Gum Grafting ~ really not all that bad I swear!!

There I am sitting in the dentists chair when he looks into my mouth and says oh, um, hmmmm. Just the tone in his voice made me worry. Now, mind you I have known my dentist for close to 20 years so I know him pretty well and we do joke around. I knew this was NOT one of his joking hmmmms. He tells me I need to have a gum graft. He says it looks like it will be needed on the upper right area and lower bottom. He explains it to me slightly because he doesn't want to freak me out. Sorry!! Too late for that. I go home and immediately start scouring the web to find anything and everything I can on this. Anything and everything that I can find is totally horrifying. I mean that in the nicest of ways too. Ha ha It says that it feels as if you burned your mouth from taking a bite of pizza and the cheese was too hot. Ummm.. gee last time I remember that was not fun. I didn't enjoy that at all. Still trying to be calm.

I made the appointment. Well, truthfully I made the appt with one periodontist and he was a complete ass. His name is Dr. Jack Wasserstein. YOU DON'T WANT TO GO TO HIM. Luckily I found another great doctor. His name is Dr. Moshe Benaroch. He is an excellent doctor. Great office staff and great doctor. No complaints at all.

The night before surgery I am suppose to take a pill. This is suppose to relax me. OK.. that is an understatement. I took the pill and after a few minutes I decide I am going to go to bed. I get up from the table and I just about fall over! I was so surprised. I didn't even think about the pill yet. I was like what is going on?? I started to walk towards my bedroom and I had to grab for the walls. I bet you didn't think walls were so important, but they are!! I was so glad they were there... I had to hold onto them so I could walk to my room!!! I made into the bathroom to go pee. I bed you never thought the toilet was low either, eh? You don't think about these things until something like this happens. I thought I was falling down...and I mean down. Thank GOD for walls! I caught myself.. or shall I say the toilet caught me. So my mom hears this and comes running in to see if I am ok. By the time she gets to me, she is out of breath, because as you know she wears oxygen and she had the shorter tubing on, and she took it off to get to me. So here she is, out a breath and wanting to see if I am ok and laughing, ok hysterically laughing at me. I asked her what was she going to do. She said she wanted to make sure that if I fell she was there. I said it is not like she could pick my fat ass up or anything. She said she would call someone!! NICE. So I compose myself and say that I am just fine. I tell her how she is not nice. I take care of her and help her and here I am in a situation and actually need help and all she can do is come and laugh her ass off at me. NICE!! However, what she doesn't know is I am thinking that thank goodness she doesn't think like me, because I so would have grabbed the camera already. LOL I made it into bed. However it was hard. I didn't realize how high my bed was. Damn, what was I thinking when I wanted a high bed?! I basically crawled into it. I was out like a light.

The next morning I had to take another one of the infamous pills. Needless to say I needed someone to drive me to my appt. I knew after what happened to me the night before there was no way in hell I would be able to drive. I was already told ahead of time that I would need someone to drive me but this cinched it! It was pretty funny to see me, I guess. You know how you think you are fine, but to everyone else, I guess you are not. LOL I was told that I "stumbled" into my doctors office. ;) Gotta love them drugs. I need to see if I can get a prescription for them bad boys!! Kidding... ok... maybe just a little. ha ha

Then they gave me yet another one right before they were going to start. I am telling you these things are good stuff and yet no side effects!! Because I am somewhat of the nervous type and aren't really thrilled with dentists I asked them to talk me through this. I know, strange. I asked him to basically tell me what he was going to do before he did so I wouldn't freak out. He agreed but reminded me I would pretty much be out of it. That was fine with me but I still wanted to know in case I was awake and aware. :)

Lower gums prior to surgery

Lower gums prior to surgery

The first thing I felt were the shots of course. Truthfully I think that was the worse of it. Ok...maybe that is all that I can remember. Ha ha There I am in the chair trying to relax, that is if that is even possible to do in a dentists chair. I am listening to my favorite type of music (country baby!!) and I have a good looking doctor on one side and an asst on the other side. The next thing I know is that I hear the doctor telling the other asst. to look at a part of my mouth so that she can see what this looks like. So of course that perks me right up and I am like "I want to see". Both of the assts. are like what? The doctor even asked me, what? I said I want to see. He said you are just going to see your gums but they will be raw, I have already removed the bad area. I said I know, they are my gums, I would like to see, please. He instructed them to get me a mirror and then I was able to see. It was amazing! I got to see both the upper and lower areas where he had removed the tissue already. I know it may sound strange but it was interesting. I had wanted to see the roof of my mouth where he had taken the tissue from but I guess I missed that opportunity, dang it!! Although this is after being sewn up and with the dressing this is the next best thing...
Lower gums right after surgery-you can see the dressing still

