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Gum Graft Surgery

Anyone who knows me knows I am not fond of going to the dentist. My anxiety is so high that after the hour-long appointment I am drained and tired. There’s no real reason for it. It wasn’t like I was tortured by one when I was a kid or anything (however, their instruments could look a little less Spanish Inquisition-y). I do suffer from high sensitivity though and a routine cleaning is painful. To the point that it brings tears to my eyes when the water pick zaps one of my super sensitive spots.  The fluoride paste they can paint over your teeth doesn’t touch the pain so my hygienist stopped using the water pick and instead does my cleaning the old-fashioned way. The cleanings take longer but the scraping doesn’t hurt nearly as bad.

I went to the dentist for my usual six month check-up over the summer and I was told that the tissue over my bottom teeth was super thin and my hygienist referred me to a surgeon. You can imagine my reaction to THAT bit of news…

The surgeon informed me that I needed to have gum graft surgery. I have to have a strip of my hard palate tissue cut off and grafted to the thin areas. The super thin epithelial tissue will be cut back, the connective tissue from my hard palate placed inside the pouch created, and the epithelial tissue pulled back over top of the grafted tissue and stitched into place. All together I have to have five teeth done: three on Tuesday and the other two will be done over summer (since insurance will only cover so much in a year).

I googled images of the surgery and I probably shouldn’t have done that LOL The images looked wretched and freaked me out even more. This is why I am taking plenty of Valium prior to my procedure.

Needless to say I am not looking forward to this but I know it’s necessary to prevent infection and possible bone loss. Who knows, maybe this will clear up some sensitivity in the areas where the grafts are done and my visits to the dentist will be a little less stressful for me.

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4 Comments on “Gum Graft Surgery”

  1. David December 17, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

    Oh my…..I have the same condition and received a similar referral!! I can’t bare the thought of having this procedure done though. Which oral surgeon are you having perform the procedure? Did you consider a grafting from a cadaver…?

    • drshaywest December 19, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

      I was referred to Dr. Weenig here in Grand Junction. The procedure didn’t take long at all. From the time they called me back to the time my dad came and got me it was less than an hour. The surgeon never mentioned cadaver skin but there might be other complications involved (tissue rejection, etc) so maybe using a person’s own tissue is the best option?

      So far everything is fine. Feels weird to have the plastic palate guard in but it’s best for the healing of the hard palate and keeps the dressing in place. The only discomfort is from where they did the graft down on my bottom left side. But I’m using ice and did ibuprofen only (I’m going to avoid the opioid pain meds). Honestly the worst part was the local anesthetic in my hard palate. That hurt like an SOB and brought tears to my eyes lol I have been able to eat a whole big container of Noosa yogurt and even some ice cream. The only other thing that I had to do differently was that I have to take the antibiotics with food even though they are supposed to be given on an empty stomach. They made me so nauseous and sick. The doc said to take them with food rather than run the risk of vomiting.

  2. 22niel December 17, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

    Hey, good luck! Hope it all goes easy for you.

    • drshaywest December 19, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

      So far so good. Procedure didn’t even take an hour and the worst pain I have felt thus far was the local anesthetic into my hard palate. Actually brought tears to my eyes lol

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