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Recovering After a Soft Tissue Graft

Posted on 2/20/2017 by Doctor Haigney
A woman in pain after a soft tissue graft.
Gum recession is often the result of gum disease. When your gums recede, the roots of your teeth become exposed, leaving them vulnerable to sensitivity. You are at a higher risk of tooth decay because of the added surface area exposed. And you even risk your teeth falling out.

After treating gum disease, a soft tissue graft is usually recommended. This procedure restores your gums to a normal, aesthetically pleasing, healthy state. There is some recovery involved.

Types of Soft Tissue Graft

There are three main types of soft tissue grafts:

•  Connective-tissue grafts take tissue from under a flap made at the roof of your mouth.
•  Free gingival grafts take the tissue directly from the roof of your mouth.
•  Pedicle grafts use surrounding gum tissue.

Dealing with Pain and Swelling

As with any surgical procedure, some pain and swelling is to be expected. Connective-tissue and free gingival grafts have two surgical sites, but there is less pain associated with the former. Over the counter pain medication can be used to manage pain.

You may also be prescribed stronger pain medication in case you need it. If you are prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection, take those as directed.

During the first 24 hours, you can apply ice wrapped in a towel to the cheek adjacent to the surgical site. Alternate 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off as often as you feel necessary to help limit swelling.

Limit Activity
Rest is key to healing. During the first 24 hours, try not to do much of anything. Sit or lie down with your head elevated. Don't lift anything heavy or bend over. And don't do any strenuous activities. Doing so will only increase bleeding, aggravate swelling and cause more pain.

Eat Well
Eating a diet of nutritious foods will help to aid in a speedy, successful recovery. However, the types of food you eat are important. Hard, crunchy foods can irritate the surgical site, as can foods that are hot, spicy, salty or acidic.

For the first few days, stick to soft foods, such as yogurt, soups, and soft cooked vegetables. And, in an effort to stay healthy, avoid smoking, as it can greatly slow your healing and raise your risk for infection.

Soft tissue grafts can give you back your smile and your oral health. But there is some recovery involved. Following your dentist's instructions will help to ensure a smooth, successful healing, but you should always contact our office if you have any concerns.

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9727 Northcross Center Ct
Huntersville, NC 28078
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