Upper right area that was done
You can see that I have the retainer on that I had to wear

Roof of my mouth where the tissue was taken from. He took the tissue from the roof of my mouth and it was put on the lower gums and the upper right area.

The retainer that I had to wear 24/7 until I was healed. This SAVED me. It was very thin, so it was comfortable but it did save me, no doubt about that!

I guess I was talking alot while I was under and while they were doing the surgery. I don't really remember much except for asking to see my gums. LOL They said I kept making jokes. I must have felt pretty good.

After I arrived home, I made sure I took some pain meds and decided to lay down. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the surgery went and the recovery. I had been really nervous and worried about the recovery and the pain. I had some pain with the lower gum area but not too bad. The roof of my mouth, I really couldn't complain about, I mean I have had much worse pain than that before.

I basically had to have liquids, which meant smoothies, and milk shakes. I wasn't able to brush my teeth (gross!!), or spit or suck. I was only able to dip a cotton swab into mouthwash and gently wash the teeth. OMG!! Talk about feeling like my teeth were filthy. I don't know how people go without brushing their teeth. YUCK!! I was so excited when I was able to start brushing and flossing. Woo-hoo!! I tell you it is the little things in life that you appreciate. It was also a little over a week and I was able to start eating some soft foods, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, boneless chicken breast. It didn't bother me much until almost a week after surgery and all of a sudden I was craving FOOD. You know something with a crunch! Something that wasn't just going to slide down! Amazing how you take things for granted.


  1. Ouch. Those pics look painful!! A very dear friend of mine has to have that done and I'm not telling her about your blog until after she gets it done, LOL!!
    Be well,

  2. As you all know, there are two sides to every story, and since Tammy has chosen to defame me I am compelled to present the other side of this story.

    Tammy originally had surgery scheduled in our office. She was going to have a gum grafting procedure. However, we were going to use Alloderm dermal matrix tissue instead of harvesting the tissue from the roof of her mouth. Alloderm is donor skin which has been processed to remove all of the cells leaving only the connective tissue.

    Our office made a mistake because we didnt order the tissue, it was an oversight and definitely our fault. Tammy was upset over our mistake. We apologized and told her we would waive her anesthesia fees, a $500.00 concession. Tammy accepted our apology and rescheduled the procedure. Its also noteworthy that I offered to do her procedure with her own tissue at that time so she would not have to reschedule. But I recommended that she reschedule and use the Alloderm. Tammy agreed and we ordered the tissue right at that time, in her presence, so the mistake would not be repeated.

    Although the tissue arrived the next day, A few days after that Tammy cancelled her appointment and did not want to reschedule with our office. Tammy had a credit on her account, it was used for the purchase of the tissue. We were not able to return the tissue because it is a human product. We offered to give the tissue to her to take to her next office or we would consign the tissue for her. At that time, we did not stock Alloderm. Ultimately she did receive a full refund.

    Here is the same procedure, we performed recently, and had treatment planned for Tammy,


    This procedure would not have resulted in the postoperative discomfort that she had as a result of taking the tissue from the roof of her mouth. The procedure we were planning would have had a much more cosmetic result since the tissue would have been placed underneath her existing tissue, instead of the "tire patches" that she ended up with. lastly the procedure that she did have did nothing to protect her from future recession of her adjacent teeth which also have a very thin zone of gingiva. This could result in extra cost and extra surgery that would not have been necessary.

    I take full responsibility for not having the tissue available at Tammy's initial surgery appointment. But I did what I could to make up for that mistake, by Apologizing and offering her a $500.00 discount from her surgery. I regret that Tammy chose the path that she did. I am sure she paid a comparable amount and ended up with a lot more discomfort and less grafting and a less cosmetic result than she should have had