Managing Expectations: What to Expect Before, During, and After Gum Grafting Surgery

by Rana Baroudi

Dr. Baroudi is a Board Certified Periodontist. She has successfully passed the American Board of Periodontology oral and written examinations covering all phases of periodontal disease, its treatment and dental implants. She is also an Associate Clinical Professor of Periodontology at UCSF where she enjoys teaching and lecturing on a bi-monthly basis.

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Gum grafting surgery is an effective treatment for gum recession, which can improve both the health and appearance of your gums. For patients in San Jose, CA, Dr. Rana Baroudi offers this advanced periodontal procedure with a focus on patient care and successful outcomes. Understanding what to expect before, during, and after gum grafting surgery can help you manage your expectations and prepare for a smooth and successful experience.

Before Gum Grafting Surgery

Preparation is key to ensuring a successful gum grafting procedure. Here’s what you can expect before the surgery:

Initial Consultation and Assessment

  • Comprehensive Examination: Dr. Baroudi will conduct a thorough examination of your gums and teeth, assessing the extent of gum recession and overall oral health. This may include X-rays or other imaging to get a detailed view of the affected areas.
  • Medical History Review: You will discuss your medical history, including any medications you are taking and any underlying health conditions. This helps ensure that the procedure is safe and tailored to your specific needs.
  • Treatment Plan: Dr. Baroudi will develop a personalized treatment plan based on your assessment. She will explain the different types of gum grafts (connective tissue grafts, free gingival grafts, and pedicle grafts) and recommend the best option for your situation.

Pre-Operative Instructions

  • Medication Adjustments: You may be advised to adjust certain medications, such as blood thinners, before the surgery. Dr. Baroudi will provide specific instructions based on your medical history.
  • Oral Hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial before the procedure. You may be given special instructions for cleaning your teeth and gums in the days leading up to the surgery.
  • Dietary Restrictions: You might be instructed to avoid eating or drinking for a few hours before the surgery, especially if sedation is planned.

During Gum Grafting Surgery

Understanding the procedure can help alleviate anxiety and ensure you are well-prepared for what will happen during the surgery:

Anesthesia and Sedation

  • Local Anesthesia: The area to be treated will be numbed with local anesthesia to ensure you do not feel pain during the procedure.
  • Sedation Options: For patients with dental anxiety, sedation options such as oral sedatives or nitrous oxide may be offered to help you relax.

The Surgical Procedure

  • Tissue Harvesting: Depending on the type of graft, Dr. Baroudi will either harvest tissue from the roof of your mouth (connective tissue or free gingival grafts) or use tissue from the surrounding gums (pedicle grafts).
  • Graft Placement: The harvested tissue is carefully placed over the exposed roots or areas of recession. It is then secured with sutures to ensure it stays in place.
  • Closing the Donor Site: If tissue was taken from the roof of your mouth, the donor site will be sutured and allowed to heal naturally.

Duration of the Procedure

The entire gum grafting procedure typically takes about 1-2 hours, depending on the extent of the treatment and the number of sites being grafted.

After Gum Grafting Surgery

Post-operative care is crucial for ensuring a successful recovery and optimal results. Here’s what you can expect after the surgery:

Immediate Post-Operative Care

  • Recovery Time: You will spend some time in the recovery area until the effects of the anesthesia wear off. If sedation was used, you will need someone to drive you home.
  • Managing Discomfort: Some discomfort, swelling, and minor bleeding are normal after the procedure. Dr. Baroudi will provide pain relievers and detailed instructions on how to manage these symptoms.

At-Home Care Instructions

  • Dietary Recommendations: Stick to a soft diet for the first few days to avoid irritating the surgical site. Avoid hot, spicy, and crunchy foods.
  • Oral Hygiene: Gently rinse your mouth with a prescribed mouthwash or saltwater solution to keep the area clean. Avoid brushing the graft site until it has healed sufficiently.
  • Activity Restrictions: Avoid strenuous activities for a few days to prevent excessive bleeding and swelling.

Follow-Up Appointments

  • Monitoring Healing: Dr. Baroudi will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your healing progress. It is essential to attend these appointments to ensure the graft is integrating well with the surrounding tissue.
  • Suture Removal: If non-dissolvable sutures were used, they would be removed during a follow-up visit.

Long-Term Care and Maintenance

Maintaining the results of your gum grafting surgery involves good oral hygiene practices and regular dental check-ups. Here are some tips for long-term care:

Oral Hygiene Practices

  • Brushing and Flossing: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be gentle around the grafted area. Regular brushing and flossing help maintain gum health.
  • Professional Cleanings: Regular dental cleanings are essential for preventing plaque buildup and maintaining the health of your gums and teeth.

Lifestyle Considerations

  • Healthy Diet: Maintain a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support gum health.
  • Avoid Tobacco Products: Smoking can impair healing and increase the risk of complications. Avoiding tobacco products is crucial for long-term success.

Regular Dental Visits

  • Ongoing Monitoring: Regular check-ups with Dr. Baroudi will help monitor the health of your gums and ensure that any issues are addressed promptly.
  • Preventive Care: Preventive measures, such as fluoride treatments and sealants, can help protect your teeth and gums from future problems.


Managing your expectations before, during, and after gum grafting surgery is essential for a successful and smooth experience. Under the expert care of Dr. Rana Baroudi in San Jose, CA, you can be assured of receiving the highest quality treatment and support throughout the process. By understanding each stage of the procedure and following the provided care instructions, you can achieve optimal results and enjoy a healthier, more attractive smile. If you are considering gum grafting surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Baroudi to discuss your options and take the first step toward improved oral health.