Gingival Graft Surgery Complications And Aftercare For Healing

Gingival graft is often necessary to correct a dental problem or for cosmetic dental procedures. These are simple and predictable procedures that cover exposed areas of tooth root surface with oral tissues, preferably from the top of the mouth.

Cosmetic gum grafting or periodontal plastic surgery is usually the treatment for gum recession, aggressive brushing or trauma. These procedures are used to restore oral health and enhance the attractiveness of the gum line. Gingival grafts can be of different kinds like free gingival graft, subepithelial connective graft and acellular dermal matrix allograft.

Postoperative gingival graft complications are-

  • Pain.
  • Swelling.
  • Bleeding.
  • Sloughing of tissues.
  • Infection.
  • Uneven healing.

According to studies, smoking and long surgical procedures can increase the frequency and severity of certain post surgical complications of a gingival graft.

Any oral surgery leaves the gums and teeth hypersensitive and in some cases sore. You may experience discomfort once the anesthesia wears off, and anti-inflammatory drugs will be prescribed to reduce the possibility of post surgical swelling and pain.

Aftercare For Gum Graft Healing Process

To help with the healing process of gingival graft, a patient needs to take certain measures like-

  • Swelling – Apply an ice bag wrapped in a handkerchief over the operated area on the surface of the face to reduce swelling.
    Leave the ice bag on for 20 minutes and keep it off for 20 minutes. Alternate from side to side between operated areas.
  • Bleeding – slight bleeding is quite normal after a gingival graft. Do not spit or rinse your mouth repeatedly as this encourages bleeding. If there is bleeding in the mouth, rinse the mouth and wipe it with a Kleenex to locate the bleeding spot and then apply a tea bag with firm yet gentle pressure for around 15 to 20 minutes. After which, rest for 15 minutes and then repeat the process if bleeding persists. If there is excessive bleeding, please contact your dental hygienist.
  • Eating and drinking – it is not recommended that you eat till the anesthesia has worn off. Ensure your diet consists of high protein foods and liquids. Semi-solid and soft food like pasta, cereal, yoghurt, eggs, steamed vegetables and casseroles are advised. Avoid spicy, salty, very hot or too cold, acidic foods and liquids.
  • Oral hygiene – oral hygiene and brushing should be done normally except in the operative areas. Use a soft bristled brush and gently brush the affected area. Do not floss in the operated areas for the first three weeks post surgery. Also do not use any undiluted mouthwash, salt or hydrogen peroxide rinses for at least 2 weeks following surgery.

It is also recommended that you do not smoke or drink alcohol post surgery.

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