Post-Operative Care: Gingival (Gum) Graft

Dr. Al working on Patient

August 23, 2021

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 pouch 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.


  • Brushing and Flossing  Begin brushing and flossing the areas not operated on the day following 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.
  • Anti-Oxidant Gel At your surgical visit, you will receive AO ProVantage Gel.  It is a dental antioxidant that is very soothing and promotes healing. Apply two pumps to the surgical site every three hours during waking hours the first week after surgery, then 3 times per day until your first post-operative appointment.  Avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after application of the gel.
  • 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 Water Pik for at least 8 weeks following surgery.



  • 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.  AVOID PEROXIDE, ALCOHOL, CARBONATED BEVERAGES, AND DRINKING THROUGH A STRAW.
  • After 24 Hours  You may have soft foods such as cooked vegetables, fish, pasta and meatloaf, which are easily chewed. 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.



  • Rest – 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 normal daily routine, but avoid strenuous activities such as heavy lifting, or exercise programs which elevate your heart rate for one week following surgery.



  • Pain Medications – Take pain medication within 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.
  • Antibiotics – Take prescribed antibiotics as directed until all have been taken.  You will begin this medication the day prior to surgery. 


Swelling is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. Your swelling may increase until 3 days post-operatively. This is totally normal. If you experience an increase in swelling beyond the third day or an increase in discomfort, call our office.

  • Ice Packs  – To help minimize 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 take it off for 10 minutes.  Continue to alternate 10 on, 10 off as much as possible the first 24 hours after surgery, during waking hours.



Because your graft was placed in a pouch, there will be minimal visible bleeding that will show in your mouth.  Sometimes any bleeding in your mouth that mixes with saliva can look like more than it is.  If excessive bleeding occurs, please call our office.


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 all together.


We do not use the type of sutures that dissolve by themselves for grafting procedures. 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.

We have used a suture that is Non- Resorbable. This type of suture we is very clean and actually repels bacteria.  Your sutures will be removed at the two month post-op visit.  There will be very little sensation associated with suture removal and requires no anesthesia


Following these instructions very closely will greatly help your comfort, and promote uneventful healing of the area. It is our sincere desire that you are as comfortable as possible following surgery.  If you should have any questions or problems, please call our office anytime.

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