Gum Graft Information

Gum Graft Post-Operative Care

There is no healing that occurs for the first 24 hours after a surgical procedure. The natural response to injury” is swelling. The body always responds to an injury with a predictable inflammatory response, as the first step towards healing. Our Post-Op instructions are designed to set up an environment of minimal swelling.

Your grafting procedure was performed using a minimally invasive procedure. Because it is a “closed” site, it is more subject to post-operative swelling. It is very important that the post-operative instructions are followed.

Care Of The Mouth

Brushing and Flossing:

Begin brushing and flossing the areas not operated on the day following the surgery. AVOID THE SURGICAL SITES until given specific brushing instructions at your postoperative visit. You may notice a white film over the surgical sites.

This is completely normal.

Electric Toothbrushes:

DO NOT use an electric toothbrush such as Sonicare or Oral-B Braun for 8 weeks following your surgery.

Water Pik:

DO NOT use a WaterPik for at least 8 weeks following surgery.

Antiseptic Mouth rinse:

Get a bottle of Savacol mouthrinse from the Chemist and gently rinse your mouth with 10mL once daily from 24h post-operatively for 2 weeks.


There will be bleeding that occurs. Sometimes any bleeding in your mouth that mixes with saliva can look like more than it is. If excessive bleeding occurs, please call our practice.


DO NOT SMOKE for three weeks after surgery. Smoking is detrimental to healing tissues and will affect the results of surgery. If you can stop smoking for three weeks postoperatively, you may as well quit altogether.


We use a non-dissolvable suture for this procedure as it is much cleaner and actually repels bacteria leading to less inflammation of the site. It is important to minimise inflammation around the site during the healing process. Dissolvable sutures begin breaking down around 7-10 days after placement. When they start to dissolve it causes inflammation at the surgical site. Inflammation is not good for the graft and can cause an adverse reaction.

Your sutures are usually removed at the two month post-op visit and it is important to be gentle around the site during the healing process. There will be very little sensation associated with suture removal and requires no anaesthesia.


Pain Medication:

Take pain medication within the one hour after treatment with milk, fruit juice or a full glass of water. Never take pain medication on an empty stomach. This medication may be repeated every three to four hours as needed for discomfort. DO NOT USE ASPIRIN or products containing aspirin for one week following surgery. Aspirin, Advil and Aleve can contribute to bleeding problems. Only the non-aspirin pain reliever Tylenol is acceptable. Take prescribed antibiotics as directed until all have been taken.


Swelling is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. Your swelling may increase until 3 days postoperatively. This is totally normal. If you experience an increase in swelling beyond the third day or increase in discomfort, call our practice. To help minimize the swelling, we will send you home with ice packs. Place the pack on the outside of your face, over the treated area, for 10 minutes, and then remove for 10 minutes. Continue to alternate 10 on, 10 off for as much time as possible for the first 24 hours after the surgery, during waking hours.


First 24 Hours

Adequate nutrition is essential for normal healing. Following surgery, your diet should be restricted to cold liquids. Yogurt, smoothies, milkshakes and dietary supplements such as Instant Breakfast or Ensure are good choices.

After 24 Hours

You may have soft food such as cooked vegetables, fish, pasta and meatloaf, which are easily chewed. Avoid hard or crunchy foods. You should use utensils and avoid chewing at the surgical site for two weeks, DO NOT SKIP MEALS. If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort, and heal faster.



Plan to rest at home the remainder of the day of surgery and the following day. You may read, watch TV or work at your desk at home. When sleeping, elevate your head to decrease swelling.

After 24 Hours

You may return to a normal daily routine, but avoid strenuous activities such as heavy lifting, or exercise programs which elevate your heart hate for one week following surgery.