Gingival recession, commonly known as receding gums, is a condition where your gum line recedes, exposing the roots of the teeth. There may be multiple factors causing your gums to recede, but unfortunately, it is impossible to grow them back.
Studies suggest that around 50% of the world’s population suffers from gingival recession, which becomes more prevalent with age.
Your dentist may recommend a gum graft surgery if your gums have severely receded and the roots are at risk of decay. This involves surgically attaching a layer of gum tissue to the area where it is missing.
Although recovery time for gum graft surgery isn’t too long, we have some tips here for you to make the process easier. Below we have some dos and don’ts to help you heal faster.
Tips To Make Recovering From Gum Graft Surgery Easier
1. Use Ice For Relief
Once the effects of the anesthesia wear off, you might experience pain and swell in the surgical area. Using ice can help provide some relief in such cases. The cold helps numb pain and reduce inflammation.
This is especially helpful on the day of the surgery and the next, as the operated area is most sensitive then. You can use an ice pack, ice cubes, or even frozen vegetables for this purpose.
But do not apply ice too frequently or for too long as it can constrict your blood vessels. This can slow down the healing process by reducing the flow of blood to the surgical area.
2. Don’t Neglect Oral Hygiene
Although you need to avoid brushing or rinsing your mouth on the day of your surgery, don’t take that as an excuse to neglect oral hygiene. Rinse your mouth with a mouthwash (preferably alcohol-free) 24 hours after the surgery to get rid of bacterial growth.
You can start brushing the next day onwards, although the operated area should be avoided. Use a brush with extremely soft bristles to gently brush the rest of your teeth.
3. Consume Soft Food
Consume only soft food like mashed potatoes, smoothies, soups (ensure that it is lukewarm), etc., for a few days after your surgery. These are easy to consume and less likely to hurt the gum graft area. You can also include lots of liquids in your diet to keep yourself hydrated – it helps in the healing process.
If you don’t want to cause any further trauma to your gums, it’s best to avoid tough, sticky, and spicy food.
Moreover, you need to avoid extremely hot or cold food – no boiling hot soups or frozen desserts until your gums heal. Also, citric or acidic substances like lemons, tomatoes, and soda can irritate the gum graft.
4. Avoid Strenuous Activities
Keep away from all kinds of strenuous activities for a week or two after the surgery. So if you love working out at the gym, you’ll need to halt your exercise routine temporarily. Straining can create pressure on the operated area, leading to excessive swelling or even bleeding.
Rest well after the surgery to help your body quicken the healing process. You can resume exercising once your gums heal.
5. Stay Away From Tobacco And Alcohol
Smoking tobacco can hinder the gum healing process by constricting your blood vessels. Moreover, it can contribute to further gum damage, thus adversely affecting the gum graft area. Alcohol too can negatively impact the operated site and delay healing.
It is best to avoid alcohol and tobacco for several days after your gum graft surgery to give your body ample time to heal.
Usually, one takes more than a week to recover fully, although the actual recovery period may vary from person to person. Ensure you follow up with your dentist regularly to ensure that your gums are on the right track.