What to do after your Gum Grafting Surgery

We have put together a list of post-operative instructions for those who have recently undergone gum grafting surgery or are looking to have it. In this guide, we outline what to do after surgery.

  1. Keep biting on the gauze immediately after surgery for 20-30 minutes to stop the bleeding. If bleeding persists place another gauze pad and bite down for an additional 30 minutes. However try to avoid continually changing the gauze as this will disturb the surgical site and may result in more bleeding.

  2. If treatment has been completed under sedation or you have taken anti-anxiolytic medication, a responsible adult will need to drive you home and accompany you for the rest of the day until you are fully recovered from the effects of the medication.

  3. If your lip, tongue or cheek is numb, please take care not to bite it.

  4. For the first evening’s sleep, rest your head on two pillows so that your head is slightly elevated. Cover the pillow in a towel to protect from staining if bleeding occurs overnight.

  5. Use of ice packs in the rest 24 first hours will reduce the chance of swelling. Place ice packs on for 30 minute intervals for a few hours.

  6. After 24 hours you may gently rinse with Savacol mouthwash (which is alcohol-free), or alternatively, with lukewarm salt water (1-2 teaspoons salt in a glass of warm water). This can be done up to 5 times a day (or every 4-5 hours).

  7. If excessive bleeding, pain, fever or severe swelling occurs in the days following your appointment please call us on (08) 9226 2135.

  8. Please ensure you have a post-operative appointment booked approximately 1 week following the surgery so your dental professional can assess the healing and remove the sutures.

What to expect?

  1. Swelling will occur and may involve the cheeks or even the entire face. This will gradually increase over the next few days before slowly subsiding.

  2. Bruising of the cheeks and face may occur. It will appear purple/blue, then turn yellow before disappearing.

  3. For pain relief, analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication can be prescribed by your dental professional. Certain medications will cause drowsiness and it is important not to drive or operate heavy machinery until fully recovered from the effects.

  4. Sutures are normally removed from the palate after 1 week and after 2-3 weeks from the operated areas.

What not to do?

  1. For the rest of the day following the surgery, do not eat or drink anything that is too hot or too hard. Maintain a soft food / liquid diet for a week and then slowly re-introduce hard foods as you feel more comfortable (eg. scrambled eggs, soup, and yoghurt).

  2. Do not rinse, spit or drink through a straw for at least 12 hours.

  3. If you have a denture to wear, do NOT place it in your mouth until advised by your dental professional.

  4. If you are a smoker, do NOT smoke for at least 48 hours following surgery as it may increase the risk of post-operative complications and result in delayed healing or worse. It is preferable to avoid smoking for 4 weeks.

  5. Avoid alcohol and strenuous physical activity for 24 hours or while you are on medication (if prescribed).

  6. Avoid brushing in the operated area for 3-4 weeks after surgery. Instead, gently rinse with Chlorhexidine twice daily (0.1%, 0.12% or 0.2%) to control plaque in that area.

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