While I was recovering from my second (gulp, yes!) gum graft and frenectomy, I did a ton of googling and didn’t find a lot of reporting from patients on what to expect. Most of the things I found online were from periodontist offices, which is helpful, but I thought I’d share some of my survival tips for future oral surgery patients.
A little background first: I had a gum graft and frenectomy about a year and a half ago. When I went to visit my dentist for my first teeth cleaning post-oral surgery, he told me that the doctor didn’t do it well and I would need it to be repeated. Sigh. Not what you want to hear after 3 months of recovery! It took me another year to schedule the re-do because I had started a new job, but this past January 4, 2017, I went under the knife again.
It’s been about 2 weeks and I’m healing very well. I went for my follow-up today and I’m on the road to recovery! Here are my main learnings from this second experience.
- You’re going to miss more work than you think. Even though this is a routine procedure, it is still surgery! Give yourself about a week at home to recover, especially if you’re taking heavy pain killers like I was. I took almost all of the Oxycodone that I was prescribed because the first few days were tough. As a result, I was in no shape to work or do much of anything. My doctor gave me a note for work and it stated that it could take up to 10 days for you to be back to work. Take the time – you may need it!
- Stock up on shakes! For about a week, I couldn’t chew on anything. Period. I survived on Odwalla Chocolate Protein Shakes. They are very caloric, but you’ll need them to keep up your strength. Odwalla shakes are dairy and soy, so keep that in mind if you have any allergies. And, now that the dressing has been removed from my gum graft area, I’m sticking to soft foods and shakes for another few days.
- Mozzarella is the perfect post-surgical soft food! Enough said.
- Use the mouthwash. It’s going to be painful to brush so use the prescription mouthwash twice a day. It will save you from horrible breath!
- Stock up on Advil and Tylenol: You’ll want to switch between the two. One for pain, one for swelling.
- Re-freeze those instant ice packs: Get a few of those “break and turn cold immediately” ice packs for the day of surgery. Then, pop them back into the freezer to reuse all week. Life savor, and fairly cheap.
- Do not talk: Trust me, I talk more than anyone else I know. You’ll recover faster if you shut up.
- It will hurt, but it gets better each day: It’s surgery in your mouth – it is going to hurt! But fortunately, the mouth heals fast so I promise it gets better.
- No crunchy food: It will get stuck in your stitches and hurt very badly. Take it from someone who learned the hard way. Stick with soft foods for a long time!
- Grilled or roast chicken cut up into tiny pieces will become your bestie: Best solid food besides the mozzarella. Get a roasted chicken at Costco and cut it up into small pieces. I’ve been eating it plain, and tonight I make it with brown rice and melted cheese. All soft, tasty, and filling.
Good luck with your gum graft and/or frenectomy from one oral surgery survivor to another!