Gum Grafting Post-Op Instructions

Gum grafts can change color during healing. Both the graft and the donor site sometimes turn white, three to five days after the procedure. This is normal healing. Much like a sunburn, the surface tissue sloughs off and then regenerates. This happens with all grafts and does not represent an infection. 

A small wound covering (dressing) may have been placed at the site your gum graft was taken from. While this dressing is dissolvable, it will usually come out at some time after the procedure. This can even occur the same day as the procedure and is of little consequence. The dressing is used to halt bleeding during the procedure and is left to dissolve on its own. Should the dressing come out, simply discard it. The dressing is harmless if swallowed and a little bleeding will usually occur if it falls out. The bleeding usually stops on its own, but light pressure with moist gauze or a black tea bag can be applied if necessary.

The gum graft is held in place with very delicate sutures and takes 5-7 days to attach firmly. Repeated pulling back of the cheek, lip or tongue to look at the graft, can cause the graft to move during the first 5-7 days after surgery, which can cause the graft to fail. It is best if you leave the area alone and do not pull back your cheek, lips or tongue to see how it is healing.

If you have sutures in the roof of your mouth where the gum graft was taken from, they can start to unwind as healing progresses. When this happens, it is not a large concern but can become annoying as the sutures unwind. The loops in the suture that are unwinding or the areas that are hanging can be cut back with clean manicure scissors if you feel comfortable, or you can contact the office to have the sutures removed earlier than scheduled. This early loosening usually means things are healing well and the sutures are no longer necessary.