Gingival Grafts

A successful graft is dependent upon 2 main objectives:

  1. The site remains clean or infection free
    1. Brush in the direction the teeth grow or small circles everywhere except in the area of the graft
    2. Floss everywhere except in the area of the graft
    3. You may see a white piece of material sticking out of the graft site during the first week, do not try and pull this out, please leave this alone, this is likely your graft material. This should not be food because your diet should be mostly pureed and liquid.
    4. Avoid over the counter mouthwash unless directed by your doctor.
    5. Take all antibiotics until gone or unless directed by your doctor. If you should experience stomach pains and/or diarrhea, especially with fever, call your doctor and discuss this with him. He MAY direct you to discontinue the antibiotic.
    6. Avoid touching the wound with your fingers or tongue because our tongues and fingers carry many germs which can contaminate the graft and move the graft around.
    7. Call your doctor if you have a temperature greater than 100.4 F.
  2. The graft needs to remain completely immobile (still)
  1. Avoid vigorous rinsing as this will pull or put excessive pressure on the graft
  2. When rinsing the mouth, turn the head back and forth and spit gently
  3. Don’t sleep on your stomach or the side your graft is on. If you have grafts on both sides please sleep on your back.
  4. The sutures may be bothersome but need to remain in as long as possible (sometimes as long as 2-3 weeks). These will be left long intentionally to prevent them from cutting your gums.
  5. If you wear a night guard, retainer, or tmj appliance, consult your doctor prior to putting it back in, on the next business day if not discussed already.


 Soft non-chew diet until directed by your doctor (ie. mashed potatoes, soups, over cooked pasta, flaky fish, soft vegatables, protein shakes, or anything pureed). Try and maintain hydration and high protein


Take all medicines including any antibiotics given to you by your doctor. Antibiotics are usually prescribed with grafts for 5-7 days.


If you are able to take ibuprofen, take 2-3 over the counter tablets prior to the local anesthetic wearing off. Ibuprofen, bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 2-3 tablets may be taken every 4-6 hours as needed for mild to moderate pain. For moderate to severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. You can alternate with the prescribed medication with ibuprofen taking one or the other every 2 hours. This may allow the prescribed pain medicine to work the full 4 hours.

Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic, or have been instructed by a doctor not to take it. Avoid ibuprofen if you have an internal ulcer, severe chronic asthma, or taking blood thinners like coumadin or plavix. Also, the pain medication we prescribed may have tylenol or ibuprofen already in it. If so, do not add any additional tylenol or ibuprofen to your regimen as this could lead to kidney or liver damage.


The most likely reason is the pain medication you are taking or the anesthesia you were given if sedated

Try taking less of the pain medication and take the Ibuprofen regimen above if directed by your doctor. If this persists please call the office or answering service (same number) and ask to speak to a nurse or doctor.


Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice pack on the cheek in the area of surgery. Apply the ice 20 on 20 off, as much as possible, for the first 36 hours.

Upper soft tissue grafts sometime require extensive dissection of tissue. This reflection of the tissue can cause severe swelling for the first 72 hours sometimes involving the eyes. This edema will be greatest at 72 hours and should start to subside after this time. If you feel this is more swelling than anticipated feel free to call our office. If you feel you are infected (ie. fever>100.4 and/or foul drainage at the surgery site), experiencing visual changes, or just concerned please call our office.


This is common with surgery and may cause discoloration under the skin.

Follow up

You should have a follow up appointment within 2-3 weeks after your surgery.

Please call to schedule one if one has not been given to you on the day of your surgery.