What is Surgery for Gum Recession Like?

By Dave / May 31, 2007

Recently, I had surgery for a receded gumline on tooth number 28. Just beyond the right-bottom K-9.

This is how it went:

I rolled into the office 4 minutes before 8:00 am. They told me they were ready for me and sat me in a chair.

Then the assistant told me that the Dr. just arrived in the parking lot.

Hmm, that could mean that he is really confident or not competent

Since I have worked with him before, I decided that he is really confident and competent, so I didn’t sweat this at all.

As a side note, if you are going to get any gum type surgery done, use the services of a periodontist. They know the most about gum tissue. Other types of dentists may not have the same level of expertise.

(gum disease – see why do my gums bleed as a reference- and to find out what I did to stop my gums from bleeding)

Then they said a few pleasant words and got down to business.

First, they numbed specific areas of my mouth with a drug called Articaine.

I’ve always been highly tolerant of needles in the mouth, so the little pricks didn’t bother me much.

I was surprised at how quickly the areas numbed. They only waited about 5 minutes.

Since the doctor wore glasses I could see what he was doing via the reflection. I decided to close my eyes. I figured it was going to get bloody and even though I’m not particularly squeamish about the blood of others, I’m not that keen on seeing my own blood.

Besides, it would make me imagine what was going on and I didn’t really want to flinch while the doctor was working.

They used gauze and a suction device and they were very skillful to the point that I didn’t detect a single drop of blood hit the back of my throat.

There were two areas that needed to be numbed, one was on the roof of my mouth. This is where the donor tissue came from. The other was on the labial area of tooth # 28. (labial = lip side as opposed to the lingual or tongue side of the tooth)

The idea of the surgery was to replace tissue lost to gum disease and/ or brushing too hard before I became cognizant on how to fight the horrid and silent epidemic that can rob a person of his teeth (and gum tissue) or before I started brushing more gently.

The doctor used some stitches on the tooth # 28 area that will not dissolve.

He also used dissolvable stitches on the roof of my mouth along with a dissolvable gauze that will go away within about 4 days.

I will go back for my first post-op exam one week after the surgery. The doctor will determine if the stitches should come out at that time or later.

Since home care on the gums and teeth should be done daily, but it is not possible to do that in the area involving the surgery for a few days, I was given a prescription for a Chlorhexidine rinse to kill the bacteria that can produce gum disease.

I was also given a systemic (taken internally) antibiotic – Doxycycline 100 mg to be taken every 12 hours to prevent infection.

I was given some ice-packs to apply right after the surgery. I continued to ice 5-15 minutes on and 5 minutes off until about 3 in the afternoon. Then I stopped.

After stopping at the local pharmacy to get my prescriptions filled, I went to work after the surgery. I slept from the time I got home from work until the next morning.

I was also given a prescription for some pain killers. I did not take the pain killers. I did not feel that I was in enough pain to warrant their use.

So, all in all, considering I went to work the same morning plus I didn’t use the pain killers, you can imagine that this is a very minor surgery.

If the gum graph takes I will be absolutely delighted. It is good to have a nice layer of gum tissue to help prevent the further spread of any gum disease and to protect my tooth better.

Protect and nurture your gum tissue and you will never need a surgery like this one. If it is too late for that and you do need surgery, then know that if I could go to work right after, it wasn’t too bad.

Of course, more advanced problems may require insertion of bone matrix or some other similar techniques which might require more recovery time. My boss had something like that done and it didn’t seem to keep her from work for very long either. Your periodontist can tell you what you may need.

As I mentioned before, when it comes to gum tissue, you will get the best treatment and best care from a periodontist – in my opinion.

There you have it, my gum surgery in a nutshell.

Any questions? : Ask Dave a Question


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