We have talked about soft tissue grafting in the past, but we haven't talked too much about what comes after the soft tissue grafting procedure. What does the recovery process look like? How long until your mouth feels normal again? Are there follow-up appointments?
Dr. Suzanne Caudry and her dream-team staff are here to answer these questions and more. We will go over what to expect in the immediate 24-hours following surgery, and more.
Questions? Comments? Sign off in the comment section below or contact us at (416) 928-3444 to speak to one of our knowledgeable team members.
Why We Get Gum Grafts
Periodontists recommend soft tissue grafts, also known as gum grafts, to patients whose gums have receded as a result of bacterial gum infections, such as gum disease, aggressive brushing, and braces, to name a few causes.
Are these the only people who inquire about gum graft procedures? No. There are also those who feel that their smiles have a naturally "toothy" look. Through gum graft procedures, they are able to achieve the perfect tooth-to-gum ratio.
Gum Grafts Solve Problems
As you can imagine, soft tissue grafting procedures have the ability to stop a lot of unwelcome issues in their tracks. They turn insufficient gum coverage into a thing of the past, thereby protecting the roots of each tooth and improving the overall appearance of the smile.
Gum Graft Success Rates
People hear mentions of tissue grafts or surgical procedures and they start to feel uneasy. Rest assured, those who have a clean bill of health and an adequate periodontist overseeing the procedure have nothing to worry about. Gum grafts are a safe, swift, and minimally invasive surgical procedure.
That said, the success of your gum graft procedure largely depends on how well you take care of your teeth and gums after you leave the clinic.
After Gum Graft Surgery
Professionals like Dr. Caudry can complete a typical gum graft surgery in as little as 90 minutes. After concluding the surgical procedure, you will likely need sutures, but even the suturing process is as simple as can be. Though you might not hear about gum grafts very often, Dr. Caudry and her team deal with them every day. Rest assured, you'll have nothing to worry about when you are under our team's care.
That said, the road to recovery does not end there. The post-surgical recovery period only begins the second you leave the facilities of Dr. Caudry or whoever your periodontist happens to be.
Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid
It is important to avoid foods that are difficult to chew in the days that follow your gum graft procedure. Excessive chewing and pieces of food have the potential to undo the work of your periodontist. If the sutures open, the graft might fail. In some cases, an individual may be at risk of infections, as well.
That said, there is no reason for any person to starve themselves after receiving a gum graft. There are many foods you can eat. In fact, there are many foods that will even speed up the recovery process.
If possible, introduce a variety of soft fruits to your diet. These can be incorporated into smoothies, eaten whole, or sliced for serving. You might not want to take big bites out of apples while the sutures are still in place. Hard fruits such as these have the potential to irritate the surgical site.
- And more
Soft fruits like these are high in antioxidants, vitamin K and vitamin C, making them the perfect fruits for those looking for food with restorative properties.
It is no secret that vegetables are rich in vitamins, but we can sometimes forget just how helpful they can be to those recovering from a surgery. Rich in magnesium, iron, calcium, and much-needed proteins, you should try to incorporate vegetables into every meal. That said, we also recommend that patients only consume steamed or roasted vegetables-the coarse, crunchy texture of uncooked vegetables may compromise the surgical site.
Soups and Smoothies
Many of these vegetables can be incorporated into delicious, nourishing soups or smoothies, as well. Make sure the soups are not too hot, as the temperature has the potential to upset the surgical area. As for smoothies, be sure to avoid using a straw. Using straws may lead to the dislodging of a blood clot in the surgical site.
Returning to Regular Diets
Don't worry, you don't need to limit your food intake to soups, smoothies, and soft foods for too long. In most cases, the recovery period lasts for about 14 days. After consulting with your periodontist during a follow-up examination, you should be able to return to eating the other foods you enjoy.
Additional Tips for Gum Graft Recovery
Like we always say, the recovery period is crucial to the success of the gum graft. Aside from a few manageable dietary restrictions, there are other things you can do to ensure success while also mitigating any discomfort you feel in the first few days.
- Stick to a cold-liquid diet for the first 24 hours
- Do not engage in intense exercise for the first seven days
- Apply a cold compress to the cheek for 30 minutes a day to minimize any swelling
- Drink eight glasses of water each day
- Take your prescribed pain medications to ease nausea or discomfort
- Elevate head with extra pillows during sleep to reduce bleeding
Learn More About Gum Grafts
At the end of the day, a gum graft's success depends on more than just the delicate hands of a periodontist. These soft tissue grafts need to heal after surgery. The post-operative stage might involve a few follow-ups with your periodontist, but much of the responsibility for proper oral care will fall on the patient themselves.
Do you have any helpful tips for people waiting for their grafts to heal? Do you have any experiences of your own you would like to share? Share your thoughts in the comments below!