Friday, May 27, 2011

Gum Graft Experience - Day 2 to 6

Day 2

I had my alarm clock accidentally set for 6:30am in the morning so I woke up approximately 4 hours after I had gone to bed. This was a pretty good error because I took another Tylenol 3 and went back to bed.

When I woke up around noon (oops), I was feeling pretty good. There's no bloody drool on my pillow, but I do remember accidentally touching my face last night because I remember that it hurt when I touched it. I looked in the mirror and my face has no bruise but it feels bruised and it's a little bit puffy.

Also, it was time to brush my teeth again. So I took my Tylenol with a sip of Ensure and iced my face. The icing felt good. Then I went to take a shower so that I'd have some time for the Tylenol to kick in.

How it looks
I did the same thing as the evening with the brushing and all went well. I noticed that the graft doesn't look the same today. Yesterday, right after the surgery, it was an oval white blob sewn in. Last night, it was a whitish, irregular patch that extended up to my gum line. This morning, it's a bit less obvious where the edges end and it looks bloodier around the edges, but it's not bleeding. I have no idea what the roof of my mouth looks like and I'm afraid to look :P

Irregardless, the roof of my mouth doesn't hurt. It really is a blessing to have a retainer there to prevent my tongue from touching it.

Late afternoon
I haven't taken a Tylenol since the morning and I feel just fine. I'm quite alert, watching TV, drinking soup, and my face doesn't need anything other than an occasional icing. I don't particularly need it, it just feels nice once in a while when my face gets warm.

The cookie milkshake was good enough for a round two. This time I used TWO cookies (non-peanut kind) and added just enough milk to cover the cookies. Then I microwaved the concoction until the cookies had melted down and added cold milk to cool the whole thing down. Stir and enjoy! It was pretty scrumptious.

Later afternoon
I think this is a by-product of healing, but it feels itchy on my gum graft area. I'm taking a Tylenol just in case this itching grows into something more irritating, and I think I'll brush my teeth soon after eating dinner in case the itching is caused by any kind of infection or irritation to the gums from food.

Day 3

I switched to regular extra strength Tylenol instead of the Tylenol 3 with codeine because the T3 has side effects I want to avoid. I also ate an orange, a banana, and drank some apple juice. I ripped the orange into tiny pieces that I could basically swallow, and the banana was mashed and I added water so it was easier to swallow. I've seen the complications that patients have in taking T3's long term so I am taking precautions against it.

I have a wedding in Seattle to attend so I'm heading down to the States today with my sister and her fiancée. I've packed a bottle of water to keep my mouth moist in the car, and I have a bottle of chilled Boost ready, as well as my ice pack.

On route
The ice pack lost it's iciness really fast. Thankfully, we stopped at Wendy's for a food run. I ordered a Frosty, and that worked as a really good ice pack and a yummy, cold treat. After that, I fell asleep for most of the drive down. I woke up again for the border crossing and for a Starbucks run in the States where I got a new "ice pack" in the form of a green tea frap (Yum!).
We stopped to visit a friend and he took us out for some authentic Mexican food. I ordered a chicken tortilla soup and it was super yummy. It had fresh avocado floating on the top and melted cheese inside with tiny pieces of chicken, cilantro, tomatoes, and onions. The soup was a bit tangy and I liked the tortillas in the soup too. It came with a chicken taco, but I gave that to my sister's fiancée.
We met my relatives for dinner that night at the Chinese restaurant, and that was when I began to chew food. I found that I could put very small pieces of food into the unaffected side of my mouth and carefully chew the food before swallowing. I started experimenting with softer pieces of food like prawn, and moved to pork chop last. The pork chop was the hardest to eat since it requires more chewing time so I cut the pork into much smaller pieces before putting them into my mouth. My sister was very, very sweet and she unshelled lots of crab meat for me to eat. What a nice sister!

Now that I could chew, the whole world of food was open to me again. Hurray! I had to be extra diligent with brushing and cleaning my teeth that night though.

Day 4

My sister bought a chocolate macaron, a pistachio macaron, and a black forest ham and gruyere croissant from a French bakery downstairs in the morning. The macarons were huge and the croissant was quite yummy. More points for the sister!

