on the teeth.  I called the surgeon.  She asked me if I was smoking.  I said yes.  She said that there was nothing we could do right now, we'll have to wait until Monday (3 days away).  This is the day I'm supposed to get the stitches out.  I went to this party on day 10.  I was shoving food into the back of my mouth, I was so hungry.  My first time eating meat in 10 days. 

Day 13:  Had my stitches out, and the surgeon said it looks beautiful.  The gum will flatten a bit and raise up along the bottom of the tooth.  Without my stitches, I can eat nearly anything I want now.  The two lower teeth are still somewhat sensitive, so I have to wait a little longer to bite into apples and stuff. 

Day 19:  I probably could bite into an apple, but I really don't eat apples.  Maybe I'll try corn on the cob. 

 6 months later:  Well, I still have recession.  The graft didn't flatten and raise up like she said it would.  Yet.  My doctor said wait 3 more months and she will look at it again.  I'm not happy.  I think I will probably have to have another one.  At least this time they won't take the graft from the roof of my mouth.  They will take excess from where it was already done.  She better not charge me either.

1 year later:  I'm going in again next week to get the blob of skin pulled up to fix the originally recession.  They are not charging me.  However, I have more recession on both my lower canines.  I think I will talk her into the frenectomy for that and hold off on the graft.  There is an old expression when someone gets old they get "long in the tooth".  I guess they're right.  I never knew what that meant until now.

ziggrl ziggrl 46-50, F 9 Responses Sep 4, 2007

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hey I just had my frenectomy today on the lower and I have to wait 2 months to heal before they will do the gum graft? and I have to go back in 2 weeks to make sure everything is looking good. did they do your frenectomy and gum graft on the same day? I opted for tissue from the tissue bank though for the gum graft so I am not healing in all different areas, felt a little creepy about that at first and of course i have two months to change my mind? soo..... hope everything worked out for your the second go around!

I'm on day 5 of my gum graft. No antibiotics. The roof of my mouth looks like it has white patches. What is this and is it normal? The bottom looks weird. It still looks red and swollen. Is that normal? There are also pieces of brown skin maybe? I'm a little worried about infection...but does this all sound normal for day 5??? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! I have nearly NO pain anymore, so that makes me think it's probably not infected. Thanks!!!

No it doesn't look worse. It looks better. It's supposed to last a lifetime unless you brush real hard there all the time.



The little portion of the graph came off, but she took the existing gum afterward and lifted it with some stitches.

So it looks worst now?how long did doc say the graft could last?

The cost was about $800 per tooth.



The doctor said not to smoke because the smoke prevents healing. The blood needs to get into the gums to heal and smoke prevents that. I smoked the whole time. I don't think that the graft fell off because of smoking. It fell out while I was rinsing with mouthwash.

How much were y'all s gum grafts

How much were y'all s gum grafts

Did they say it didn't work right because you smoked? I just had it done a couple of days ago and I want a cigarette so bad. Too much crap going on.

Sounds like the procedure went as well as it could have. I am sorry about your car though :-.