It was a little hard to eat the pastries by ripping off small pieces and carefully chewing them on one side, but I really enjoyed my breakfast and didn't mind the mess I was making.
Throughout the day all of the usual foods were managed the same way. The only food I couldn't eat was bruschetta because it was too hard and crispy. I also found carrots to be a challenge and only ate the softest parts of a cooked carrot. Oh, and I had to avoid alcohol because I was taking Tylenol. I got a few sips of champagne in with the wedding cake, but then I felt nauseous.

As for swelling, my cheek remained slightly puffy.

Day 5
I took a picture this morning of the wounds, and it looks super gross. I'm not sure if you want to see it or not. Don't scroll down if you don't want to see it.
The top wound is a perfect dark red rectangle. I wonder if she used some kind of shaver to extract the donor gums? It doesn't bleed and I rarely feel that injured area. The wound must be quite shallow.
I didn't want to pull the lower lip area too much so I just got an angle shot of the gum graft on the bottom. It doesn't actually look too bad. The edges aren't bloody looking anymore and the colour of the graft is getting less white. Also, the shape of the graft is irregular, which is good since that will help it to blend in more later on.

The swelling is much reduced today on my face, and I didn't need an ice pack at all. I am continuing to take the regular extra strength Tylenol though as needed whenever I get a headache (about 3 pills per day). Sometimes I get a dull ache in the gum graft area, but that is less common. The swelling tends to decrease after I use the Periogard mouthwash.

Day 6
The swelling on my face is almost all gone now. I still take Tylenol for the headache, but otherwise I'm just fine. As you can see from the picture, the gum graft is starting to blend in a little bit more, but you can see the stitches criss-crossing over the gum graft and around the edges. Thank goodness they are see-through. I still think the gum graft looks gross :)


vito m said...
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Liz Hall said...

I'm glad u documented all of this. I'm on day 5 of my recovery from gum graft surgery and am wondering if the pain will ever subside. ):

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful for your documentation of this! I had the surgery 4 days ago and I finally got the courage to look at the wounds and I didn't know if they were supposed to look like that. Thank you! said...

I'm so glad you found this helpful! Gum surgery was a very unique experience for me and there's so much I didn't know until I got there. I guess it's good I documented my experience so you get a rough idea of what might happen.

Liz: it shouldn't hurt that much. Take the pain medications regularly and get adequate pain meds if you don't have them. Ice also helps to numb the pain and take down swelling.

Vito M said...

Your blog was just amazing and I enjoyed reading the blog. Yeah, you are right about the gum grafting. If the gums are stronger, your teeth will also be strong and you will have a beautiful smile. The gum grafting provides gum coverage to the exposed roots of the teeth. Your own cellular network migrates over the framework of the graft and forms into a new tissue.

Anonymous said...

Day 4 of my gum graft. Huge swelling.size of half a grapefruit. Lymph node below graft is big...large plum size. I am now on two antibiotics. Lots of pain and the swelling is travelling up toward my eye...bottom lip and all of my cheek are swollen.
I was exposed to srtep about two weeks ago and had zero symptoms until the morning after the procedure...sore throat, etc...not much pain at the graft at all on that day. I received a donor graft rather than my own tissue. The reason I mention the strep is that my infectious swelling started really fast on day 3. anybosy else have an infection from this procedure? Hopefully, the antibiotics will help. I am leaving the graft alone ( can't get to it anyway-so swollen) except for brushing the surrounding teeth and rinsing with plain water. and flossing of course. any thoughts would be appreciated...All the best...George said...

Hi George,

Wow, that sounds awful! I hope the antibiotics start working fast. If you rinse with saline solution instead of plain water that should help fight the germs, but the dental surgeon can also prescribe antibacterial mouth rinses that would also help. Also, putting ice on the swelling will help reduce the pain and keep down swelling. I hope you get better soon! Take it easy!

Debi said...

This is very helpful to understand the healing process.... Thanks for posting. I am on day 6 and thought it could be failed but it looks white like yours so I will proceed with care.

Unknown said...

Thanks, I'm on day 10, this is horrendous..will the pain ever end in the donor site. But it all looks like yours and I've been back to the dentist and reassured it is on track. Roll on day 14

Kelly Oliver said...

On what day did you all notice the swelling start to go down? I know this is an old post but hoping someone sees this!